With training camp only a few weeks away, the News4Jax sports team is breaking down the Jaguars roster, position by position
JAGUARS POSITION BREAKDOWN
After looking at the Offense we have now are turned our attention to the defense. No position on the Jaguars roster saw more turnover this offseason than the Jaguars defensive line group. Urban Meyer has made his commitment to winning the line of scrimmage clear and has high expectations for the Jaguars defensive linemen. Meyer said “In the NFL, I told our staff I expected to be top 4—There were some good pieces in place, and we attacked it and we’re very excited about that. What did we get? Three? I believe we got three guys in free agency. Oh, four, four defensive linemen. And so that was the places we built. I believe we’re going to be in the top 4 in the league on that defensive line.”
I’m not convinced that the Jaguars have the players in place to be a top 4 defensive line in the NFL but if coach Meyer is right then the Jaguars defensive should see a lot of success this season.
Defensive linemen on the roster
Adam Gotsis, Lerentee McCray, Aaron Patrick, Dawuane Smoot, Jihad Ward, Taven Bryan, Roy Robertson-Harris, Malcom Brown, Doug Costin, Daniel Ekuale, Davon Hamilton, Kenny Randall, Daniel Ross, Jay Tufele
Expected Number on Final Roster: 7
Defensive Line is one of the hardest groups on the roster to really judge. With so many new faces it will be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together. I even have some questions about how some of the returning players will fit into the new defense. Training camp will be the real test but the competition at this spot should be fierce. The biggest name I see getting cut this year is Taven Bryan. I know there will be many Jags fans who are saying finally.
Expected depth chart
Defensive end- Roy Robertson-Harris and Adam Gotsis
Nose Tackle- Malcom Brown and DaVon Hamilton and Jay Tufele
Defensive end- Dawuane Smoot and Doug Costin
A Pair of new faces at the top of the depth chart. Trading for Malcom Brown may not have been the flashiest move the Jaguars made this offseason but I expect it to be one of the most impactful. Brown has been one of the best run defenders over the past few seasons. You probably won’t hear his name called much when the games start but just look in the middle of the line of scrimmage and you should see him clogging things up. The only returning face I have slotted at the top of the depth chart is Smoot but I wouldn’t pay too much attention to that. This defensive line group will be rotated a lot with players moving around to different spots. Smoot should see most of his work in passing situations. When it is a clear passing situation look for Brown to head to the sideline and Robertson-Harris to slide inside. The clear strength of this group will be their versatility there are no superstars but there are many capable bodies.
Possible camp surprise
Smoot has been consistently improved every year throughout his career. At just over 264 pounds he doesn’t seem like a great fit in a 3-4 defense but despite not having a clear fit the Jaguars decided to resign him to a new contract this offseason. Smoot responded by showing up to OTAs and minicamp in great shape. If Smoot can find a way to fit into the new defense and take his game to the next level it could add some much-needed pass rush juice to the Jaguars front 7.