Trevor Lawrence is without a doubt the best player on the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster right now. Without him, their chances of making a deep playoff run in 2023 would be significantly diminished. Having said that, there are other players that will be pivotal for the team's success next season. One of them is outside linebacker Josh Allen, Ed Edholm of NFL Media's pick for the Jags' non-quarterback MVP.
Edholm recently selected a non-quarterback MVP for every NFL club and Allen was his choice for Jacksonville, arguing that wide receiver Calvin Ridley could have gotten the nod but "Allen might end up being the better choice".
"Would the Jaguars be contenders without Allen? I don't think that's an outrageous question. They didn't really upgrade the pass rush this offseason specifically, although the continued development of 2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker is expected. That might make Allen even more valuable to this defense than impressive young cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Allen is a better player than his seven-sack 2022 season might suggest. Look at the tape, and you see a top-tier edge rusher with a nearly complete game all around. He supplied four forced fumbles, two fumbled recoveries (one returned for a TD), 22 QB hits, and 11 tackles for a loss."
Allen, a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, registered 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, his production has experienced a dip since then. in 2020, a knee injury hindered him and limited him to eight games and 2.5 sacks. The former Kentucky Wildcat was expected to bounce back in 2021 and he kind of did. He had a monster game against the Buffalo Bills (one sack, one scooped fumble, and an interception) but was — like every other Jaguar — affected by the Urban Meyer debacle. Still, he finished the season with 7.5 sacks.
Last season, Allen created pressures at a high rate (his 77 total pressures were tied for sixth best last year) and as Edholm noted, his impact goes beyond his sack totals. On the other hand, the veteran defender himself said during offseason workouts that he wasn't good enough in 2022 and is working on getting better for the 2023 season. If he does, he can then join the upper echelon of pass rushers.
Josh Allen is a solid choice for the Jaguars non-QB MVP in 2023
Had Edholm chosen cornerback Tyson Campbell, nobody would have batted an eye. After all, the former Georgia Bulldog has low-key become one of the best cornerbacks in the league and has gotten lots of recognition ahead of the 2023 season. The same is true for fellow 2021 draftee Andre Cisco, who's become a key cog in the Jacksonville secondary.
Any of those three players has a solid case to be the Jaguars' non-quarterback MVP. On the other hand, Allen does need to make a leap in 2023. He's entering a contract year and the team's brass wants to see how he performs before they make a long-term commitment to him.
Working in Allen's favor is that he's entering his second season under defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell. This is the second time in his career that he'll get to play in the same system for more than a year. Also, if sophomore Travon Walker does turn the corner, he'll be able to take attention away from Allen.
All things considered, Allen has a realistic shot at having a banner year in 2023 and if he does, he'll have a chance to return to the Pro Bowl and get a long-term contract to remain with the Jacksonville Jaguars for years to come.