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Who takes Dante Fowler’s place in the Jaguars defense?

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NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars moved on from former third overall pick Dante Fowler, Jr., trading him to the Los Angeles Rams. Fowler was a disappointment in so that he was the third overall pick and didn’t look like he’d ever end up that consistent pass rusher they envisioned, but he always played hard and tried his best, and I say that with all sincerity.

Going forward for the now, the question is how do the Jaguars replace the snaps that Fowler was playing in the defense, most notably on obvious passing downs?

Some would think Dawuane Smoot, the 2017 third round pick who has been a healthy scratch all season, but he’s more of the strongside end variety. It’s likely going to be who replaced Fowler during his one game suspension, special teams captain Larentee McCray.

McCray played quite a few snaps in Week 1 against the New York Giants and actually had a really good game. McCray played 35 snaps on defense Week 1 and had multiple pressures on the quarterback and a sack. Since Fowler returned however, McCray has only played 34 (4.9 per game) in total in the following seven games.

At 28 years old, I don’t know that McCray is going to have some kind of career renaissance as a pass rusher filling in the final eight games of the 2018 regular season, but in his short spurts of playing time he’s shown some ability to put pressure on the quarterback, so it’s possible he could mitigate the loss of snaps from Fowler.