The Jacksonville Jaguars are fortunate, compared to other NFL franchises this offseason, in that the majority of their impact players are returning under contract. So, I figured we would go position by position and look ahead to the 2018 season and go over who the Jaguars have, where they could upgrade and how much they’re spending at these various positions (2018 cap hits).
Let’s pick up where we left off on the defensive side of the ball and take a look at the defensive line as a whole.
The Jaguars boast one of the best starting defensive lines in the entire NFL. From left to right they’ll typically line up with Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus and Yannick Ngakoue. This was a starting group that was able to consistently harass opposing team’s quarterbacks and make disruptive plays in the backfield. Campbell, who was added last season in free agency, might have ended up being the Jaguars’ “Reggie White”, in that he was a top tier player that came to a small franchise and was a vital cog in their turnaround, just like White was for the Green Bay Packers in the early days of NFL free agency.
Opposite Campbell is Ngakoue, who made his first Pro Bowl last season as an alternate and followed up an impressive rookie season with a double-digit sack season and cementing himself as one of the better edge rushers in the NFL. Then you have the disruptive Jackson, who somehow improved off his initial season with the Jaguars in 2016 and the rejuvenated Dareus back for at least one more year.
The real strength in the Jaguars defensive line however lies in it’s depth. The Jaguars backup defensive line could start for a few NFL teams. Lining up left to right they’d be Taven Bryan, Abry Jones, Eli Ankou and Dante Fowler, Jr. That’s not even mentioning last year’s third-round draft pick Dawuane Smoot or Michael Bennett. The Jaguars defensive line comes at you in waves and that’s a big part of their success last year and should be a big part of it once again in 2018.