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2019 Senior Bowl: Offensive prospects to watch for the Jaguars

Zach Goodall

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Nov 4, 2017; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver David Sills V (13) and West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier (7) celebrate after beating the Iowa State Cyclones at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 Senior Bowl starts this week – an annual showcase for the best senior NFL Draft prospects in front of NFL scouts, coaches, front office staffs, and media.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a strong history of drafting Senior Bowl talent under general manager Dave Caldwell, selecting prospects such as WR D.J. Chark, QB Tanner Lee, DE Dawuane Smoot, TE Ben Koyack, OL Brandon Linder, LB Telvin Smith, CB Aaron Colvin, RB Denard Robinson, CB Dwayne Gratz, and SS Johnathan Cyprien after scouting them in Mobile.

Considering the strength of this year’s Senior Bowl rosters, its hard to assume the Jaguars break that trend.

Let’s go position group by position group with players that Jaguars fans should keep their eyes on during the Senior Bowl and the week of practice, which starts on Tuesday, January 22nd, on NFL Network. Make sure to follow along with Locked On Jaguars during the Senior Bowl week as Chris Thornton and myself have received media credentials for the event.

(Hint: While Jaguars fans will inevitably have their eyes on the QBs, I’d be shocked if the team’s scouts aren’t eyeing an offensive lineman or two from this Senior Bowl. Read below to find out why.)

Quarterbacks

Will Grier, West Virginia, 6-2, 223 (South team)

The Jaguars are in need of a new franchise quarterback, after the Blake Bortles experiment faltered during the 2018 season. Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, a redshirt sophomore, is arguably the best quarterback in this class, but Grier is in the argument for second best.

Grier has put up fantastic numbers during his time at West Virginia, after transferring from Florida a couple years back amidst a one year suspension from failing a performance-enhancing drugs test. Since transferring, Grier has recorded 7354 yards, 71 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with a 65.7 completion percentage in two seasons.

He’s much more scheme dependent than scheme universal in my not-so-expert opinion, but Grier has the potential to be an upper-level starter in the NFL if developed correctly. He will most likely be the highest-coveted QB of the group in Mobile, although Daniel Jones and Drew Lock will get a ton of attention as well. You can read my scotuing report (via Twitter thread) on Grier here.

Daniel Jones, Duke, 6-5, 220 (North)

An excellent West-Coast offense style of QB, Daniel Jones is a scheme-fit for the Jaguars and has a strong mental makeup in his game. He reads the field well, doesn’t make poor decisions and is accurate throwing the ball, can utilize his legs, and has a solid feel for pressure. You can read about his strengths and weaknesses here.

The biggest tests for the graduated redshirt-junior in Mobile will be to get more control of his vertical game, anticpate throwing lanes quickly against top competition, and most importantly test healthy – he played through his 2018 season with a broken collarbone. While that sure sounds gritty, teams may be frightened by the long-term effects of playing through that injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

However, considering his fit with the Jaguars and his connection to Eli Manning (hello, Tom Coughlin), Jones will be on the Jaguars radar.

Drew Lock, Missouri, 6-4, 225 (North)

Lock, who has started 46 straight games at Missouri, is one of the most experienced QBs in the Senior Bowl. However, after breaking down his film, he’s much more of a long-term project style of QB rather than an immediate starter at the NFL level.

The product of a spread-out system, Lock has flashy some statistics with 12193 career passing yards and 99 touchdowns, but a concerning 56.9% completion percentage and 39 interceptions. He has turnover and decision making issues that come with poor lower-body mechanics and relatively underdeveloped mental processing. However, he possesses incredible natural arm talent and mobility and is going to “wow” folks when throwing in shorts during practices.

Simply put: Lock isn’t the QB the Jaguars are, or at least should be, looking for. But he’s going to drop some dimes at the Senior Bowl that will have fans thinking otherwise.

Running backs

Karan Higdon, Michigan, 5-10, 202 (North)

A semifinalist for both the Doak Walker Award (best RB in college football) and Maxwell Award (best all-around) in 2018, Higdon heads into Mobile with little tread on his tires. The two-year starter and key backup in years prior has logged only 471 carries in 39 games – only 12 carries per game, and yet has recorded over 2600 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. Despite little production in the passing game – 16 receptions for 177 yards in four seasons – he has flashed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, Michigan just didn’t call passing plays his way often at all.

