Jaguars DT DaVon Hamilton makes PFF list of top 25 interior defenders
If ever wondered why the Jacksonville Jaguars cut ties with general manager David Caldwell, look no further than their 2020 draft class, which was recently dubbed their worst mistake in the last five years and was the last one he oversaw before he was kicked to the curb. Although the Jags haven’t gotten much production from that year’s class, not everything is gloom and doom. With their third-round pick, they took defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, who was among the top interior defenders last year.
Johnathon Macri of Pro Football Focus drew up a list of the top 25 interior defenders in 2022 and Hamilton popped up at No. 18. Macri notes that the player known as Ham earned a PFF grade of 74.9 after hovering around the 50s in his first two seasons. He then adds that Hamilton got better both as a pass rusher and a run stuffer.
"After back-to-back seasons of grades in the 50s to start his NFL career, Hamilton hit his stride in 2022 while playing every game and more defensive snaps (610) than he had in each of those past two seasons. This led to not just a career-high overall grade (74.9) but also career highs in run defense grade (69.4), pass-rush grade (76.1), pressures (27) and sacks (2.5)."
Hamilton appeared in 17 games with 14 starts and registered 2.5 sacks, 56 total tackles, and five tackles for a loss last year. While a knee injury cut his rookie season short, he picked up where he left off the following year and has become one of the Jags’ most consistent defenders at the line of scrimmage.
Chris Jones (Kansas City) took the top spot in Macri’s list. Dexter Lawrence (New York Giants) finished second and Quinnen Williams (New York Jets) landed at No. 3. Aaron Donald, the best defender in the NFL regardless of the position, fell to No. 4 after missing six games last year. Other interior defenders from the AFC South to make the cut were Teair Tart (No. 22), Jeffery Simmons (No. 9), and DeForest Buckner (No. 8).
Jaguars DT DaVon Hamilton has progressively gotten better
Playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense isn’t glamorous. Your job is to take on blockers and clog up running lanes, so other players can make plays. However, Hamilton excels in this role, even if he doesn’t get nearly as much attention as outside linebacker Josh Allen or cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Hamilton is now entering a contract year and the Jaguars should strongly consider giving him a long-term deal even though his numbers don’t pop off of the stat sheet. In fact, you can’t judge him based on his sack totals because getting after the quarterback isn’t his primary task on the defense.
Once the Jaguars figure out what they want to do with Allen, they should start contract talks with Hamilton, who isn’t a cornerstone player but is integral to the defense’s success up front.