The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is about as “set” as it’s going to be at defensive line, cornerback, and safety.
But what about the linebackers, specifically the SAM linebacker spot?
It’s not a “starting” position but last year’s SAM linebacker — Paul Posluszny — played over 46 percent of the defensive snaps overall in 2017. Part of that was Posluszny’s role as the sometimes base linebacker on run downs. Some of that was because of Telvin’s injuries late in the season. But a typical SAM linebacker should expect somewhere between 30-40 percent of the snaps on defense.
According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, rookie linebacker Leon Jacobs was the starter for Day 1 on Thursday morning.
Jaguars open 11-on-11 drills with 7th-round draft pick Leon Jacobs starting at SAM LB. Surprising because Fournette and Robinson barley sniffed 1st-team reps all of camp last year— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) July 26, 2018
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When speaking to the media during mini camp, head coach Doug Marrone was asked how he saw the linebacker competition. This is what he said about Jacobs:
“I see that we have some versatility ... I think Leon [Jacobs] has come in and done a really good job. I think that he can play the SAM linebacker position. I think from what I have seen from that group is that we have some position flexibility and obviously we have two positions [settled] and that third position, it will be interesting to see who wins that position when we put the pads on — the SAM linebacker position.”
While Blair Brown is still the favorite to take over the strong side, the ultra-athletic Jacobs could push him based on how well he grasps the defense.