The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line in 2016 was one of strength and depth at every position except the most important — primary pass rusher.
Dante Fowler, Jr. had a disappointing "rookie" season and while Yannick Ngakoue surpassed any expectation we had for him coming into the preseason with eight sacks, he’s perfect as a complementary player to an elite guy. Ngakoue shouldn’t be carrying your edge rush, but he certainly did last year.
Sen’Derrick Marks could very well be gone next year. The other players in his 3-tech position are just flourishing — Sheldon Day showed flashes, Tom Coughlin could very well go with Johnathan Allen with the No. 4 overall pick, and Malik Jackson was a home run of a signing. He was disruptive in the backfield in both the run game and the pass rush and he fed sacks to a lot of other players.
I think Abry Jones is back next year. He filled in really, really well in Roy Miller’s absence and I think he showed that Miller is expendable. Miller is an incredible run-defender, but Jones is a lot more versatile.
This is a good — but not great — unit. They need a guy to be what Fowler was supposed to be and I think Coughlin can find that player in free agency. Jason Pierre-Paul could very well be the signing that puts this line over the top. There are also other pass rushers available in 2017 that could improve this team.
However, the lack of a pass rush is the reason for why this grade looks lower than maybe you think it should be. The lack of a rush was the reason for several losses. Look at the season finale loss against the Indianapolis Colts — we could not pressure Andrew Luck for the life of us and it led to the game-losing drive in the final minute of the game.
Go get an edge rusher, Tom.