Higdon doesn’t have elite speed, but plays with power for his size, possesses solid vision along the offensive line to find rushing lanes, and has displayed great elusiveness and fair contact balance in order to provide a change-of-pace rushing style in a power offense.

Brad Kelly of The Draft Network wrote an excellent breakdown on Higdon that you can read here. The Michigan product will be a favorite of mine to replace T.J. Yeldon’s #2 RB role in the Jaguars offense.

Wes Hills, Slipper Rock, 6-2, 218 (South)

A small-school eligibility transfer who began his career at the University of Delaware put on a show at the NFLPA Collegeiate Bowl this past weekend, rushing for 78 yard and a touchdown on 10 carries. His mix of size, athleticism, and performance at the bowl game landed him a call-up to the Senior Bowl.

Dave Caldwell has a bit of a trend trend of drafting running backs with length, as Leonard Fournette (2017 first round pick) ranks in the 69th percentile in both height and arm length, and T.J. Yeldon (2015 second round pick) ranks 84th in height and 69th in arm length. Obviously, there’s more to scouting than measurables, but these attributes appear to be important to the Jaguars brass, and if Hills can continue to show out as a runner, as well as contribute as a pass-catcher and blocker, Hills could shoot up their draft board quickly. In his collegiate career, Hills rushed for 2755 yards on 346 carries (7.96 yards per carry) and 23 touchdowns, and added 17 receptions for 129 receiving yards as well.

Wide receivers

Keelan Doss, UC-Davis, 6-3, 206 (North)

Doss possesses excellent frame to be a contested catch and redzone target at the next level, and according to this Last Word on Sports draft profile on the FCS prospect, Doss has the body control and strong hands for teams to groom him into that type of role.

He may not be the sharpest route runner that the Jaguars look for in a possession-style role, but the team desperately needs a contested catch/boundary receiver that they’ve been missing since Allen Robinson left in free agency. Doss will face one of his biggest tests in his career against D-1 talent at the Senior Bowl, but if he can continue to win one-on-one matchups in Mobile, he could get his name included in what appears to be a very solid 2019 wide receiver class.

David Sills V, West Virginia, 6-4, 210 (South)

What may help Sills in his Senior Bowl outing is that he is paired with his college QB in Will Grier on the South team, but from my watching of his tape when scouting Grier, Sills is another big-bodied, contested catch receiver at the boundary with enough explosion to consistently win man-coverage matchups, and is solid jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none route runner.

The converted QB prospect has developed very well playing receiver at West Virginia, and if he can show out in the underneath and intermediate game in Mobile – I have no doubt he will win at the boundary and redzone – he will immediately put himself near the top of this WR class, and become a prospect the Jaguars should seriously consider drafting.

Deebo Samuel, South Carolina, 6-0, 210 (South)

Deebo Samuel isn’t like the receivers listed above, as he possesses only modest frame at 6-0, 210, and isn’t too explosive vertically to win contested matchups or provide a favorable one-on-one redzone matchup. But, he’s as polished a route runner as you can get and sizable enough to play both inside and out.

He’s had some injury issues in the past, including a fractured fubula that derailed his 2017 season as well as a previous hamstring injury, but he rebounded nicely in 2018 with career highs in receptions (62), yards (882) and touchdowns (11). Plus, he has flashed the ability to return kicks and punts as well as run the ball, scoring six rushing touchdowns on 12 attempts in 2016.

If the Jaguars want to add another true possession, quick receiver to pair with Dede Westbrook is Marqise Lee can’t return to full strength, Deebo Samuel is their guy at the Senior Bowl. Just, it’d be hard to envision them adding yet another possession receiver with a bigger need at X-receiver.

Tight ends

Tommy Sweeney, Boston College, 6-5, 260 (North)

A favorite tight end prospect of mine when it comes to scheme fit this year, Sweeney provides very technical blocking experience from BC’s power-blocking run scheme. That’s an automatic box-check for the Jaguars.

Despite average-at-best athleticism, Sweeney is a solid route runner in space and possesses great hands as a receiver. When scouting OL Chris Lindstrom (see later), Sweeney popped off separating well on a corner route and making a big-time adjustment to a throw at the front corner of the endzone and hauling it in for six points.

