The Jacksonville Jaguars need to add a few playmakers to the roster this offseason but they also have a few building blocks in place, including outside linebacker Josh Allen, who was one of their most improved players last year.
Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus recently discussed the most improved players in all 32 NFL teams last season and Allen made the cut. Treash notes that his PFF grade went from 69.6 in 2020 to 78.5 last year and says that his “Win Above Replacement” was three times higher than it was in either of his first two campaigns. On the other hand, he points out that his performance took a hit as the season went on.
"Allen’s 0.19 PFF Wins Above Replacement in 2021 was three times more than either of his first two seasons in the NFL. The 2019 seventh overall pick started out the 2021 season hot with an 86.9 PFF grade through Week 11 — the fourth-best at the position — but teetered off down the stretch. Allen produced far more high-level reps this past season and needs to find some consistency in 2022."
A first-round selection by the Jags in the 2019 NFL Draft, Allen logged 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, he suffered a knee injury in 2020 that hindered his performance and forced him to miss eight games. Fully healthy, the Kentucky product became Jacksonville’s top pass rusher last season and posted 7.5 sacks, one interception, 12 tackles for a loss and once forced fumble.
Just like Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars need to help Josh Allen.
There’s no doubt Allen needs to be more consistent in 2022. He was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league a the midpoint of the 2021 season but his performance fell off the cliff down the stretch. It’s possible that all the dysfunction the team was experiencing due to the presence of Urban Meyer got to him, or maybe he needs to change his training regime. Regardless of the reason, the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft has shown he can play at an elite level, he just needs to do it consistently.
On the other hand, Allen can’t be the only source of pressure on the Jaguars’ defense. The front office needs to help him and find another edge rusher this offseason. Besides Allen, the Jaguars have Dawuane Smoot, who recorded six sacks in 2021. The Jags need to add someone else. They can either target Harold Landry or Chandler Jones in free agency or take Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux with the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
Back in his rookie campaign, Allen benefited from playing with Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell. This isn’t to say he deserves less credit for his production but rather that the Jaguars had a good defensive front and instead of relying on just one player to generate pressure, they had three pretty good rushers.
Exercising the fifth-year option on Josh Allen’s rookie contract and getting him some help should be two of the easiest decisions the Jaguars need to make on defense this offseason. Just like Allen, the Jaguars need to pitch in if they want to make strides in 2022.