Jaguars OLB Josh Allen among the best at creating pressure on true pass sets

Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen joins elite company when it comes to creating pressure on true pass sets, according to Pro Football Focus.
Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Outside linebacker Josh Allen is arguably the Jacksonville Jaguars' best player on defense. You could also pick cornerback Tyson Campbell and most pundits would nod in approval. However, Allen has delivered even though he's gone through three different regimes since the Jags drafted him seventh overall in 2019. Just recently, Braxton Howard of Pro Football Focus talked about how much of an impact he has as a pass rusher.

Braxton compiled a list of the best edge rushers on true pass sets and ranked Allen at No. 4, noting that he didn't have a high number of sacks in 2022 but he was great at causing disruption in the pocket.

"Allen is coming off his best season as a pro, as his career-high 84.7 PFF grade ranked 10th among edge defenders. Despite posting only seven sacks, Allen notched career highs in total pressures (77), quarterback hurries (49) and quarterback hits (21). He even posted a career-high 83.0 run-defense grade that ranked third among all edges. "

Braxton goes on to say that Allen is one of three pass rushers that appeared in more than 1,000 snaps last year and dropped in coverage 100 more on times. He concludes by pointing out that the Jaguars star outside linebacker has gradually improved over the last four seasons and "is up for a substantial payday" in 2023.

As Braxton noted, Allen only tallied seven sacks in 2022 but his 77 total pressures ranked seventh among edge rushers. Also, his fumble recovery against the Tennessee Titans in the final ways key to propeling Jacksonville into the postseason.

On the other hand, Allen needs to keep improving if he wants to join the upper echelon of NFL pass rushers. By his own admission, he wasn't good enough last season and spent the early portion of the offseason away from the team working on his craft.

Allen is entering a contract year and the Jaguars' brass could have easily given him a contract extension but they're waiting for him to truly have a breakout season and would rather have his rookie deal play out.

Jaguars OLB Josh Allen is set to have a career year in 2023

Looking back, there are many reasons Allen hasn't been able to recreate the success he had in his rookie year, when he registered 10.5 sacks and earned a Pro Bowl designation. For starters, he benefited from the presence of Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell but when the Jags moved on from them in 2020, that left Allen as the only viable pass rusher in the team. The fact that he suffered a knee injury that year that limited him to eight games and 2.5 sacks didn't help matters.

Allen was expected to bounce back in 2021 but he and pretty much every Jaguars player was affected by the Urban Meyer debacle. He did finish the season with 7.5 sacks and was outright dominant at times but he wasn't nearly as consistent, going seven straight games without a sack.

Last year, the former Kentucky Wildcat made strides but the Jaguars wants him to put it all together before they make a long-term commitment. The good news is that there are reasons to believe he will have a banner year. Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft, is projected to improve, and if he does, he will draw attention away from Allen.

Also, Allen will be entering his second year in the same system, a luxury he hasn't had since 2020. Not having to learn a new defense should help him pick up where he left off last year and turn those hurries and pressures into sacks.

The bottom line is that Allen has room for improvement but that doesn't diminish his value as one of the Jaguars' best defensive players. He's shown he can play at an elite level. He now needs to do it on a consistent basis.

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