Sweeney doesn’t provide the athleticism or high ceiling as a route runner to put himself at the top of this class with the dynamic, dual-threat athletes at tight end, but he’s a prospect who fits the mold of tight end the Jaguars like in their offense as both a blocker and a sure-handed receiver who can win in the middle of the field and in the endzone.

Foster Moreau, LSU, 6-6, 256 (South)

As stated abvove, you know how the Jaguars love them some blocking tight ends… will they look to draft an LSU for the third year in a row (and second Senior Bowl!) in this one?

Moreau is a limited athlete who is mainly used in short field passing situations. However, his large frame is intriguing to develop as a redzone threat. In the passing game, that’s the bread-n-butter of a Jaguars tight end, and let’s not forget his blocking ability. TDN’s report states he was used in different spots in the LSU offense as a blocker, so it’s safe to assume Moreau could flex between tight end and full back as a lead blocker in Jacksonville.

Offensive line

Chris Lindstrom, Boston College, 6-4, 310 (North)

A true power-scheme, mauling right guard who’s strength is down (run) blocking… there’s simply no way that Chris Lindstrom isn’t on the Jaguars draft board.

After the Senior Bowl, Lindstrom will have a scouting report published on Locked On Jaguars, but after two full games of watching Lindstrom’s film, I can confidently say Lindstrom should be the Jaguars second round pick so long as he’s still on the board. He has fluid, chopping feet that he utilizes to drive defenders in the run game, to pair with fair athleticism to mirror rushers in pass blocking.

Durability is going to be extremely important to the Jaguars when scouting offensive linemen after a 2018 season that saw two 4th stringers starting at the tackle positions by Week 17. So, here’s a stat: Lindstrom started 51 straight games along the Boston College offensive line dating back to his freshman season, mainly at right guard but also a little bit at right tackle.

Dalton Risner, Kansas State, 6-5, 308 (North)

Risner, who has started three straight seasons for Kansas State on the right side, offers versatility as a right tackle or right guard, while he has more experience with the former his length could move him inside.

I’ve watched only a modest amount of his film, and while I loved the power in his game it’s best to defer to the opinion of my friend Jon Ledyard of TDN, who did a full report on Risner recently. Ledyard notes Risner has elite mental processing and is a true mauler in the run game, with great mirroring inside as a pass protector but some footwork issues to clean up in one-on-one’s vs. speed rushers. However, his drive blocking and power to win matchups are “top notch”, and that type of ability is what Jacksonville could utilize in a replacement for either A.J. Cann at right guard should Risner move inside, or as the heir to Jermey Parnell at right tackle. Ledyard considers Risner to be a “top-60 lock” for the NFL Draft.

Michael Deiter, Wisconsin, 6-6, 310 (North)

More athletic rather than powerful makes Deiter a bit scheme-universal, but would likely fit better in a zone-blocking offense. However, his versatility is fantastic: He’s started and played well at left tackle (14), left guard (24), and center (16) during his 54 straight starts at Wisconsin.

The Jaguars could utilize such versatility for depth purposes alone, once again noting how injuries destroyed the team’s OL in 2018. But Deiter has great frame who has shown he can adapt to different positions along the OL relatively easily. If Jacksonville wants more athleticism at right guard and/or tackle, Deiter could be a sleeper pick for the squad.

Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin, 6-6, 315 (North)

Yet another North team offensive line prospect (as well as another from Wisconsin) to keep an eye on, and Chris Thornton’s personal favorite, Benzschawel is a true power-scheme right guard who isn’t overly flexible or athletic but plays with immense power.

He has room to grow in pass protection, much due to his lack of dynamic athletic ability, but he is worthy of consideration as a project-player who could spot start at guard and develop into a starter over time. He’d be a consolation prize if the Jaguars cannot land one of the three linemen listed above.

Dru Samia, Oklahoma, 6-5, 303 (South)

Hey, a South team offensive lineman!

While the South team has some decent OL prospects, they don’t compare to the North squad and not too many seem to fit what Jacksonville tends to look for in their offensive linemen. Samia is a bit underweight compared to their standard – he was listed at 297 lbs to start the 2018 season – but he too is a nasty blocker and has great technique when pass blocking. He mirrors extremely well and rarely will you see him lose one-on-one’s – even vs. power, which is surprising when you consider his weight. That’s pure strength combined with technique.

