Grading Jaguars position groups on defense ahead of 2022 offseason
Grading Jaguars’ position groups on defense – Linebackers.
Myles Jack has been a mainstay of the Jaguars’ defense since he was drafted in the second round of the 2016 selection meeting. While he’s been reliable throughout most of his career, he had a relatively down performance in 2021. The former UCLA Bruin did lead the team in tackles but he didn’t make any game-changing plays and struggled in coverage.
On the other hand, Damien Wilson was a low-key, solid pickup last offseason. The 2015 fourth-round pick was second in tackles and went on to log a forced fumble and an interception He also found success blitzing the quarterback, posting a career-best three sacks. He’s set to become a free agent after inking a one-year deal in 2021. If defensive coordinator Joe Cullen were to be retained, his chances of returning might increase considerably.
K’Lavon Chaisson made the transition from defensive end to strong linebacker last year but also failed to make a meaningful impact. He’s heading into Year 3 and it’s uncertain at this point if he’s going to live up to his draft billing as a former first-round pick. Backup Chapelle Russell didn’t have a banner year but had a key stop late in the fourth quarter during the Jags’ win over the Dolphins in Week 6.
Outside Linebacker Josh Allen played at an All-Pro level in the middle of the season and logged a team-high 7.5 sacks but his play eventually dropped. Expect him to have a better 2022, as he enters his fourth year in the league. Dawuane Smoot had the second-most sacks and did an adequate job of stopping both the run and the pass. Rookie Jordan Smith became an afterthought due to the depth at the position but got a few snaps towards the end of the year.
Final 2021 grade: B-