The Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten lots of attention after making the playoffs last year and seem to be poised to return in 2023. But just like any other team, the Jags are facing a few questions ahead of the regular season. Some of them are valid, others might not be.
That's why now feels like a good time to take a look at some talking points regarding the Jags that might have been overblown. In particular, these three feel like overreactions.
3. The Jaguars need to sign a veteran pass rusher before training camp
Cornerback was seemingly the Jaguars' biggest need before the draft. More specifically, they had to make upgrades at nickel but it looks like they feel comfortable rolling veteran Tre Herndon into the season while some of their younger players — Christian Braswell and Antonio Johnson — develop.
Having checked off one item of their to-do list, the Jags now need to make sure that their defensive front will be able to consistently apply pressure up front, which begs the question, is their pass rush really an area of need? A cause for concern?
The team's brass expects outside linebacker Josh Allen and sophomore Travon Walker to improve but even if they do, they'll need other players to step up and that's the issue. Last year, defensive end Dawuane Smoot appeared in 446 defensive snaps but he suffered an Achilles tear near the end of the season.
Smoot is currently a free agent and could end up returning to Jacksonville but it will be a few more months before he can contribute, as he's still rehabbing his foot. Either way, the Jags need to replace his production. Compounding the issue is that the top brass will also need to fill the void left by Arden Key, who signed a three-year free worth $21 with the Tennessee Titans in free agency.
Rookies Yasir Abdullah and Tyler Lacy have potential and could fill significant roles in 2023. However, they both are unproven and if neither one shows out, the Jags will then need to look for outside help to bolster their pass rush. Yannick Ngakoue, Justin Houston, and Melvin Ingram remain unsigned and could be realistic options.