His weight will scare some teams away when you factor in his competition in the Big 12 for his down (run) blocking, and scouts will undoubtedly watch him specifically on run calls during scrimmages in Mobile. If he stands out there, he should be the South team OL-man the Jaguars keep an eye on.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Texans preview: Keys to success, matchups to watch

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 29, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) works out during warmups before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars look to rebound in a major way this Sunday against the Houston Texans. It all starts with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, II who will start in place of the injured Nick Foles.

Nick Foles is out, and Gardner Minshew is in. The outcome for Sunday’s game against the Texans will likely be determined by the ability of the rookie quarterback. In order to be successful, the team must play better on defense and around Minshew.

Game Time info

  • When: Sunday, September, 15th 1:00 PM  ET
  • Where: NRG Stadium, Houston Texas
  • Watch: CBS47 (click)
  • Listen: Jacksonville 1010XL AM, 92.5FM

Five Keys to Success

  1. Stay healthy
    We put this every week, but I suppose the Jaguars are not listening. The Jaguars will be without at least six players due to various injuries on Sunday including offensive linemen Cam Robinson and Cedric Ogbuehi, cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, tight end Josh Oliver, and wide receiver Marqise Lee. No matter how hard the Jaguars tried to escape it, the injury bug has most definitely caught up.
  2. Stop (limit?) DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller
    Last week, the Jaguars faced probably the best offense in the NFL in the Kansas City Chiefs. This week, they face another daunting challenge with Texans receivers DeAndre Hopkins, and Will Fuller. Fuller is one of five players in the NFL to record 10 receiving touchdowns on 100-or-less targets since 2017.
  3. Protect Minshew at all costs
    The Jaguars absolutely cannot afford another injury at the quarterback position. Last week, the team sent a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for quarterback Josh Dobbs. There is no reason for anyone to want Dobbs to take the field on Sunday. While the Texans got rid of defensive end Jadevon Clowney, they are still a force to be reckoned with along the front seven with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus.
  4. Get after the quarterback
    Last week, the Jaguars were unable to bring down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This week, they will be tasked with bringing down Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson. The good news for the Jaguars defensive line is Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson holds onto the ball (2.73 seconds per pass) much longer than Mahomes (2.42 seconds). The advantage should go to Jacksonville against Houston’s offensive line even without Ngakoue.
  5. Keep it simple
    Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash admitted he might have gotten a little “too cute” when playing the Chiefs explosive offense last week. This week, the defensive play-callers needs to keep it simple and allow his defense to just play their game. The Jaguars gave up seven straight scoring drives to the Chiefs last week.

Key Matchups 

  • Jalen Ramsey vs. DeAndre Hopkins
    This is fun. Every time these two players meet, something happens. Both players will get the best of each other, and Ramsey is likely to follow Hopkins around the field as he did with Hill last week. Hopkins spoke to the media last week and complimented the cornerback, and unsurprisingly, Ramsey did the same.
  • Josh Allen vs. Laremy Tunsil
    With Ngakoue out, Allen will be the Jaguars number one pass rusher going up against Houston Texans’ offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Allen was highly complimentary of Tunsil last week and is looking forward to playing much better this week than he did in week one.
  • Jaguars receivers vs. Texans defensive backs
    Lee being out for Sunday’s matchup is inconsequential. The Jaguars top three receivers, Chris Conley, D.J. Chark, and Dede Westbrook are good to go. Chark put on a show last week against the Chiefs after hauling in four passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. The Texans secondary is suspect at best and should be a terrific matchup to watch on Sunday.
  • Jaguars secondary vs. Texans’ receivers
    The Jaguar secondary last week was, for lack of a better word, awful. Giving up 378 passing yards will not get it done. The Jaguars ranked second in pass defense last year, and currently rank 29th after their week one loss. Something’s gotta give this week against the Texans and the Jaguars will see — even without Bouye — how they will move forward on defense.

Players to watch

Gardner Minshew — Minshew Mania ran rampant in Jacksonville this week, off of a loss. If the mustache wearing, jorts sporting, rockstar from Mississippi can lead the Jaguars to victory there may be a parade. Absolutely the key player of the week, and the number one player to watch against the Texans on Sunday. Minshew will need to stay within himself and lead the Jaguars offense to scoring drives early and often. His old ball coach believes in him, do you?

