Ranking Jaguars defensive tackles heading into training camp

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Davon Hamilton #52 (Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Davon Hamilton #52 (Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) /

Sometimes, more is less and that could be the case with how the Jacksonville Jaguars approached the defensive tackle position this offseason. They refrained from making major additions, and instead, they traded for former first-round pick Malcom Brown from the New Orleans Saints. Furthermore, the Jags drafted USC defensive tackle Jay Tufele in this year’s selection meeting.

Heading into training camp, it looks like Jacksonville is set at defensive tackle. They have a nice mix of veterans and young players. DaVon Hamilton and Doug Costin are back after showing flashes and starting a few games in 2020. This year though, they will have to compete for a starting job and playing time. Keep in mind that defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will employ 3-4 and 4-3 sets, so it remains to be seen who’s better suited for this hybrid defense.

Jacksonville could still trade for someone two-time Pro Bowl selection Grady Jarrett. However, the team’s brass seems happy with their current defensive tackle group. Whether they add somebody else or not, here’s a look at how the Jaguars’ defensive tackles stack up of training camp.

Here’s a ranking of the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle after the draft.

8. Kenny Randall – After going undrafted, Kenny Randall signed as a free agent with the Jaguars. The former Golden Eagle is a long shot to make the roster.

7. Taven Bryan – A first-round selection in 2018, Taven Bryan has been a non-factor over his three-year career. The team declined to exercise the fifth-year option in his rookie contract. It looks like the writing is on the wall for Bryan. The team could shop him before the season starts or simply move on from him.

6. Jay Tufele – You could argue that this spot is too low for Jay Tufele, but he hasn’t played a snap in the NFL and has to prove himself before the coaching staff thrust him into the lineup. While it may take a bit for the USC product to find his footing in the NFL, it may be just a matter of time before he earns a significant role in the Jags’ defensive line rotation.

5. Daniel Ross – The Jags acquired Daniel Ross off waivers late in the 2020 season. He ended up appearing in two games and playing 34 snaps for the Jaguars. Jacksonville brought him back on a one-year deal this offseason. He will have to compete for a roster spot but he’s a potential candidate to land in the practice squad.

4. Daniel Ekuale – After not getting his name called in 2018’s draft, Daniel Ekuale signed with the Cleveland Browns and joined their practice squad. He was later slapped with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy. He was released before the 2020 season started and claimed by the Jaguars not long after. Last season, the Washington State product appeared in nine games with five starts. His odds of making the roster are 50/50

3. Doug Costin – The former RedHawk defensive tackle became a surprise starter after DaVon Hamilton went down with an injury. An undrafted free agent last year, Doug Costin will most likely make the roster in 2021 but won’t be handed the starting job.

2. DaVon Hamilton – The Ohio State product worked his way up the depth chart in 2020 and eventually joined the starting lineup. Alas, a knee injury ended up derailing his rookie campaign, and will now have to compete with Tufele and Costin for snaps in 2021.

1. Malcom Brown – The fact Malcom Brown will most likely start on Day 1 shows the kind of shape the Jaguars’ defensive front was in last year. Over his six-year career, the 32nd overall pick in 2015’s draft has appeared in 89 games with 80 starts and has logged 130 total tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. He isn’t a top defensive tackle but he will play a key role in the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation in 2021.

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