No. 4 Jaguars player to build around – Josh Allen, OLB.
The Jaguars brought reinforcements to their front seven this offseason but Josh Allen is still their best defensive player. The former Kentucky Wildcat started his NFL career with a bang, logging 10.5 sacks as a rookie and earning a Pro Bowl designation. Alas, his early success didn’t carry into his sophomore campaign and he finished 2020 with just 2.5 sacks. In his defense, he suffered a knee injury that forced him to sit out eight games and wasn’t truly himself whenever he was on the field.
Fully healthy, Allen was a source of consistent pressure early in 2021 and was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league at some point of the season. However, he faded down the stretch and wasn’t as productive at the end of the year. On the bright side, he finished strong, registering two sacks against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18.
The team’s brass certainly sees Allen as a building block. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. It’s true that the 2019 first-round pick needs to be more consistent but it’s hard to blame him for not playing up to his potential in the second half of the 2021 season. The Jags had to endure many pitfalls last season, and everyone’s performance was affected because of it.
Allen will have a clean slate under head coach Doug Pederson and he will truly be put in a position to succeed. The fact that the front office surrounded the pass rusher with more talent makes him a candidate not only to bounce back but to dominate in 2022.