Jaguars OLB K’Lavon Chaisson must make the most out of fresh start

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson #45. (Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson #45. (Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports) /

New NFL regimes tend to give players a clean slate regardless of how they fared in previous seasons and the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t any different. One player that could benefit from the arrival of head coach Doug Pederson is outside linebacker/defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, who hasn’t lived up to expectations since being selected 20th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Pederson met with the local media Tuesday before the Jaguars’ Organized Team Activities and said that Chaisson will get a fresh start but needs to show what he can do.

"Yeah, I think even for players it’s good to have sort of a fresh start. But at the same time, he understands that there’s competition too now at that position and that’s a good thing because it allows him to play and, and utilize his strengths and to really showcase what he can do. And again, it adds the depth that you’re looking for at that position."

Chaisson might have a hard time getting playing time in 2022 if he performs the way he did the last two seasons. The former LSU Tiger has appeared in 31 games with 11 starts and has logged 50 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, and a measly two sacks, certainly not the production you expect from a first-round selection. Here’s Pederson’s full session with the media in case you want to take a look at it.

Jaguars edge K’Lavon Chaisson is under pressure to perform.

The Jaguars haven’t done Chaisson any favors by often having him switch positions. Back in college, he rushed the passer from a two-point stance but was asked to play with his hand on the ground as a rookie. He then moved to strong linebacker in 2021 and hasn’t really had the continuity you want young players to have while developing. On the other hand, his lack of impact doesn’t fall solely on the team and he must carry some of the blame on his shoulders.

As Pederson noted, Chaisson will face competition from the Jaguars’ offseason acquisitions. Travon Walker, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, will most likely start on Day 1 and if he doesn’t, he should get plenty of snaps. Similarly, defensive end Arden Key will be part of the team’s defensive line rotation and should log a significant amount of playing time.

Right now, it’s hard to envision Chaisson getting more reps than Walker and Key. That’s why he must make every single one count and it looks like he’s doing precisely that.

The Jaguars can’t give up on Chaisson just yet but they can’t wait for him forever. He needs to approach this offseason with a sense of urgency or else run the risk of tumbling down the depth chart.

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