The Jacksonville Jaguars ranked near the cellar of most defensive categories last year. They couldn’t stop the run and they weren’t able to generate pressure on a consistent basis. There are many reasons why the Jags’ defense underperformed in 2020. One of them was not having defensive end Josh Allen at full strength. Even though the former Wildcat missed half of the 2020 season, he still ranks among the best EDGE rushers in the league.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently put together a list of the best EDGE defenders in the NFL and Allen ranked 30th. Linsey points out that the 2019 first-round pick had a strong rookie campaign, posting a pass-rushing grade of 70.2 He also mentions that Allen’s pass-rushing grade went up by four points last year despite the fact a knee injury limited him to just eight games.
Back in 2019, Allen was part of the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation. That year, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue were the team’s main pass rushers. Allen was supposed to take on a bigger role last season but was hindered by the aforementioned injury. He finished the year with 13 total tackles, two tackles for a loss, and 2.5 sacks. Now healthy, he should pick up where he left of and earn his second Pro Bowl designation in 2021.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could have an efficient pass rush in 2021.
Allen’s injury forced the Jaguars to rely on rookie K’Lavon Chaisson last season. The 2020 first-round pick had trouble early in the season and struggled to adjust to the NFL. However, he showed growth as the season went on and posted 19 pressures in the last five games of the year. Although the team re-signed Dawuane Smoot and Adam Gotsis this offseason, Chaisson will have the chance to win the starting job in training camp.
The Jags registered just 18 sacks as a team in 2020. On the bright side, Chaisson and Allen have the talent to form one of the best pass-rush tandems in the NFL this upcoming season. For that to happen, the former will have to continue trending up and the latter must show he’s fully healthy.
The Jaguars have spent the offseason revamping their secondary but they will need their pass rush to improve as well. They have one of the top EDGE defenders in the NFL, so they should have no trouble pressuring opposing quarterbacks in 2021.