We’re going to keep powering through these even if it takes us all the way to training camp, but now we’re going to move on to the linebacker position. It’s pretty easy to look at the starting three for the Jaguars and there’s not much discussion to be had there, the real interesting thing on the linebackers is what’s behind the front line.
What do the Jaguars have?
The top three are easy in Myles Jack, Telvin Smith and Paul Posluszny. After those guys you have a guy like Hayes Pullard III who has been here a while and kind of cemented himself as the “fourth linebacker” playing all over the place, as well as contributing on special teams. Then you have newcomers signed in free agency Audie Cole and Josh McNary, both of which scream depth signings with an eye to bolstering special teams.
Then you add in some guys like Carroll Phillips and Lerentee McCray, who can kind of bounce back and forth from linebacker to hand in the dirt pass rusher. McCray is listed at linebacker in some places and as a defensive end on the Jaguars official website. I’m sure he, and Carroll who is a similar type of player, will figure out their roles once the pads come on.
Then add in rookies Blair Brown, who most regarded as a steal, local guy Justin Horton and PJ Davis all looking to at the very least make an impact on special teams.
How much are the Jaguars spending?
The Jaguars are about middle of the pack in spending a the linebacker position, which quite honestly is a surprise considering a large chunk of the players are on rookie deals. It’s anchored by Paul Posluszny’s deal, which while restructured, is still pretty hefty.
What is the linebacker lineup?
The Jaguars starting lineup shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. On base downs with three linebackers you’ll have Telvin Smith at WILL, Myles Jack at MIKE and Paul Posluszny at SAM. On third downs it’s likely you’ll have Smith and Jack on the field for pass coverage, as most people wanted last season.
The real question is going to be who are the primary backups at the positions. I think someone like Audie Cole or Carroll Phillips fill in as the backup SAM linebackers with Hayes Pullard III or Blair Brown being the backup WILL. Both of those players could potentially also fill in in the MIKE role. I think the Jaguars depth at the linebacker position is underrated by most, because they’ve had the same stalwarts at the position for the past few seasons. But, a guy like Pullard has filled in at times and made plays while also being a contributor on special teams. The team has kind of under-the-radar bulked up their linebacker group as a whole the past few seasons.