The Jacksonville Jaguars have an underrated edge defender in Josh Allen and an ascending talent in Travon Walker. If both of them make a leap in 2023, the Jags will have a productive pass rush tandem. However, they're still figuring out the rest of their rotations, and bringing in outside help shouldn't be ruled out. The issue with that is that the Jags are running out of options with Justin Houston joining the Carolina Panthers.
Houston signed a one-year deal worth up to $7 million with $6 million guaranteed with the Panthers Sunday. The veteran had become a free agent in March but had remained available until Carolina came in calling. A third-round pick in the 2011 draft, Houston had spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts before joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.
The former Georgia Bulldog has appeared in 163 games with 144 starts and registered 111.5 sacks and 506 total tackles. In Carolina, he joins a group that includes Henry Anderson, Derrick Brown and Brian Burns.
Houston was part of a group of pass rushers that hit the open market in March but had to wait to find a new team this offseason. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue joined the Chicago Bears a couple of days before Houston landed with the Panthers. Leonard Floyd and Frank Clark also had to wait to sign with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, respectively,
Now, Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney seem to be the top two options available in case the Jaguars want to bolster their pass rush. Last year, Ingram played 17 games with three starts for the Miami Dolphins and logged six sacks and one forced fumble. On the other hand, Clowney suited up for 12 games with 10 starts and tallied two sacks for the Cleveland Browns last year.
Pass rush remains a work in progress for the Jaguars
Josh Allen has had a terrific training camp while Travon Walker has shown progress. However, the Jaguars don't have many options behind them. K'Lavon Chaisson will tentatively be No. 3 on the depth chart but he hasn't been much of a factor over the last three years and expecting him to suddenly become a dominant player might be a tall ask. Projecting him to be a solid rotational player in 2023 might be more reasonable.
The Jags brought back Dawuane Smoot on a one-year deal but he's still recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered late in the 2022 season. It will be a few more weeks before he returns. For the time being, the team brass' is expecting rookies Tyler Lacey and Yasir Abdullah, along with third-year pro Jordan Smith, to step up. However, none of them have particularly stood out in training camp.
In early June, head coach Doug Pederson told the media that they wanted to see what their players could do before considering adding outside help. Preseason is around the corner and now would be a good time to bolster the pass rush. The problem is that there aren't many options left in the open market. Unless any of the youngsters show out in the upcoming weeks,