Tre Herndon — Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon needs to be ready against the Texans on Sunday. Going up against DeAndre Hopkins and/or Will Fuller is no easy task. Herndon said after practice on Friday that his preparation for Sunday’s game has not changed and he has leaned on Bouye for how he should cover Fuller and Hopkins. Both receivers present different, but equally effective difficulties.

Leonard Fournette — Fournette was off to a rather stellar game against the Chiefs last week before the Jaguars defense put them in a hole forcing the team to turn to the passing game. If the Jaguars can remain balanced on Sunday, Fournette should be in for another solid game, adding onto his 5.3 yards-per-carry average for the season.

Marcell Dareus — Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus missed last week’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs due to an elbow injury. Now that he’s back, the 331-pound defensive tackle should provide a force in the middle of the field, eating up blockers and allowing the linebackers to move more freely to the ball carrier. It will be important to keep a close eye on him as the game moves forward to see how healthy he truly is.

Official game prediction: Jaguars 10, Texans 24

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars officially rule out Bouye, Lee against Texans

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) warms up prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have officially ruled out cornerback A.J. Bouye and receiver Marqise Lee for Sunday’s matchup against the Houston Texans.

After being listed as questionable following Friday’s practice both A.J. Bouye (hip) and Marqise Lee (knee) have been ruled out for the Jaguars match against the Houston Texans tomorrow.

Lee came into the week after playing in his first regular-season game since December 2017 with progress on his surgically repaired knee. After being limited in practice on Thursday for “precautionary reasons”, Lee did not participate on Friday.

Coming into this season there were legitimate questions whether or not Lee would be ready for week one. There are not legitimate concerns on whether the receiver has suffered a setback on his knee or if this was in the plans all along. The latter seems unlikely.

Receivers Keelan Cole and C.J. Board will step up in place of Lee on Sunday.

Bouye battled through a hip injury all week and was limited in both Thursday and Friday’s practices for the team. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone all but ruled him out after being asked about the chances of the cornerback playing on Sunday during his post-practice press conference yesterday stating, “I’d probably think, probably doubtful. We’ll be ready to go. We’re planning on him probably not playing. I’m sure he’s going to give it everything he has to be healthy.”

With Bouye out, second-year cornerback Tre Herndon will likely start in his place with D.J. Hayden remaining in the slot. Herndon spoke about the prospect of him playing a bigger role on Sunday shortly after practice concluded on Friday.

“In the position that I’m in, being that fourth corner, that’s kinda my card. Anyone get down, get tired, [I] gotta be able to step in and cut no slack. That’s my mindset, treating it like another game. Blessed with the opportunity and try to make the most out of it.”

Herndon will need to be on his A-game during Sunday’s matchup as he is likely to be covering Will Fuller or DeAndre Hopkins. Both players pose a significant threat to the Jaguars secondary.

The Jaguars have now ruled out six players for Sunday’s matchup including Bouye, Lee, tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring), offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring), defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring), and left tackle Cam Robinson (coaches decision).

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Interview

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen is just getting started

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41) looks on during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Selecting defensive end Josh Allen at seventh overall was — by many observers — a complete steal by the Jaguars. Now, the young pass rusher is honing his craft to become one of the best in the league.

Throughout the offseason, preseason, and now shortly into the regular season, Jaguars fans and the Jaguars coaching staff have seen the type of versatility, pass rush, and skill set  Josh Allen can provide to the team.

Whether it’s playing linebacker, defensive end, or defensive tackle, Allen can do it all. Coming into the 2019 NFL Draft, Allen was thought of as more of a 3-4 outside linebacker. However, in just a few months the now-275-pound athlete is proving otherwise.

“The most I can do man is the better I can be,” Allen told Locked on Jaguars shortly after practice this week when asked about his versatility. “It means I can be out there on the field more, doing more things. I love being a versatile player, I love being able to do a lot of different things so I can stay on that field as much as I can and make plays for my team.”

The Jaguars rookie played 75% of the team’s defensive snaps last week (51/68 plays) while seeing action at three separate positions — defensive end, defensive tackle, and outside linebacker. Allen has also shown he can defend the pass, especially in the flats as seen during the team’s third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.

