Jaguars Expect Austen Lane To Take A "Major Step Forward" In 2012

JACKSONVILLE FL - DECEMBER 26: Austen Lane #92 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to tackle Rex Grossman #8 of the Washington Redskins during the game at EverBank Field on December 26 2010 in Jacksonville Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

While the Jaguars finished 2011 with 31 sacks, a big improvement from just 14 in 2009, they still finished in a tie for the 26th on the sacks leaderboard in the NFL. That, coupled with the loss of Matt Roth and a slew of injuries at the defensive end position, has led many to list defensive end as the top need for the Jaguars in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Prospects like Quinton Coples, Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram and Whitney Mercilus, among others, have been talked about as potential first round picks to assume the starting defensive end role opposite newly re-signed Jeremy Mincey.

But defensive line coach Joe Cullen told Tania Ganguli that he believes the pass rush will get better regardless of whether there is new talent added in the draft. In particular, he singled out 2010 5th round draft pick, Austen Lane:

"Each and every one of us can get better...Austen Lane going from a sack, sack-and-a-half to getting six, seven sacks. That’s when you improve your sacks. Whether we get someone in the draft or not I fully expect the pass-rush to improve."

Ganguli notes again later in the article that Cullen is "expecting Austen Lane to take a major step forward" as he "sees the third year as the time when many players show what they can do."

Defensive end, perhaps more so than any other position in the NFL, is a position that features many top players take a few seasons to adjust to the speed of the game. Whether that takes one, two or three years, some of the greatest pass rushers in NFL history struggled out of the gates.

DE Breakout Years
1st Year 2nd Year Career
John Randle 1.0 9.5 137.5
Richard Dent 3.0 17.5 137.5
Mario Williams 4.5 14.0 39.5
John Abraham 4.5 13.0 89.5
1st 2 Years 3rd Year Career
Chris Doleman 3.5 11.0 150.5
Rickey Jackson 4.5 12.0 128.0
Sean Jones 9.5 15.5 113.0
Patrick Kerney 5.0 12.0 82.5
1st 3 Years 4th Year Career
Kevin Greene 13.5 16.5 160.0
Leonard Little 5.5 14.5 87.5

Austen Lane has just one sack in two seasons with the Jaguars, although his second season was cut short after a shoulder injury sent him to injured reserve six games into the season.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Big Cat Country

You must be a member of Big Cat Country to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Big Cat Country. You should read them.

Join Big Cat Country

You must be a member of Big Cat Country to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Big Cat Country. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.