B/R suggests Jaguars keep pouring resources into stacked linebacker corps

• Do the Jaguars need help at LB? Bleacher Report thinks so.

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (23) reacts to his third down stop as teammate
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (23) reacts to his third down stop as teammate / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA
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The Jacksonville Jaguars are stacked at linebacker. Besides starters Foyesade Oluokun and Devin Lloyd, they have an adequate backup in Chad Muma and an intriguing wild card in sophomore Ventrell Miller. Yet, Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report believes the Jags should keep pouring resources into the position, as unnecessary as it may be.

Ballentine and the B/R scouting department recently talked about how each team could address a need this offseason. Regarding Jacksonville, they think they should add depth to their linebacker corps, pointing out that Muma hasn't been that great.

"Foyesade Oluokun and Devin Lloyd form a strong tandem in the middle of the Jaguars defense, but this is not a roster built to withstand an injury for either of them. Former third-round pick Chad Muma has not been able to earn a consistent role and scored a 38.1 grade from PFF in his limited sample size of snaps.

The Jaguars might want to go back to that well to at least start developing an option they can turn to down the road with Oluokun in the final year of his current contract. "

Ballentine opines that drafting Ty'Ron Hopper on Day 3 of this year's draft would help Jacksonville address the issue. This isn't an inherently bad idea. The linebacker corps could most definitely use some depth. Muma was indeed overwhelming last year when stepped in for Devin Lloyd. Similarly, Miller missed the year with an Achilles injury and may need time to get back at full strength. Last but not least, Shaquille Quarterman, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, is set to become a free agent.

Also, the Jaguars will need to decide what to do with Oluokun. He's been the heart and soul of the defense but he missed a concerning 17 tackles last year and is entering the last year of the contract he signed in 2022 to join the Jaguars. That said, they currently have more pressing holes to fill. Heck, their pass rusher is in bigger need of depth, with K'Lavon Chaisson and Dawuane Smoot potentially leaving in free agency.

This isn't to say that the Jaguars should neglect the position altogether. They should most definitely add a linebacker if they find value in the draft. In the same manner, they need to figure out what they'll do with Oluokun. Is the front office going to re-sign him? They could give him an extension already and push some of his $21 million salary to the future if they want a bit of cap relief.

The Jacksonville Jaguars should prioritize other positions in the offseason

One thing to keep in mind when projecting how the Jaguars will address the defense is that they hired Ryan Nielsen after the 2023 season. While his predecessor Mike Caldwell ran a 3-4, Nielsen prefers a traditional 4-3. Although he's made it clear that he won't force his players into his scheme but rather will adjust his defense to their strengths, he'll most definitely do things differently. And one position group that could undergo adjustments is the linebacker group.

Outside linebackers generally rush the passer in a 3-4. That's not the case in the 4-3, where they're asked to drop in coverage more often and don't bring the heat as frequently. That said, Nielsen may choose to run his defense with the current personnel and start making wholesome changes until next year. Either way, the interior defensive line, and the cornerback group are bigger needs than linebackers ahead of the draft.

The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars don't have to bolster their linebacker unit this offseason. If the chance arises, they should but they'll be alright if they choose to prioritize other position groups.

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