After missing out on Bruce Irvin, Oliver Vernon, Robert Ayers, and others in free agency, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a little desperate for some more bodies at the coveted LEO position. The kind of desperate where they are considering moving Dan Skuta to LEO. The kind of desperate where their second-best LEO on the roster is currently a player who they have not only not let play often but have played him exclusively inside on third downs, in Ryan Davis.
Now, I'm a big Ryan Davis fan and think he could succeed as a full-time edge rusher if the team gives him some support, but they have yet to show any kind of support in him yet so it is a reach to "expect" them to.
They are the kind of desperate that makes it a real scenario where they spend their first round pick on a defensive end for a second year in a row. And if not that, then it is unlikely they wouldn't pick an end with their second-round pick. Whew.
So, which defensive ends make the most sense at the top of the draft?
We wrote about Joey Bosa here, but the reasoning behind this is pretty clear. At the very worst, he is a safe pick for a LEO.
And he is a LEO in this scheme, by the way. He weighed in at 269 at the combine and there is no position he can really play full time other than 4-3 defensive end.
If Bosa was in the fold with Jacksonville, they could truly move Fowler around like they've talked about wanting to. Bosa would be the only other LEO on the roster who could hold down the edge spot full time on both run and pass downs and this would give them more flexibility with their personnel.
Lawson being a possibility with the No. 5 overall pick make may seem wild right now, but expect the train of thought to pick up some steam by draft night.
Lawson is the best true 4-3 defensive end in the draft after Bosa and if Bosa is selected before the Jaguars can pick, then Lawson makes a ton of sense.
He would be able to give the Jaguars the kind of flexibility that Bosa would because he is as quality a run defender as he is a pass rusher. He is also the only true #ForcePlayer in the 2016 draft, which is a huge deal.
Spence has had a wild draft ride so far. He went from having a tremendous final college season to starring at the Senior Bowl, to being the NFL Combine's biggest disappointment. I am still a big fan of Spence but it seems more and more unlikely each day that any team would even give a thought to him in the top-five.
With that said, if the Jaguars were able to trade down then Spence could become a priority target. He wouldn't give them an every down LEO like Bosa or Lawson but he would add much more of a speed rusher element.
Calhoun is a player that I am really high on after the first round. If the Jaguars want to feature Fowler at LEO on every down and just invest in people to rotate across from him on third downs, Calhoun should be near the top of the list on Day 2. He has a great skill set for a pass rush specialist 4-3 defensive end and this would really be an ideal fit for both Calhoun and the Jaguars.
Dodd is getting a ton of hype right now and some people think he could go before his teammate Shaq Lawson. That is... a bit much.
In this class, Dodd is a fine second-tier edge rusher who should be picked after the first wave of Bosa, Lawson, and Spence. If the Jaguars opt out of the original three, Dodd would be the next best thing in terms of ability to play LEO on an every down basis.