Jaguars roster: 3 realistic expectations for LB Joe Schobert in 2021

Linebacker Joe Schobert #47 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Linebacker Joe Schobert #47 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

There’s no way around the fact the Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t good in 2021. However, they had some bright spots and one of them was linebacker Joe Schobert, one of the team’s few free-agent additions last offseason.

A fourth-round selection in 2016, Schobert spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns. He signed a five-year $53.7 million deal to join the Jaguars last offseason and quickly became a fixture of their defense. He appeared in all 16 games and logged 141 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions.

Schobert’s biggest play of the year came against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13. In that game, he returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown. Heading into 2021, the Jaguars surely expect the Wisconsin product to have the same kind of impact he had last season. Here are three realistic expectations for the sixth-year linebacker.

What should the Jacksonville Jaguars expect from Joe Schobert in 2021?

1. Joe Schobert needs to start all 17 games – Injuries struck the Jaguars’ defense last year. Linebacker Myles Jack missed two games and defensive end Josh Allen was limited to eight matchups. The secondary had it even worse, as the team’s top three cornerbacks missed a significant amount of time. Joe Schobert was one of the few Jaguars that played all 16 games. He appeared in 99 percent of the team’s snaps on defense and has missed just three games over the last five years.

Schobert should have no trouble staying healthy and playing the full season, even though there will be one game in the schedule. New defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will switch between 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, so it will be interesting to see how Schobert fits the new scheme. Either way, he won’t get off the field much and will still play a key role.

2. The Jaguars need more big plays from Joe Schobert – Returning an interception for a touchdown isn’t an easy feat. There are defensive players that go their entire careers without the chance of getting a Pick 6, so it may not be realistic to expect Schobert to return another interception to the end zone.

On the other hand, the linebacker should continue creating turnovers at a solid rate. Last year, he forced two fumbles and snagged three interceptions. If he can post the same number of turnover or an even higher one, the Jaguars’ defense should be in good shape.

3. Joe Schobert needs to make the Pro Bowl – When you take into consideration that Schobert already earned a Pro Bowl designation in 2017, this bar isn’t particularly hard to hurdle. That year, the linebacker racked up a career-high 144 total tackles, three forced fumbles, and one interception. He had similar numbers last season and should be able to amass a similar amount in 2021.

Although the team underwent a makeover this offseason, Schobert is an important part of the rebuild. His play in 2020 was overlooked because the Jaguars were bad. If the team can become more consistent and win more games this upcoming season, his play should no longer go unnoticed.

dark. Next. Jaguars could feast on these 3 defenses in 2021