The Jacksonville Jaguars have a pair of bookend edge rushers in Travon Walker and Josh Allen but they need someone else to round out their rotation. Rookie Yasir Abdullah is expected to contribute early on but he might go through an adjustment period before he can make an impact. This is why Marc Sessler of NFL Media suggests the Jags look for outside options to give their pass rush a boost.
Sessler recently listed every NFL team's top remaining priority and he thinks Jacksonville didn't do enough to bolster their pass rush in the offseason. He also thinks they could use an upgrade at cornerback.
"The warp-speed growth of Trevor Lawrence makes it easy to forget how much help is needed on defense. Jacksonville's Josh Allen-led front notched the seventh-fewest sacks in 2022, but it barely addressed the need beyond snagging fourth-round edge Tyler Lacy out of Oklahoma State. Why not make a run at free agent Frank Clark? And yes, you could make a case for an equal need at cornerback following the release of Shaquill Griffin. "
Josh Allen did a good job of creating pressure up front last season, racking up 77 total pressures, good for sixth-best in the league. Similarly, his 84.7 Pro Football Football overall grade ranked 10 among edge rushers. On the other hand, the Jaguars would surely like to see his sack totals increase in 2023. It's true that sacks aren't the only way to measure a pass rusher's success but the best ones routinely put up a high amount.
The Jags would also like to see Trevon Walker make a leap next season. The No. 1 overall pick in 2022 showed promise while getting acclimated to playing outside linebacker full-time last year. However, the Jags need more from him if they want to consistently bring the heat to opposing quarterbacks.
Rookie Tyler Lacy will most likely be part of Jacksonville's defensive line rotation and will get more playing time as the season progress. However, expecting him or Abdullah to have a huge impact right off the bat might be too much to ask. That's why suggesting the Jaguars go after a veteran pass rusher isn't particularly controversial.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have options to upgrade their pass rush in the offseason
The Jaguars' approach makes sense. They didn't go after big names in free agency because they want their young players to develop and expect them to contribute at some point of the 2023 season. Abdullah could turn out to be a late-round gem while Walke has the potential to have a breakout year. Having said that, the Jags need to have Frank Clark, Melvin Ingram, and Yannick Ngakoue on speed dial.
All of those players are proven commodities that could give the Jags' pass rush an immediate boost. Then again, the team's brass would need to fork out a significant amount for them. Ingram could be the cheapest of the bunch but he would be a solid rotational piece behind Walker and Allen.
Ngakoue logged 19 sacks the last two years and still has lots of gas left. He would be open to a reunion but his contract demands might exceed the team's budget. Clark would also command a big salary but could help the Jags in the playoffs, where he's proven to be clutch.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to find a balance between winning now and grooming their young players. If Abdullah, Lacy, and Walker show growth early in training camp, they could then focus on addressing other potential needs. But if they don't, they should then consider getting on the phone with one of the veteran pass rushers still available in the open market.