The Jacksonville Jaguars have mastered the art of trench building.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than 55 sacks from Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Company, it did. The Jaguars selected Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan with the 29th overall pick, and he provides all the potential in the world to help continue Sacksonville’s dominance for years to come.
At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the pick. I knew of Bryan’s ability to rush the passer, and was in awe at the explosion in his game when I observed him at the UF Pro Day:
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) March 28, 2018
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) March 28, 2018
However, I didn’t believe in the idea of drafting someone to play in a limited role early in their career considering the Jaguars are currently in a Super Bowl window. Offensive guard was the ideal pick, in my opinion.
But there is a ton of logic in the Bryan selection. Defensive end Calais Campbell isn’t exactly what you’d call a spring chicken at the age of 31 years old, and he will turn 32 the week before the 2018 NFL season kicks off. On top of that, Campbell, as well as defensive tackles Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus, have outs coming up in their contracts within the next two years. The Jaguars can create cap space by cutting Jackson and Dareus after the 2018 season, and the same can be said about Campbell after the 2019 season.
Considering these factors, looking to the future at the Jaguars strongest position group — defensive line — is always smart. The timing of the Bryan selection gives him the opportunity to grow under the players mentioned above, and eventually take over in their roles.
Let’s take a look at the film to get an idea as to what Bryan offers immediately to the Jaguars pass rush, and where he can grow as he ascends into the future of the Jaguars’ interior pass rush.
- Incredibly explosive athlete. Usually has a full step on his DL counterparts on the snap. Ran a 4.98 40 yard dash, 7.12 3 cone, 4.48 20 yard shuttle, and a 119 inch broad jump.
- Doesn’t struggle to get off blocks. Displays good hand usage and pop on contact.
- High motor that allows him to drive when he creates leverage. Walks offensive linemen yards back into the pocket with ease.
- Crazy chase speed. No loafing. Wants to finish every play.
- Arm bar, push-pull, and rip rush moves are very polished.
The first thing that stands out to me in Bryan’s film is his first step explosion. He isn’t a snap-jumper, and is rather disciplined on timing off of the line of scrimmage. The three other defensive linemen in this clip are barely out of their stances and Bryan has already initiated hand placement on the left guard. The ball is only half way to the quarterback. That’s insane.
His speed to contact gives Bryan leverage on most pass rushing snaps, and when he creates leverage against a block, he has no issue driving linemen back into the pocket and create easy pressure. His disengagement here is clean, but he also possesses a swift push-pull rush move to get off blocks:
Bryan gets his arms extended before you can blink your eyes, and the guard never has the time to set his feet. This is the pure explosion and strength that Bryan brings to the table.
Here’s an example of Bryan’s rip move, on an extended version of the clip used above to examine his first-step explosion. It’s near impossible for linemen to recovery-block Bryan when he beats them with his first step and low pad level, so they try to push him out by his shoulder. I’d assume that’s how he developed his rip, and it’s incredibly effective.
Bryan told me at his pro day that his rip-move is one of his favorite moves, as well as arm-barring:
Bryan doesn’t seem to struggle vs. double teams unless the opposing linemen match his athletic prowess, being able to react to his first step and even out pad level. That isn’t the case in the clip above, as Bryan bulldozes his way between the left tackle and guard to record the sack.
- Despite his polished arm bar, push-pull, and rip moves, Bryan’s pass rush moves arsenal is limited.
- Awareness and recognition is a work in process. Needs to learn to trust what he sees ahead of him.
- Pad level is inconsistent vs. athletic offensive linemen.
The biggest weakness I see in Bryan’s game is his play recognition and awareness of what he needs to do once he explodes through the line.
On the backside of the play, the Florida defensive end has the perfect set up to eliminate the option. Bryan needs to become aware of that and continue his aggression to where the play is going. This run went for 17 yards, when it could have ended in a loss of four yards.
When an offensive lineman is athletic enough to challenge Bryan, he struggles to create leverage due to an inconsistent pad level. This, like his awareness issues, is coachable, and considering the group of pass rushers and that Jaguars DL coach Marion Hobby is pretty good at his job, I trust that Bryan will develop in these areas just fine.
