The Jaguars released their first unofficial depth chart today, and while it did have some surprises, the starting linebackers shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. In May former Pro Bowl middle linebacker Telvin Smith announced that he would be taking some time away from football and would sit out the 2019 season. Despite his absence I still expect the Jaguars' linebackers to help return the defense to its 2017 form. Without further ado, let's meet the 2019 Jaguars linebacking corps.
Currently On The Roster: Quincy Williams, Myles Jack, Leon Jacobs, James Onwualu, Ramik Wilson, Najee Goode, Jake Ryan, Conner Strachan, D.J. Alexander, Joe Giles-Harris.
With their second third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected Quincy Williams out of Murray State. Weighing in at 5'11" and 226 pounds, Williams led Murray State's defense last year with 111 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and two fumbles. Before being sidelined 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, Williams seemed to have picked up in camp right where he left off in college. Nothing but positive things were being said about the rookie in camp. Head coach Doug Marrone even said Williams might be the fastest player on the team. It's a shame he'll have to miss time in practice, but he is expected to be on the field Week 1.
At the MIKE position, the Jaguars will feature fourth-year veteran Myles Jack. Without Telvin Smith on the field, Jack will need to pick up the slack. Going into the last year of this rookie deal, Jack is determined to show off how valuable he is. "Telvin (Smith) is gone, so that's 120 tackles unaccounted for, and I want at least 50 of those," said Jack in an interview with Florida Times-Union. It's not crazy to think that Jack could account for the loss of production without Smith. Each year Jack's stats continue to get better and last year Jack finally eclipsed the 100-tackle mark while playing in each of the defense's 1,024 snaps. Look for Jack to have a career year, and cash in on it.
Leon Jacobs is set to round out the starting linebackers on the strong side. After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Jacobs played 12 games last year and started three before being placed on the injured reserve list in December with a quad injury. He finished his rookie year with 21 combined tackles and a safety in Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans. We haven't seen a big enough sample size from Jacobs to determine how high his ceiling is in 2019. But I do think he'll be a steady contributor to the defense.
Linebacker is not the deepest position on the Jaguars roster, so hopefully, this is an area of the roster they can stay healthy. But I am excited to see what the group can do. Backups Najee Goode, Ramik Wilson, and DJ Alexander do have plenty of experience.
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