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2015 Jaguars roster review: Linebackers a bright spot on defense

We're grading every position group on the Jaguars as we head into the offseason. Up next? The linebackers.

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars had, by all accounts, an awful defense in 2015. Their pass rush was nonexistent, their secondary suffered when they didn't have help, and defensive coordinator Bob Babich had no idea how to stop the bleeding.

But in between a lackluster pass rush and a porous secondary was a group of linebackers who (actually) did okay. Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny, Dan Skuta, and the backups who filled in through the year weren't amazing... but they weren't terrible either.

Recap

Telvin was the standout of the group, growing as a run defender in 2015.

But, man alive, the dude just struggles in pass coverage at times. He was a decent pass rusher (hurrying the quarterback eight times and getting three sacks with only 51 rushes, according to Pro Football Focus) but Babich's reticence to do anything aggressive with the linebackers put a ceiling on his disruption.

Posluszny quietly put together another solid season. He was incredibly important to run defense and his absence proved it when he wasn't able to play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's a game we win if Posluszny is in the game. Like Telvin, Posluszny breaks down in pass coverage far too often.

Skuta was hampered by injuries through the season that, while he missed only three games, cut into his development in-season and how creative Babich could get with him leading up to games.

I thought backups Jordan Tripp (starting against the Indianapolis Colts) and Thurston Armbrister provided decent enough band-aids whenever their respective starters were out of the lineup, but it's clear an upgrade must be made this offseason.

Grade: C+

Outlook

There are a lot of places the Jaguars need to invest resources in this offseason, and I'm afraid linebacker may be too far down the list to really upgrade, what with pass rusher, interior defensive linemen, and free safety needing help as well. If there's a big splash, it'll be picking UCLA linebacker Myles Jack with the No. 5 overall pick. Otherwise, it'll be some second-tier guys in free agency.