Jaguars DT DaVon Hamilton poised to have a comeback season in 2024

• Jaguars DT DaVon Hamilton is healthy after dealing with an injury in 2023.
 The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Baltimore Ravens at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, November 27, 2022. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Baltimore Ravens at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, November 27, 2022. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars were counting on DaVon Hamilton to make an impact in 2023. Unfortunately, the plan came to a halt when he suffered a non-football back injury before the regular season began. While he returned at one point, he wasn't 100 percent. Hamilton is now at full strength and the Jags expect him to be the same player he was prior to the injury.

Head coach Doug Pederson told the local media at OTAs that Hamilton is back to full strength, noting that he had to put up lots of work to get where he's at.

"Much, much different. More like '22 than '23 with him. The old DaVon is back and he's got great energy out there through Phase Two, through Phase One, and Two. He's excited to be back on the field. He's excited for his health as well. We all know that was a scary deal what he went through. But he's really worked hard. He's worked hard to put himself in this position. Just look again for great things and for him to get back to his old self he was a couple years ago.

Pederson went on to say that it's great to see Hamilton back in the fold.

"For me, it's great to see him out there and smiling and being around his teammates. He's a great leader in that room, but I think more so on the team as well. He's a guy who doesn't say a whole lot but he does it more through example, and how he works and that's what's good to see," Pederson said.

Hamilton, for his part, says he's back to where he was, pointing out that he felt tired and fatigued, "I just couldn't operate or move. That's how I knew something was off," via Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL. He then added that he lost 20 pounds but has gained them.

Hamilton suffered a non-football back injury during the 2023 preseason, he later got an infection and had to be treated with antibiotics. He began the regular season on Injured Reserve and eventually returned. However, he hadn't fully recovered and was made inactive a handful of games. The former Ohio State product ended up appearing in just eight games with two starts, registering 12 total tackles.

Before getting hurt, Hamilton was expected to have a breakout season. One reason was that he switched to defensive end after playing nose tackle in the team's 3-4 scheme. The Jaguars' brass were so confident in him making a leap that they gave him a contract extension worth $34 million last offseason.

Hamilton is one of two remaining players from the Jaguars' 2020 draft class. The other is safety and special-teams ace Daniel Thomas, who signed a two-year deal in free agency to return.

Jaguars DT Davon Hamilton should thrive under Ryan Nielsen

One of the Jaguars' most underrated acquisitions in the offseason was defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. Last year, the defense got off to a promising start but struggled down the stretch. Things got so bad that there was no communication between some position groups. Nielsen was brought in to fix that.

Under Nielsen, the Jaguars will run a 4-3 scheme and Hamilton will move back to defensive tackle. He acknowledged as much during his latest exchange with the media. However, his role won't be to take on double teams and cog running lanes like he did in the 3-4. Ham will still stuff the run but he'll also be asked to create pressure from the interior.

Given that Nielsen's area of expertise is the defensive line, he should be able to get the most out of DaVon Hamilton in his scheme. Add the fact that he's finally healthy and he's poised to have a career season.

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