The fiery pass-rusher dons the number 41, a number in which he himself admits is unconventional, and while at first, he did not care for it, it eventually grew on him.

“My freshman year I thought it was my locker number,” Allen said while laughing. “I wasn’t happy when I got it. I was trying to change it, to be real. You know they told me I couldn’t and it just stuck with me and I just kept wearing it.”

Typically a player’s number has some sort of significance to it, but that is not the case for Allen. What is significant to him, however, is his son. The absolute reason why he suits up and plays with the intensity that he does on the gridiron. While Allen wants to be the best player, his son has always, and will always come first.

“You know I got in this game to give my family a better opportunity at life, and now that I’m here man, it’s just my main focus is to provide for my family and provide for myself.”

While at Kentucky, Allen nearly entered the draft as a junior, but once his son was born he had a different perspective on life, and on football. As a junior, Allen posted seven sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss. Respectable numbers which likely would slot him in the first to the third-round range. Allen took it as a challenge and flourished.

During his senior year, Allen posted record-setting numbers with 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles-for-loss which — for a Kentucky defensive player — is unheard of. To that end, Allen quickly climbed draft boards, many slotting him in as a top-three pick.

Now in the NFL, Allen is striving for even more. “Of course I want to be the best,” Allen said. “I got a little bit on my shoulders, but I’m willing to go a long mile with that.”

The defensive end will have a lot on his shoulders this Sunday. With his partner-in-crime Yannick Ngakoue out with a hamstring issue, many assume Allen will need to pick up the slack left by the pro bowler’s absence, but that is not his mentality at all. Instead, Allen looks at it in a rather selfless, team-oriented perspective.

“It is what it is,” Allen said when asked about Ngakoue being out on Sunday and him playing a little more. “I pray he gets better. That’s main priority number one, is for him to get healthy. It’s not about me playing more or him not being here. It’s about him being healthy and us playing 100% on the defense.”

Allen has been about the team more than himself since college, illustrating that with his desire to suit up in a bowl game he didn’t necessarily have to play in. Now in Jacksonville, that perspective has not changed. Similar to his role on Sunday.

“My role hasn’t changed any,” Allen said. “I played when he was in the game, played when he (Ngakoue) wasn’t in the game. It’s not gonna be a big change for me, but I just pray he gets better so we can be a complete unit.”

While Allen’s role may not change for Sunday, not having Ngakoue will most definitely affect the Jaguars chances of winning. Ngakoue has yet to miss a game during his four-year career, and has been the most productive edge rusher on the team during that span, along with defensive end Calais Campbell.

Allen didn’t grow up a football player, and instead played basketball the majority of his life. Once he put the football pads on, however, Allen says he started studying all kinds of pass rushers. Allen would go on to list them off. (Bears defensive end) Khalil Mack, (Broncos outside linebacker) Von Miller, (Former Broncos outside linebacker) DeMarcus Ware, (Colts defensive end) Justin Houston. Some of the best defensive ends, and football players of the past decade. “I feel like I can do the stuff they do,” Allen quipped.

Allen has drawn comparisons to Mack and Miller throughout the draft process and even now shortly into his professional career. If Allen can “do the stuff they do”, he will have been an absolute steal as many pundits predicted.

For now, Allen will continue to hone his craft and stay under the wings of Campbell and Ngakoue. He has leaned on both players for guidance throughout the offseason, and into the regular season. “Calais has been in the league for a long time, Yan for a little bit of time — he’s one of those primetime players,” Allen said. “Having them in my corner has been a blessing, a big help. Not only is it gonna help me, but they’re gonna help the whole team as well.”

Now, going into his second career game, his next test will be against one of the best offensive tackle’s in the game in Texans offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. “He’s a big guy, he’s real physical on the point of attack,” Allen said when asked what he’s seen out of Tunsil on tape. “It makes a lot of big plays. He’s [a] real athletic tackle — that doesn’t discredit anything — so we’re still gonna have to put the pressure on him and get to the quarterback.”

It’s clear former Wildcat thinks highly of himself. Last week, Allen was credited with having three pressures and one quarterback hit according to Pro Football Focus — the most amount of overall pressures on the team. Yet, the defensive end described his play as just “alright”, when asked about it.

“I know I can work on some things to get better and plan to do those this week.”

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