The Jacksonville Jaguars are counting on Dawuane Smoot in 2021.
The Jaguars had trouble rushing the passer and stopping opposing teams from running the ball last year. Thus, they made it a priority to fortify their defensive front this offseason. In spite of all the additions they made in free agency and the draft, they are also counting on several returning players to either bounce back or pick up where they left off last season. EDGE defender Dawaune Smoot falls in the latter category.
The 2017 third-round selection led the Jags in sacks last year with 5.5 after logging a career-high 6.0 in 2019. Keep in mind that a knee injury hindered Josh Allen’s performance and then-rookie K’Lavon Chaisson was a non-factor early in the season. That forced Smoot to take on a bigger role than the coaching staff might have originally preferred.
In the end, Illinois product appeared in all 16 games and made a career-high seven starts. The new regime liked him enough that they brought him back on a two-year $10 million deal earlier this year. Smoot also met the local media and said that he didn’t see himself leaving Jacksonville earlier this year.
"Throughout the offseason, I kept getting asked I do want to return to one of the time. Yeah, I love Jacksonville I love the city. I bought a house here my family loves it here I’m not planning on leaving here for a long time."
Later, he said that the team, with defensive coordinator Joe Cullen at the helm, has put an emphasis on the run. Moreover, he believes the defense should get a few more sacks in the scheme Cullen is currently installing.
"Everybody mugged up, you don’t really know who’s coming. You got seven people in the line at one time. It’s bound to work, we bound to get one-on-ones a lot more and be able to actually get there when we run a lot of man coverage in the back."
Jamal St. Cyr of News4Jax believes that based on what he’s seen in training camp Allen and Smoot might start on the edge while Chaisson will be featured in passing situations. That would be a pretty solid group. Rookie Jordan Smith could also see playing time early on, so it looks like the Jaguars’ defense won’t have trouble getting to the quarterback.