3 positions Jacksonville Jaguars must address this offseason

Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke and owner Shad Khan at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. (Imagn Images photo pool)
Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke and owner Shad Khan at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. (Imagn Images photo pool) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars, Jadeveon Clowney
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Edge Rusher

Finding a good edge rusher is something the Jacksonville Jaguars must do.

The one position every NFL team covets, other than a franchise quarterback, is an elite pass rusher.

Finding players such as San Francisco’s Nick Bosa or Washington’s Chase Young who stepped in on Day 1 of their rookie season and got to the opposing quarterback consistently is like finding a diamond in the rough.

The closest thing the Jaguars have to that caliber of player is outside linebacker, Josh Allen. This past season he led the team with seven sacks but the Jags are certainly looking for another elite edge rusher who can consistently get to double-digit sacks year in and year out.

They were hoping Allen could eventually fill that void but he hasn’t been able to completely turn the corner just yet.

The Jaguars have certainly tried to find an elite edge rusher through the draft in recent years. Last year’s number one overall pick Trayvon Walker certainly displayed a unique combination of athleticism and strength on the edge as a rookie but did not get to the opposing quarterback as often as the Jaguars had hoped.

Walker was only able to muster 3.5 sacks in 2022 but the coaches in Jacksonville believe he will greatly improve upon those numbers in his sophomore campaign.

Another recent first-round selection, K’Lavon Chaisson, has been a major disappointment since being drafted in 2020 and is widely considered to be a bust at this point in his career.

Getting to the quarterback consistently is essential, especially in the AFC where teams have to face quarterbacks such as Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, and Justin Herbert before even getting to the Super Bowl.

The Jags didn’t have an issue pressuring the quarterback position in 2022 but they did have trouble finishing plays. Their 209 QB pressures tied for second and their 32.9% QB pressure percentage was third. However, they had 35 sacks, which was tied for 25th.

Having players such as Josh Allen and Trayvon Walker is advantageous and is certainly a nice start, but the Jags need to find that missing link on the edge if they expect to challenge for the AFC crown.

There are certainly some talented pass rushers in the upcoming 2023 NFL draft but the Jags need to get a proven veteran who can consistently pressure the opposing quarterback.

If they can create enough cap space by restructuring enough contracts and releasing a few expensive, non-essential players, they should be able to make a run at free agents such as New Orleans Saints Marcus Davenport, San Francisco’s Charles Omenihu and even Cleveland’s Jadaveon Clowney.

While Davenport and Clowney have struggled with injuries and Omenihu has been mostly a rotational piece before settling in as a consistent force the past 2 seasons, they are worth the risk if they can be had at a reasonable price.

If Trent Baalke can convince one of them to come to Jacksonville and sign a team-friendly deal in the $7 – $9 million a year range, the Jags could benefit greatly.

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