As we get closer to the interior of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, we noticed a trend of the team getting more and more talented and as we finish up the defensive side, we hit on arguably their most talented position. The Jaguars are going to end up cutting a good player at the defensive tackle position, and that's a good thing. It's going to be a battle for the final spot, especially with the possibility the team has to juggle roster spots to fit potential edge rushers on the final roster, but unlike defensive end, you can't hide a big hoss as a linebacker on the depth chart.
Returning player(s): Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Richard Ash, Abry Jones, Michael Bennett
New player(s): Sheldon Day, Malik Jackson
Outgoing player(s): N/A
Bubble player(s): Richard Ash, Abry Jones, Michael Bennett
I think the locks to make the Jaguars roster at the defensive tackle position are pretty easy to pick out. I'd go with Marks, Jackson, Miller and the newly drafted Sheldon Day. After that though, it gets a little dicey. There are some that think Sen'Derrick Marks could be on the chopping block because he's dealt with injuries the past two seasons, but unless he totally just bombs training camp and the preseason, I don't think there's much of a chance that happens. He's not that expensive against the cap, the Jaguars don't have any cap issues, and if he can return to 90 percent of what he was in 2014 rotating with Malik Jackson, that's something you definitely want.
The real question is going to be does the team keep a backup to Miller at the nose spot in Abry Jones, or do they further try to develop Michael Bennett, who flashed and disappeared at times last season. I've talked about this before, but I'm not sure I've written about it, but I'd lean towards the Jaguars going lighter on the defensive line if the choice came down to an extra nose or an extra undertackle. If you've kept up with the Seattle Seahawks roster trends (aren't we all?), with a similar defensive front they've evolved to overall being lighter and more athletic on the defensive line. They still carry a big boy for the nose position, but overall elsewhere they've gone much lighter and aimed to be more disruptive than stout.
This is why I think I'm going to lean on the team keeping Michael Bennett on the roster, because I think he can develop into that rotational role with Sheldon Day that Marks is going to be this season, which could potentially be his final season with the team. I wouldn't be surprised if he stuck around, but just looking at how rosters evolve it would lead me to think outside of a great season, it could be the end of his cycle. While Jones can play nose and dabble at the 3-technique spot on the defensive line, he's not really a pass rusher and is more of a run stopper. Stopping the run has been something the Jaguars do well, but they're going to want to rush the passer in waves on the defensive line and Jones doesn't really give you much with that.
If it's Bennett or Jones or hell, even Ash, the Jaguars are going to end up cutting a good player at the defensive tackle position.