Doug Pederson shares encouraging update on Jaguars DL DaVon Hamilton

• Jaguars HC Doug Pederson says that DaVon Hamilton is doing much better after struggling with a non-football injury in 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (52) takes to the field through the tunnel
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (52) takes to the field through the tunnel / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars were expecting a breakout year from defensive end DaVon Hamilton in 2023. However, the plan came to a halt when he suffered a non-football injury during the preseason. Hamilton eventually returned but he wasn't 100 percent healthy. Head coach Doug Pederson recently shared a positive update on him.

Pederson met with the media at the NFL owner's meeting and said that Hamilton is doing much better now and is excited to have him back in 2024.

"To me, that's the key right, for DaVon, all indications this offseason that he's trending in the right direction. He's getting back, and I'm excited for that," Pederson said. "I know he is too. We missed that piece last year. And even though he played late, he just wasn't the same. So getting him back to full strength with guys like Arik and Roy. This is gonna be great for Roy too, having a guy like Arik in there too, a veteran guy to help those guys. But yeah, DeVon is a big piece."

Hamilton, a third-round pick in 2020, got a three-year contract worth $34 million last offseason. He switched to defensive end after playing nose tackle his first three NFL seasons and the Jaguars expected him to have a bigger impact in 2023. The former Ohio State Buckeye was trending in that direction before he suffered a non-football back injury in the preseason. He then dealt with an infection derived from the injury and had to take antibiotics.

Even though Hamilton returned at one point of the season, he wasn't himself, so he was made inactive a handful of games. At the time, Pederson said the team wanted him to "get physically and mentally ready to go". Based on his latest comments, there's a strong chance Hamilton should be at full strength in training camp.

Jaguars DL DaVon Hamilton is poised to bounce back in 2024

The Jaguars made a massive upgrade on the interior offensive line when they signed Arik Armstead in free agency, but having a healthy DaVon Hamilton back in the fold should also help. With Jacksonville switching to a 4-3 front, Hamilton will most likely move inside but he won't be solely asked to clog up running lanes and take on blocks.

In Ryan Nielsen's scheme, Hamilton will be asked to attack the line of scrimmage and create pressure from the interior. On the other hand, he could also line up at defensive end at times in Nielsen's scheme. Either way, he should benefit from being part of a rotation. Sharing playing time with Roy-Robertson Harris and Arik Armstead will help them stay fresh and remain productive throughout the game.

It's also worth noting that Nielsen's expertise is the defensive line, so Hamilton, along with Armstead and Robertson-Harris, should benefit from his tutelage.

The bottom line is that DaVon Hamilton is in a favorable position a bounce-back season in 2024. Playing next to Arik Armstead and bringing in Ryan Nielsen as the defensive coordinator should most definitely help him.

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