Players in the NFL can be found at all places, whether it be through undrafted free agency or at the top of the first round, and the Jacksonville Jaguars could have found one in the former placement in defensive tackle Doug Costin, who played a major role for the team’s defense this past Sunday.
Costin, 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, was signed by the Jaguars this past spring as an undrafted free agent out of Miami (OH.), never a player anyone quite expected to play a major role on the team’s defense, however, with a slew of injuries and opt outs at the position during the summer, it appeared his chances of making the 53-man roster grew each day.
“These are all guys that, Doug, like I said before, we liked him,” Marrone said on Monday when asked about Costin and his snaps from Sunday. “Like I said, he was a free agent and coming out of training camp, we didn’t want to expose him to the practice squad, we kept him on the roster. We were worried about that and think he’s gone in there and played well.”
On Sunday, Costin played in placed of former first-round draft choice, defensive tackle Taven Bryan. While Bryan did play a share of snaps, it was Costin who earned the start, and the majority of the repetitions until he went down, placed in the team’s concussion protocol.
In total, Costin played 29 snaps for the Jaguars defense, tallying four pressures, two tackles and one “stop,” according to Pro Football Focus. Costin’s four hurries were the most on the team. By comparison, according to PFF, Bryan has just seven pressures in eight games this season. Costin, along with fellow rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, were the two highest-graded rookie defenders from this past weekend.
“I thought he did a couple good things in there,” Marrone said shortly after the game on Sunday. “I don’t know the exact counts, you know what I’m saying? Doug’s productivity was high, and we didn’t have a lot of snaps, so we wanted to increase his snaps. And I thought he did a nice job.”
As he continues to progress, the Jaguars will likely put Costin in a position to get more repetitions down the line, even at the cost of leaving Bryan by the wayside as his snaps continue to decrease. But, Marrone wants to be clear, the Jaguars are not going to simply discard the former first-round pick, he will continue to be a part of the rotation.
“So, we’re not discarding him, we’re going to keep trying to get him better and trying to get those snaps because the one thing at that position, you’re going to have these, especially inside, where a lot of things start off with two,” said Marrone. “Just think about it, you have two 300-pound guys coming off a football, usually hitting the one down lineman, so you need a pretty decent rotation in there, whether it’s 20 something snaps and another 20 for someone else.”
A heavy and healthy rotation can only bode well for the Jaguars defense that has excelled against the run over the past two games of the season. As the team continues forward through the final eight games of the season, however, expect for Costin to become more of a focal point, giving the team new life on the interior.