One of the best, if not the best position group, on the Jaguars’ roster is the defensive line, and the defensive end portion of the defensive line is a formidable group. The only key addition to the defensive end position this off season has been Taven Bryan, drafted in the first round (29th overall).
The Jaguars use a “big end” for their strong side defensive end position and then a smaller weak-side defensive end on the opposite side of the line. The group accounted for 36 of the team’s 55 sacks last season.
Projected defensive end depth chart
*Note: Italics = starter, Underline = Acquired in 2018 FA/Draft
DE: Calais Campbell¸ Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler, Taven Bryan, Dawuane Smoot, Lerentee McCray
While there are starter/backup designations for the defensive end position, the Jaguars generally implement a heavy rotation to keep each player fresh, therefore it is important for the group to be talented enough to play without much drop off from the starting corps.
Taven Bryan is the Jaguars newest edition along the DL. While he played 3-tech defensive tackle in the Gators 4-3 defense throughout college, he appears to be on track to play the Jaguars 5-tech – big end – position in base downs, before going inside on pass rush (3rd) downs. While many Jaguars fans suspected Bryan to be the eventual replacement for Malik Jackson, it is more likely to replace Calais Campbell in the future, as he’s set to turn 32 this season.
Campbell was one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL last year, accounting for 14.5 sacks which led the Jaguars and was good for third best in the NFL in 2017. For the 2018 season look for the Jaguars to continue their heavy rotation with a good amount of Campbell, Bryan and Smoot at the 5-tech position.
Yannick Ngakoue is easily the Jaguars most promising defensive linemen as far as future projections are concerned. He accounted for 12 sacks and six forced fumbles in 16 games last year. Ngakoue will continue to start at the weak-side defensive end position and is already one of the best pass rushers in the league, with only two seasons under his belt.
Ngakoue’s backup, Dante Fowler Jr., will continue in that role entering the 2018 season. Entering his contract year Fowler looks to capitalize on his career year at eight sacks and two forced fumbles. The Jaguars decided to decline Fowler’s 5th year option, so this will be his last opportunity to prove his worth as the 3rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
The remaining of the Jaguars defensive ends such as Smoot and McCray will primarily be back ups as well as special teams players, however because of the Jaguars rotation heavy scheme, they will still have opportunities. McCray accounted for 1.5 sacks last year, and Smoot is looking forward to collecting his first career sack this season.
Check out the rest of the Locked On Jaguars position group breakdowns below:
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Jaguars 2018 Position Group Breakdown: Wide Receiver
Jacksonville Jaguars2 weeks ago
Jaguars 2018 Position Group Breakdown: Quarterback
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Jaguars LB Donald Payne taking advantage of Myles Jack’s limited role at OTAs
Jacksonville Jaguars3 days ago
Jaguars’ Defenders Compared to Classic Hit Songs