The Jaguars are gonna need a fairly balanced pass rush and coverage in order to be successful against the pass. The secondary hasn't been solved yet, but it has been addressed. The LEO position is the one primary rushing unit. And it doesn't look good. Andre Branch is awful and Jason Babin is only decent, not to mention the age factor. Pass rushers will only be used on a 3rd down basis and the guys in the LEO need to get the job done for the 2 downs prior. The Jags could go for a 4-3, 3-4 type defense with fast pass rushing linebackers to run it at the LEO. The Jags are gonna want to stack their team with as many pass rushers as they can. The Seahawks took the offseason to grab Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, to an already stellar pass rush with Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin. So I have taken the liberty of looking at the possible free agent pass rushers for the upcoming 2014 offseason, but mostly the Seahawks.
Seattle Defensive Ends/Linebackers/Pass-Rushers/Leo/You Name it:
Michael Bennett: As known Seattle has a slew of defensive ends. Michael Bennett certainly doesn't fall short on that list. The Seattle hybrid DE/DT is a stud and he's playing like one with a torn rotator cuff. Bennett is extremely versatile. Effective against the pass and the rush, he can play anywhere on the defensive line. There is probably a better fit at the LEO then him but he can definitively fit in there. He's in Seattle for a 1 year, 5 million dollar deal. He'll likely be in line for more money, and it looks like Seattle would like to keep him in their plans.
Chris Clemons: The 6"3, 255 lb LEO is the perfect definition of the position. The 31 year old is also the definition of consistency, finishing with 33.5 sacks in the past 3 years. The Seahawks traded Darryl Tapp for Clemons and a 4th round pick. He immediately became the starting LEO and exceeded his career best season high sack total of 8. Clemons is a stellar athlete who excels in the LEO position. Even with all of the depth at the LEO position (Irvin, Avril, Schofield) it is possible that the Seahawks will hold onto him despite that. However, at 31 years old and coming off a ACL tear they may let him go. Clemons has made a speedy recovery and already has 3.5 sacks on the season. If Clemons hits the market, it's very likely that Jacksonville will pick him up.
Benson Mayowa: More of a waiver wire type move but Seattle coaches were raving about him coming out of training camp. Seattle is stacked at DE so it could be likely he gets waived. Mayowa provides good size at 6"3 252 lbs. The UDFA is a fast, smart player that comes from a small school in Idaho. With the Seahawks now looking to activate Percy Harvin from the PUP, keep an eye out.
O'Brien Schofield: My ever-raging hard-on for Seahawk players continues. Schofield is a very quick player who can play 3-4 OLB and LEO (basically same thing). Seattle has so much depth that there's no room for everyone to get playing time. Schofield is a good athlete, but small at 6"3, 242 lbs offers little against the rush. In my eyes he's more of a situational pass rusher, but could play as in every down guy in Jacksonville. In 3 year prior years Schofield had only contributed 10.5 sacks, but still displays good pass rush ability. Currently, he's only making the veteran's minimum.
Non Seattle Pass-Rushers:
Michael Johnson: Johnson is a terrific pass rusher and is a menacing presence. At 6'7 270 the dude can play all over the line and has great physical ability. Johnson got hit with the franchise tag (11.175 million) this offseason and it's not likely that'll be kept. Johnson is still young at 26 years old. He provides good technique and always gets his hands up on the play. Covers a lot of ground for a D-Lineman and is very quick. Johnson plays very well against the rush. An incredibly dynamic player that will be looking for a lot of money this upcoming offseason.
Greg Hardy: As you may have heard, Hardy is a very confident player. Setting a goal of 50 sacks, doubling the current NFL record. The 25 year old Hardy is a tenacious pass rusher with above average and strength. He can hold his own against the run and play all over the line. Not necessarily a perfect LEO pass rusher but he could perform well in the spot. Hardy does a great job at collapsing the pocket and has very good technique. He is very explosive and quick for his size, but I would say it's a long shot that the Jaguars spend there money on him this offseason.
Justin Tuck: Durability has been an issue for Tuck these past few years, and has his numbers have taken a hit due to that. At 6"5, 268 lbs, the 30 year old New York defensive end still possesses superb athleticism. Explosive pass rusher that also displays the ability to defend the run. Tuck is fast off the edge and maintains low leverage. Has excellent balance, tough to knock off his feet and beats blocks on his way to the quarterback. Gains a lot of momentum running up-field. Last year of his contract, unlikely to be kept.
Look for more waiver wire pickups during the season. There are many surprising players that could be asked to fill the LEO role.