Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Yasir Abdullah gives pass rush a much needed boost

NFL Combine
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After adding depth to position groups that were in great shape, the Jacksonville Jaguars have finally decided to address their needs and selected outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah with the 136th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

A fifth-year senior at Louisville, Abdullah has the athleticism and lateral agility to get after the quarterback. Although it took him a bit to find his stride, he progressively got better and registered 31 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions in the last two years.

Abdullah will need to get stronger to thrive in the NFL. Also, he might not be ready to have an immediate impact but he can develop into a solid rotation piece on the Jaguars' defense.

The Jacksonville Jaguars got it right with Yasir Abdullah in Round 5 of the Draft

While it's hard to expect a fifth-round selection to turn into a game-changer, Abdullah is arguably the Jags' best pick since Day 1 of the draft and that says a lot. Tight end Brenton Strange will be a good complementary tight end to Evan Engram but won't probably get much playing time barring significant injury to Engram.

Then in Round 3, Jacksonville landed running back Tank Bigsby, which seems like a curious decision when you take into account that they just signed D'Ernest Johnson in free agency and brought back JaMycal Hasty on a two-year deal. On top of that, sophomore Snoop Conner is still on the roster. Given all the additions to the group this offseason, he could be the odd man out.

On the bright side, the Jaguars are starting to put an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. As Michael DiRocco of ESPN noted, the Jaguars' last three picks (121, 130, and 136) have been on defensive players. Then again, Ventrell Miller will join a loaded linebacker corps and Tyler Lacy might be a project at this stage of his career.

On the other hand, Abdullah might have a better chance of getting in the field early, especially if he can beat K'Lavon Chaisson and Jordan Smith from the get go. During an exchange with the local media, Abdullah said that the Jags liked him vestaility to line up at "edge, off ball, everywhere".

After taking Abdullah, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a chance to finish strong. Their Day 2 picks might not have been overly popular but if they can keep fortifying the defense and fill positions of need, it will be hard to keep questioning their approach.

Next. Jaguars winners and losers from Day 2 of the Draft. dark