Outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson has been a non-factor for much of his three-year stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars but the former first-round pick is trying to change the narrative surrounding him and put it all together in 2023. Michael DiRocco of ESPN believes Chaisson is trending in the right direction.
ESPN put together a list of offseason standouts and players to watch ahead of the 2023 season. Chaisson made the cut, with DiRocco pointing out that he got more work during OTAs due to outside linebacker Josh Allen's absence.
"With edge rusher Josh Allen skipping OTAs, Chaisson got a lot more work. The coaching staff noticed a difference in the 2020 first-round pick. Assistants Brentson Buckner (defensive line) and Billy Shuey (outside linebackers) said they're expecting Chaisson to be one of the most improved players on the team. "
DiRocco then cites defensive line head coach Brentson Buckner, who's "looking forward to him having a big year this year".
Chassion was an intriguing talent coming out of college. However, he's failed to make an impact over the last three years, appearing in 40 games with 11 snaps and failing to register more than one sack in a season. While having to change positions and learn three different schemes has surely affected his development, other Jaguars have thrived in spite of the consistent turnover.
Working in Chaisson's favor is that he's finally have some continuity and will play in the same system for the second straight year. Bucker has shown a penchant for getting the most out of his players and if he thinks Swiper can hit his stride in 2023, he should then be monitored closely.
Jaguars OLB K'Lavon Chaisson is in a sink-or-swim situation in 2023
Players' readiness is always variable and some need more time than others to develop. Arden Key, who was an important piece of the Jags' defensive puzzle last year, was underwhelming in his first three NFL seasons but he then turned the corner as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in Year 4. He continued to get better last season and earned a three-year deal worth $21 million from the Tennessee Titans in free agency.
Chaisson could follow a similar path, so what should the Jaguars' brass expect from him in 2023? It might be a tall order but he must fill the void left by Key's departure. Chaisson has registered three career sacks and he'll probably have to tally twice as many next season. He's entering a contract year and needs to turn into a steady contributor if he wants to get paid in 2024.
Both Josh Allen and Travon Walker are projected to improve in 2023 and if Chaisson can become a solid piece of their pass-rush rotation, the Jaguars should have no trouble creating pressure up front, but Chaisson might need to fend off rookie Yasir Abdullah in training camp if he wants to get extended playing time. While he's taken steps in the right direction, he'll need to show in training camp that he's ready for an expanded role. Based on his past production, it's fair to wonder if he can pull it off.
The good news is that past performance won't define Chaisson in 2023 and if he does have a big year, the Jacksonville Jaguars' pass rush will be in good shape.