As the dust settles from a rather explosive draft and subsequent first-round injury fallout, I think it’s finally appropriate to unearth a portion of the debris and dig into one of the more significant offseason acquisitions.
Jared Odrick comes to Jacksonville after playing in the last 64 games for the Miami Dolphins. Odrick became a full time starter in 2014, shifting around the interior D-line for the majority of his snaps. Basic two-gap responsibilities seemed to be the biggest restraint to fall on top of Odrick, barring him from many pure pass rush obligations. It was predominantly this reason, along with a few others, that Odrick didn’t carry impressive sack totals with him to Duval. However, it’s not Jared's QB hit count that hoists his contract.
With each new addition through the draft and free agency swelling the impressive depth within the Jags’ D-line, the entire situation might seem to be growing more indistinct. I actually think that adding a guy like Odrick makes the overall DL scenario a lot sharper. A while back, Alfie wrote about the positional expectations for Odrick. Red Bryant held the role of 5-tech run stuffer last season for the Jags, and Odrick will most likely look to settle into a 5T position and plug the hole absent from Bryant’s release this offseason. Odrick, however, should be able to bring a few things to the position that Big Red wasn’t athletically capable of last season.
Jaguars DL coach Todd Walsh thinks Odrick will flourish in the Jags' "big end" spot. Odrick shares a lot of the same "run stuffer" praise that Red Bryant enjoyed last season. In addition to being a stout run defender, Odrick has the flexibility and agility to pass rush – something he didn’t receive many opportunities to do in Miami. Still, on tape, Odrick’s stalwart instincts continue to impress me the most. This season, the Jags’ rotational scheme should allow Odrick more opportunities to get after the passer, as well as employ these rugged instincts against the run.
The first play that I have dug up brings these instincts to light. This isn't meant to be a example that places Odrick above any other player on the wow-scale, as there isn't anything more to this sequence than patience and discipline. Instead, I'm leading off with this instance to demonstrate that sometimes patience and discipline are the most essential qualities to employ when stuffing the run.
Odrick, circled in red above, is lined up as a 3-tech. His responsibility isn't necessarily to oversee two gaps here, although he plays his inside position well enough to do so.
The fullback, circled in yellow, dives into the A gap first. Odrick has positioned himself under the guard, awaiting the RB's (circled in orange) route.
Unsurprisingly, the RB hits the hole behind his FB. Odrick times his release perfectly, and plugs the A gap.
The bridge is closed. Odrick mops up the run play - no gain.
It's worth reiterating at this point that Odrick will see a lot of his snaps from a 5T "big end" position. However, Dave Caldwell has mentioned on more than one occasion that Odrick should see snaps at multiple positions due to his pure versatility. On tape, it's easy to see why Odrick is viewed as a perfect big end prospect. It's even easier to see how this versatility lends itself to Odrick's imposing ability to get after the RB and the passer.
Below, Odrick lines up with his inside shoulder to the outside shoulder of the guard. 3T again.
The ball is going to RB Fred Jackson, and Odrick is going to spend very little time decrypting the run play.
Odrick employs a beautiful swim move, sweeping over the guard to meet Jackson face-to-face.
Odrick leaves the guard, now watching a different game, in the dust. Saving a TD, Odrick covers Fred Jackson like a tarp.
In another example below, Odrick shows off a bit of his seldom-utilized pass rush against the Jags.
Here, Odrick is positioned head-up over Zane Beadles.
At the snap, Bowanko turns to help contain Odrick with the double-team. Odrick steps to the outside.
At this point, D-Rob leaks out and Beadles finishes passing off Odrick to Bowanko. Odrick quickly employs a spin move to turn back inside and get after Bortles.
Odrick charges into Bortles' face while Joeckel gets beat around the edge. Not a sack, but enough QB pressure to force a bad decision.
It will be interesting to see how much success Odrick can find rushing the passer this season. Odrick began his career in 2010 as an outside guy, seeing more opportunities to pin his ears back. As Miami underwent their continual defensive revolution, Odrick got pushed inside over time.
Make no mistake - Odrick holds on to a variety of traits that will allow him to be a potent presence wherever he lines up. Inside, Odrick has the ability to two-gap while remaining poised and in position, as well as the ability to muscle his way between gaps. Outside, Odrick will have a chance add QB pressure off the edge, as well as dig deeper into a position of authority in the run game. Below is another conventional instance of Odrick remaining in position and governing the play - something he'll undoubtably earn his contract doing in Jacksonville.
Odrick lines up once more as a 3-technique, this time matched up with T.J. Lang.
Odrick fights to get inside, but quickly picks up the play-action in the backfield.
Odrick recognizes the quick QB drop that results from play-action, and retreats from his initial rush.
Odrick's instinctual judgement as well as his resulting position allow him to get his hands up and swat the pass. It is these instincts and play-making ability that should help Odrick flourish in his big end position.
On paper, Red Bryant seemed to be the prototypical run stuffer for a Gus Bradley defense. Bryant maintained his authority by employing his size and flexibility.
Red's release and Odrick's implementation point towards a looser direction, one that applies speed over size and versatility over stability. As the Jaguars have continued to bolster the strongest component of their team through the draft and free agency, they have fortified this idea.
The Jaguars rotational scheme will forever be... well, rotating. Letting Odrick settle into a 5T position while still occasionally allowing him to operate from a 3T spot seems to be the best way harness his pure talent over time. Adding Odrick into the mix, not as a replacement but as a renovation, will help this Jaguars defense take another competitive step as a whole.