Jaguars roster: 3 realistic expectations for EDGE Josh Allen in 2021

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen #41 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen #41 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) /

Defensive Josh Allen was a force in 2019, his rookie campaign. The Jacksonville Jaguars surely expected him to be a difference-maker heading into the 2020 season but a knee injury limited him to eight games. In Year 3, he should pick up where he left off and resume wreaking havoc at the line of scrimmage.

In 2019, Allen appeared in all 16 games with four starts and logged 44 total tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Moreover, he earned a Pro Bowl designation and looked poised to become a top-echelon pass rusher. Nevertheless, his production took a dip in 2020 and posted just 13 total tackles, two tackles for a loss, and 2.5 sacks.

The Jags’ defense surely missed the Kentucky product last season, as they managed to register just 17.5 sacks as a team. Looking back, the unit would still have struggled even if Allen had been fully healthy. However, he’s the kind of player that helps his teammates get one-on-one matchups by taking on double teams.

After failing to consistently generate pressure in 2020, Jacksonville added reinforcements this offseason. They signed Jihad Ward and Roy Robertson Harris in free agency and drafted Jordan Smith in this year’s selection meeting. Furthermore, they brought back Adam Gotsis and Dawuane Smoot. All these players will play a role in the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation but Allen will still be their main pass rusher in 2021.

What should the Jacksonville Jaguars expect from Josh Allen in 2021?

1. Josh Allen needs to start all 17 games this upcoming season.

As a rookie, Allen started four games and played 60 percent of the team’s total snaps on defense. Although he started seven games in 2020, his percentage of snaps went down to 35 percent. If the EDGE defender manages to stay healthy, he should start all games in 2021 and appear in at least 80 percent of the Jags’ defensive snaps.

Keep in mind that this will be the first 17-game season in NFL history. Even though it looks like a daunting task for Allen to start all matchups, it’s not completely out of reach.

2. The Jaguars should expect a career-high in sacks from Josh Allen.

As recently as 2019, the Jaguars registered 47 sacks. They need to get their pass rush going again and Allen needs to lead the way. The former first-round pick has already shown he can pressure the quarterback and new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen should put him in a position to succeed.

Under Cullen, the defense will switch between 3-4 and 4-3 formations. This means Allen will sometimes rush the quarterback from a two-point stance and will at times place his hand on the ground. Either way, the EDGE defender should be able to finish the year with at least 11 sacks.

3. Josh Allen needs to be named Second-Team All-Pro. 

Allen has already made the Pro Bowl once and he will have no trouble getting his second nod in 2021. He has the tool to become a top-tier defensive end and earn a Second-Team All-Pro designation. The Jaguars moved on from Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, in part, because they felt confident Allen could turn into an elite player (they also didn’t want to pay the duo but that’s a subject for another post). While Jacksonville could certainly use Campbell and Ngakoue, Allen could help Jaguars fans forget about them if he plays at a high level in 2021.

Predicting the Jaguars' first loss in 2021. dark. Next