Two Jaguars defenders pop up in NFL Media's 2024 All-Breakout Team

• NFL Media believes two Jaguars defenders are in a position to earn All-Pro honors next season.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans cheer during an interception during an NFL football regular season matchup AFC South division title game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans cheer during an interception during an NFL football regular season matchup AFC South division title game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars got off to a strong start in 2023 but faded down the stretch. To right the ship, the team's brass dismissed Mike Caldwell as the defensive coordinator and hired Ryan Nielsen to take his place. Nielsen will have several intriguing pieces to work with and he'll be tasked with getting the most out of them. Safety Andre Cisco and linebacker Devin Lloyd, in particular, will most certainly benefit from his arrival.

In fact, Bucky Brooks of NFL Media believes Lloyd and Cisco will put it all together under Nielsen. Brooks recently put together his 2024 All-Breakout team and both Jaguars defenders made the cut. Regarding Lloyd, the player-turned-analyst believes that switching to SAM linebacker in Nielsen's scheme will help him put the skill set that made him a first-round pick in 2022 on full display.

"The third-year pro could reprise his role as a SAM linebacker, which helped him earn high marks as a prospect in the 2022 draft class. A unique playmaker with instincts, awareness, and pass-rushing skills, Lloyd can make his mark as a linebacker who attacks from all angles. He thrived in a similar role at the University of Utah, which helped him walk away with a plethora of honors after dotting his résumé with splash play after splash play. "

Lloyd had an up-and-down rookie campaign. He was even benched at one point. However, he was more consistent in Year 2. The California native should keep making strides under Nielsen. As Brooks pointed out, he'll be able to put his instincts and athletic skills under Nielsen. Already, he's shown up to offseason activities in the best shape of his career.

On the other hand, Brooks thinks Cisco could see an uptick in takeways and become an elite defensive back in Nielsen's scheme.

"Cisco already has logged seven interceptions over the past two seasons while playing as a center fielder in a system that lived and died with blitz pressure. Now, though, the Jaguars' young standout could see his takeaway number spike as the designated deep-middle defender in a scheme designed to bait quarterbacks into mistakes. "

A third-round pick in 2021, Cisco entered the NFL with medical red flags after suffering injuries in each of his last two seasons at Syracuse. However, he's managed to stay healthy for the most part the past three seasons. Like Lloyd, the New York, Queens native should be able to thrive in Nielsen's scheme. Add the fact that he'll be under the tutelage of defensive backs coach Kris Richard, and he's in a position to have a breakout year.

Jaguars DC Ryan Nielsen will get the most out of Andre Cisco and Devin Lloyd

Hiring Ryan Nielsen was one of the best moves the Jaguars made in the offseason. After dismissing Caldwell, they interviewed several worthy candidates to replace him. Nielsen was without a doubt the best of the bunch.

Nielsen is known for his heavy emphasis on fundamentals and technique. While his area of expertise is the defensive line, the Jaguars should experience a steep improvement in all three levels. He took over the Atlanta Falcons defense last year and they got better right out of the gate. The reason the Jaguars were able to poach him was that Raheem Morris became their new coach and chose not to retain him.

Aside from Cisco and LLoyd, Nielsen will have ample talent to work with. He's got a dynamic pass rush tandem in Josh Allen and Travon Walker. The Jaguars also signed Arik Armstead in the offseason to bolster their defensive front.

Based on Nielsen's performance in his previous stops, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Jaguars finish among the best defenses next season. Having Andre Cisco and Devin Lloyd in the mix should be of great help.

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