Although Jacksonville Jaguars EDGE defender Josh Allen had a down year in 2021, he still managed to sneak in a recent ranking.
The Jacksonville Jaguars needed to address several needs on offense this offseason. However, they also needed to fix a defense that ranked 31st in both total yards and points allowed in 2020. The Jags did a good job of adding reinforcements in free agency and the draft but they will also be counting on third-year EDGE rusher Josh Allen to make an impact in 2021.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently ranked the top 32 EDGE defenders in the NFL and Allen popped up at 30, one spot ahead of Matt Judon (New England Patriots) and two of Clelin Ferrell (Las Vegas Raiders). Linsey says that the 2019 first-round pick had a strong rookie season, posting a 70.2 pass-rushing grade right out of the gate. He then points out that couldn’t sustain his level of play in 2020 due to an injury that slowed him down.
On the bright side, Linsey notes that Allen’s pass-rushing grade saw a boost of four points last year and believes he is a candidate to have a breakout season in 2021, which should be pretty feasible when you take into account he has had no setbacks this offseason and is healthy ahead of training camp, per Cole Pepper of News 4 Jacksonville.
Josh Allen is one of the most important Jacksonville Jaguars’ defenders.
Even though Allen started just four games in 2019, he saw a significant amount of playing time and appeared in 60 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. However, he benefited from Calais Campbell’s and Yannick Ngakoue’s presence. The Jags traded both last offseason and Allen became Jacksonville’s best pass rusher. Had he stayed healthy in 2020, he might’ve had better numbers but wouldn’t have been enough to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks.
Allen should be fully healthy in 2021. Although he is the Jags’ best rusher, he won’t be the only one. The team’s brass fortified the front seven this offseason. They signed Jihad Ward and Roy Robertson-Harris in free agency. They also brought back Dawuane Smoot and used a fourth-round pick on Jordan Smith. Furthermore, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will run a scheme with 3-4, and 4-3 elements. He will look for favorable matchups for Allen and put him in a position to succeed.
If Allen is healthy and sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson picks up where he left off at the end of the 2020 season, the duo should have no trouble posting a combined 20 sacks. Cullen told the media the Jaguars should be able to double their sack totals from last year and Allen is one of the reasons why. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn his second Pro Bowl selection and even get a few All-Pro votes.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently in rebuilding mode. They won’t be a defensive juggernaut in 2021 but they will most likely be better than they were last season, and Allen’s return to the lineup will play a key role on that.