Outside linebacker Josh Allen entered the 2023 season needing to prove himself. While he had previously been good, he hadn't turned into the game-wreaker the Jacksonville Jaguars expected when they drafted him seventh overall in 2019. He's without a doubt exceeded those expectations and then some. After registering two sacks against the Carolina Panthers, he's now the franchise leader for sacks in a season with 15.5.
Allen entered the game needing one sack to tie Calais Campbell, and another one to break the record "the Mayor" set in 2017. Allen's previous career best was 10.5 and he set it as a rookie. He suffered a knee injury in 2020 that hindered his performance and limited him to eight games and 2.5 sacks.
The former Kentucky Wildcat bounced back the following season and had dominant stretches but wasn't still consistent enough. He kept making strides in 2022 but wasn't still the elite pass rusher the Jaguars expected. That has changed this season.
Allen has solidified himself as one of the top pass rushers in the league. He ranks at the top of most meaningful categories at the position. On top of that, he's been the Jaguars' best player on defense and arguably their MVP.
Josh Allen is having a banner year for the Jaguars, a reason they're beating the Panthers
Josh Allen had been good for the Jaguars in previous seasons but he had left a bit to be desired. He vowed to become a better player in 2023, acknowledging that he wasn't good enough last season. This was one of the reasons, Jacksonville opted to exercise the fifth-year option on this rookie deal rather than giving him an extension.
Allen has proven that he deserves to be paid like a top pass rusher. His two sacks are one of the reasons the Jags have held the Panthers to zero points. It's not hyperbole to say that he's setting the tone on defense.
As Allen noted on the days preceding the game, the Jags needed to have a good week of practice, because it carries over into game day. Based on how things have played out against Carolina, it looks like the Jaguars did have a pretty fruitful week of practice.
There's still more than a quarter left in the game, but the Jaguars are in control. If they don't take their guard off, they'll have a chance to put and end to the four-game losing streak they're currently riding. Also, they'll get one step closer to winning the AFC South for the second straight year.