The Jacksonville Jaguars had trouble scoring points in 2021 but they also struggle to stop opposing teams from doing so. That’s why they bolstered their defensive front and revamped their linebacker corps. But in spite of all the changes the Jags made in the offseason, they got a somewhat low spot in Pro Football Focus’ recent ranking.
Seth Galina of PFF recently ranked all 32 linebacker units in the NFL and the Jaguars earned the 22nd spot. Galina notes Jacksonville “rebuilt” the group and thinks that there’s hope due to the arrival of rookies Chad Muma and Devin Lloyd.
"It’s a rebuilt Jaguars linebacking corps after losing Myles Jack to the Steelers. Foyesade Oluokun was brought in from Atlanta, but there is certainly hope that the team’s two rookie picks at the position, Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma, can play early. Lloyd, who earened a 90.0-plus grade at Utah in 2021, does look set to start."
For comparison, the Houston Texans’ linebacker group landed at No. 31. The Tennessee Titans earned the 16th spot and the Indianapolis Colts finished second, just behind the San Francisco 49ers.
The Jaguars linebacker corps are poised to set the tone in 2022
Not only did the Jaguars move on from Myles Jack but they also let Damien Wilson walk away in free agency. Last season, the Jags struggled to tackle, stop the run and allowed opposing teams to throw the ball. All levels on defense deserve blame but the team’s brass felt their linebacker unit was in need of a makeover, that’s why they signed Foyesade Oluokun in free agency, and later drafted Lloyd and Muma.
While taking Muma in the third round after selecting Lloyd in the first might have been unnecessary, the Jags now have talent and depth at the position. Last season, the Jags’ linebacker unit logged a combined three forced fumbles and one interception. On the other hand, Oluokun has recorded five interceptions and five forced fumbles over the last two seasons. He will line up next to Devin Lloyd on Day 1, giving the defense two new starters. The fact that the Jaguars fortified their defensive front in the offseason should also help their linebackers make plays.
Getting Trevor Lawrence weapons was the Jaguars’ top priority in the offseason but they also showed they can multitask and made upgrades to the defense, with the linebacker corps being the biggest beneficiary. If the unit makes plays this upcoming season, their secondary won’t be the only defensive unit ranked in the top 20.