The best way to sum up what Taven Bryan offers is incredible athleticism and explosion for a man of his size (6-5, 291 lbs), with upside to turn into a dominant pass rusher. There are aspects of his game that need to be developed at the next level, but Jacksonville offers him the perfect situation to groom himself into being the next great NFL defensive lineman.
I’d expect Bryan to be a sub-package tackle and end throughout his rookie year, and that his role will grow into full-time starter at either of those positions within the next two years.
Jaguars Release Jamaal Charles, Promote Linebacker DeLuca
The Jacksonville Jaguars have released running back Jamaal Charles after trading for Carlos Hyde and have promoted Linebacker Nick DeLuca. Charles was brought in to be a change of pace back for the Jaguars after placing Corey Grant on season-ending injured reserve.
The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde last week making Charles expendable. Charles accounted for 7 yards on 6 caries for the Jaguars. He also added two catches for seven yards. Running back Leonard Fournette has not been ruled out to play this week either and will travel with the team to London according to Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.
Nick DeLuca is a rookie linebacker from NDSU. He was signed to the practice squad earlier in the season and has now been promoted due to the injury to linebacker Donald Payne. Payne will be out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury.
We have promoted rookie LB @N_DeLuca49 to the 53-man active roster from the practice squad.
To make room on the roster, we released 11th-year RB Jamaal Charles. pic.twitter.com/OmiHd2wtvZ
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 22, 2018
Editorial: The Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin
In electing to stick with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, despite benching him for a poor performance against the Texans and watching his backup Cody Kessler vastly outperform him in the same game, the Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin.
Now sitting at a 3-4 record, on a three game losing streak, and in third place in the AFC South (the Titans own the tiebreaker for second place), it was clearly time for change to get this ship steered in the correct direction. Just seven weeks aggo, this Jaguars team was viewed as a potential Super Bowl contender. Right now, this team is projected to pick in the first half of the 2019 NFL Draft.
And they can’t blame anyone but themselves at this point.
“We can’t do s**t until we stop turning the ball over. Period. That’s just how it is,” head coach Doug Marrone said following the loss to the Texans. “…the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over.”
In three consecutive games, the latest of which he barely played past halftime, Bortles has eight turnovers of his own: Five interceptions and three fumbles.
“I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win,” Marrone stated in a release from the team after Bortles was named the team’s starter going forward.
In a 24 hour period, Marrone has stated that, while turnovers are the Jaguars biggest issue, the player who is responsible for countless amounts of turnovers gives the team the best chance to win football games. That is the message that is being sent to this team, and the Jaguars fan base.
And the team isn’t happy. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was quoted saying “It is no secret what’s going on here right now. Ain’t nobody going to say it because we can’t, but it ain’t no secret what’s going on and it ain’t right right now,” after the loss to the Texans. Given the circumstances, it’s hard to assume this was shade thrown at the quarterback situation.
Ramsey deleted a post of him and Bortles shaking hands on the field from his Instagram this morning.
Defensive tackle Abry Jones put the responsibility of the offenses deficiencies on the defense, quoted saying “We can’t let them [opposing offenses] score at all.”
The Jaguars have chosen to be complacent, and in doing so, this season will continue to plummet. The confidence is low heading into London this week, and the Eagles pass rush should have an easy job forcing Bortles into more poor decisions as this Jaguars team appears to be on track to a 3-5 record at their bye week.
This team was supposed go contend this year. At one point in September, the Jaguars had single digit odds to win the Super Bowl. But that is all in the rearview mirror, as the Jaguars have nailed their own coffin in naming Blake Bortles the starting quarterback of a team that is already beginning to implode.
Jaguars announce Blake Bortles will remain the starting QB
24 hours removed from his first career benching, where he was clearly outplayed by his own backup in a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, Blake Bortles has been named the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in London, per the team.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced in a statement: “I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win.”
This comes under two hours removed from Marrone saying he had made his decision already but planned on addressing the team before releasing that information to the public. Bortles was benched after committing two turnovers against the Texans on Sunday, and Kessler completed 21/30 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his place.
Bortles has committed eight turnovers in the past three weeks.
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