Jaguars should not give up on OLB K’Lavon Chaisson just yet

Linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson #45 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson #45 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Under general manager Trent Baalke, the Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t shied away from trading players that were acquired by Dave Caldwell and no longer fit their vision. Outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson hasn’t lived up to his draft billing and could potentially land on the trade block next. However, the Jags shouldn’t give up on him just yet.

Brent Sobleski recently put together a list of moves each NFL team should make before the start of the 2022 regular season and suggests Jacksonville shop Chaisson. Sobleski argues that the former LSU Tiger could fit defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell’s scheme but points out that he might not be an important piece to the puzzle due to the addition of Travon Walker in this year’s draft.

"From a schematic point of view, the LSU product should fit well in Mike Caldwell’s system as a standup edge. However, the team also used this year’s No. 1 overall pick on Travon Walker, who will convert to outside linebacker. With Walker and Josh Allen as the team’s primary edge defenders, the Jaguars are sitting on another first-round investment as a rotational piece.General manager Trent Baalke may hold onto Chaisson for another year or two as he plays under his rookie deal and helps create more flexibility along the defensive front. Or he could trade him to a franchise with a starting spot for a soon-to-be 23-year-old brimming with upside. Dealing him now might result in the best return package."

A first-round pick in the 2020 draft, Chaisson hasn’t lived up to expectations. Over the last two years, he’s appeared in 31 games with 11 starts and has logged 50 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, and a measly two sacks. He showed flashes towards the end of his rookie campaign, recording 21 total pressures in the last seven games. However, he wasn’t able to build off his strong finish and saw a decreased role on the Jaguars’ defense last year.

It’s too early for the Jaguars to give up on K’Lavon Chaisson

The Minnesota Vikings were reportedly interested in Chaisson before last year’s trade deadline but a deal didn’t materialize. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be shocking to see other teams inquire about the former first-round pick in the upcoming months. After all, he was a highly-touted player coming out of college and he’s barely 22 (soon 23) years old. And precisely because of that, the Jaguars can’t afford to trade him now.

Keep in mind that Chaisson hasn’t been put in a position to succeed and has experienced plenty of change over the last two seasons. As a rookie, he was asked to play with his hand on the ground even though he rushed the passer from a two-point stance at LSU. He moved back to a standup position last season but he wasn’t particularly effective. Another year in a 3-4 defense could end up helping him finally find his footing in the NFL.

And while Chaisson will no longer have a feature role on the Jaguars’ defense, he could still be a useful contributor and even thrive behind Travon Walker and Josh Allen. Swiper himself said that seeing Walker get drafted lif a fire in him, and maybe that’s the wake-up call he needed to finally become the pass rusher the Jaguars expected.

It’s too early to dismiss Chaisson. He underperformed last season but so did other Jaguars players. It’s possible that he will finally reach his potential under head coach Doug Pederson., so it’s up to him to seize the opportunity.

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