The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton for an extended period of time while he recovers from a back injury. Although it will be hard to fill the void left by his absence, there are a handful of players head coach Doug Pederson believes can step in his place.
Jeremiah Ledbetter, who had one sack and three total tackles in Week 2 of the preseason is one of the players Pederson thinks can hold the fort. Similarly, veteran Adam Gotsis, along with rookies Tyler Lacy and Raymond Vohasek could fill in for Hamilton.
Jeremiah Ledbetter, Adam Gotsis, two guys that we have as role players, backup guys," Pederson told the media Monday. "Tyler Lacy is another one that really has emerged. He played well and he continues to get better. We got a couple of guys that are on the roster that can give us good time in DaVon's absence, however long that's going to be."
"But those guys played well, consistent down the line. Raymond did some nice things late in the game. But I think Ledbetter/Gotsis, a combination of those two, and possibly Tyler Lacy is a good combination to fill in," Pederson said.
Ledbetter, a fourth-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2017, spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Baltimore Ravens and the Arizona Cardinals before landing in the Jaguars' practice squad last year. Earlier this year, he might've looked like a long shot to make the team but he's seemingly done enough to earn a roster spot in 2023.
A second-round pick in the 2016 draft, Gotsis joined the Jags in 2020. He became a free agent in March but returned on a two-year deal. The Georgia Tech product has become a solid piece of their defensive line rotation but will get an increased workload during Hamilton's absence.
Lacy and Vohasek might also see more playing time than originally expected. The team's brass liked the versatility the former displayed at the collegiate level. "Because if you go watch this film at Oklahoma State, he made plays on the edge that were phenomenal for big guys. And when they moved him inside, his hands and his power when he played inside, it wasn't a weak link," defensive line coach Brentson Buckner said via John Shipley of Sports Illustrated.
Regarding Vohasek, a seventh-round pick, Buckner says he's got footwork but must learn to get down and build in leverage.
It will be hard for the Jaguars to replace DaVon Hamilton
John Shipley noted after the news broke that DaVon Hamilton would miss time that he was one of the most essential Jaguars players on training camp. This is to say that a combination of Adam Gotsis and Jeremiah Ledbetter could indeed lessen the impact of Hamilton's absence but neither one is nearly as good.
Similarly, Tyler Lacy and Raymond Vohasek will be thrust into action before Jacksonville would've probably wanted but they have no choice the rookie duo will asked to contribute from the get go.
The bottom line is that injuries are an inherent part of football, and if one player goes down, another one must step up and the Jaguars believe they have the personnel to overcome DaVon Hamilton's back injury to the best of their ability.