The Jacksonville Jaguars opted not to exercise the fifth-year option on outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson last year, which makes the 2023 season crucial in his NFL career. Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell thinks Chaisson has the talent but it's up to him to prove he can deliver the goods.
Caldwell met with the local media on Day 3 of training camp. He touched on several topics, including Travon Walker's growth, Tyson Campbell's leadership role, and whether Chaisson could be a late bloomer.
"When you look at K'Lavon, the tools are there. He's a smart and talented outside linebacker", Caldwell said. "He has the ability to rush, he's shown it. We're just waiting for him to be healthy and get out there and show what he can do."
Caldwell goes on to say that Chaisson in previous years has back by a lack of continuity but he's putting in the work and it's time for him to live up to expectations.
When you look at it, he's never really had the chance for a full season and we're waiting for him to be healthy and if you look at it from the time we've got here to now, the work he's put in, it's time for him, for his hard work to pay off for him", Caldwell said.
Chaisson hasn't developed into the pass rusher the Jags expected when they drafted him 20th overall in 2020, having logged just three sacks in the last three seasons. As Caldwell noted, he hasn't had continuity throughout his career, having played for three different systems in as many years. The fact that he suffered a meniscus injury and spent some of the 2022 season on the Injured Reserve list didn't help matters.
Heading into Year 4, Chaisson is under pressure to perform. Head coach Doug Pederson said on Day 1 of training camp that the former LSU Tiger is currently No. 3 on the depth chart behind Josh Allen and Travon Walker. But if he executes, he can then earn more playing time as the season progresses.
This is a make-or-break year for Jaguars OLB K'Lavon Chaisson
K'Lavon Chaisson has failed to live up to expectations but the Jags aren't ready to give up on him just yet despite the fact that he's been the subject of trade talks dating back to 2021. In fact, the Minnesota Vikings were targeting the Texas native before that year's deadline but couldn't get a deal done.
As Caldwell noted, the talent is there and the player known as Swiper certainly has it but hasn't been able to showcase it. It's true that he hasn't enjoyed continuity from a coaching perspective, but at one point, he needs to be held accountable for his lack of development. And while there's a chance he hits his stride, he's running out of time to show he deserves to remain in Jacksonville beyond 2023.
Expectations aren't particularly high for Chaisson in 2023 but he's in control of his narrative and the Jaguars will give him a chance to change it.