The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive front seven went through a bit of an overhaul this offseason, both in the starting lineup and with the depth. The team added prized free agent Malik Jackson, got back Sen'Derrick Marks and Dante Fowler Jr., as well as bringing in a slew of draft picks to compete. The expectation is that the Jaguars defensive front seven will be much improved for the 2016 NFL season, and it should be, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should expect it to be "good" just yet.
The team also has Telvin Smith entering his third season and a new addition in Myles Jack, who should get plenty of play in passing situations.
The front seven, as Pro Football Focus (PFF) notes however, does have a lot of potential to be really good once they get their feet under them. PFF has been ranking units for teams this offseason and the Jaguars defensive front seven unit didn't show out too well, coming in at No. 20 in the PFF rankings. Here's what they had to say:
Key stat: The Jaguars recorded pressure on only 26.5 percent of passing plays in base defense last year, the lowest rate in the NFL.
So much investment, so many options, so much uncertainty. This defensive front could be one of the league's best, but we have to wait and see how the pieces fit together and what the level of consistency is. The glaring hole is in the pass-rush, where the pressure will be on Malik Jackson (Broncos) and last year's first-round pick, Dante Fowler, to fill the Jags' biggest defensive need. If every player in this group hits their peak, this is a top-10 defensive front. No player exemplifies this better than Telvin Smith who over the second half of last season, was a top-10 linebacker, but struggled in the first half and was all too frequently out of position. The "upside" is undeniable for the Jags, but can they produce on a consistent basis?
That last question is going to be the big question, at least early in the season. We know there is talent there, but can it consistently translate on the field with so many new parts early in the year?