4. player who could be entering last year with the Jaguars – Dawuane Smoot.
Edge rusher Dawuane Smoot led the Jaguars in sacks with 5.5 in 2020 and was among their most consistent defenders. That’s why it wasn’t shocking to see them give him a two-year deal last offseason. The 2017 third-round went on to have another productive year, logging six sacks, 36 total tackles, seven tackles for a loss, and one forced fumble.
Smoot will continue to be part of the Jaguars’ pass rush rotation this year but may lose snaps to either former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arden Key or Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, who is the favorite to go first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. All these acquisitions could turn the Jags’ defensive front into a formidable group but it also puts Smoot’s future with the team in question.
After all, the current Jaguars’ decision-makers didn’t draft Smoot and they’ve shown a willingness to move on from players the previous regime brought in. Just before free agency, they released Myles Jack and if center Brandon Linder hadn’t retired, he would have been given his walking papers too.
Smoot is the only remaining member of that Sacksonville defense that helped the Jaguars play in the AFC Championship back in 2017 and another solid season would strengthen his case to remain in Jacksonville. Nevertheless, nobody would bat an eye if he changes uniforms next offseason. While keeping him wouldn’t be cost-prohibitive, the team could decide to go in a different direction at pass rusher, especially if Hutchinson has a good rookie season and the Jags give Josh Allen a contract extension.