The Jaguars should lead the NFL in sacks this year.
There, I said it. The return of Sacksonville is imminent.
In 2017, when the Jaguars were within minutes of their first Super Bowl appearance, they got after the quarterback at a staggering rate. But in 2018 Sacksonville went missing.
With Jacksonville's collection of defensive line talent and what should be an improved offense, the Jaguars should be able to get after the QB early an often in 2019.
Seriously, look at their collection of pass rushers.
Calais Campbell has recorded 25 sacks over the past two seasons, and he's shown no signs of letting up this summer. His career renaissance is likely to continue into 2019. On base downs, he'll play the big end for the Jaguars, and in clear pass-rushing situations, he'll kick inside and create interior pressure.
Yannick Ngakoue reported to Jaguars' training camp on Sunday, and he's poised for the best season of his career. A 24-year-old edge rusher, Ngakoue has registered 21.5 sacks over the last two seasons. I expect him to push for 15 sacks in 2019. The obvious reason here is that he's in a contract year. The amount of football players who have had career years in the final year of their deal is too long to list. Yannick is hungry, and he's going to eat this fall.
Now we get to the Jaguars' 2019 first-round pick. Josh Allen is already showing signs of greatness. He may have more explosiveness off the edge than any player to ever don the black and teal. Allen possesses a lot of impressive traits, not the least of which is his desire to be great. But his physical prowess is undeniable. Many rookie edge rushers need to bulk up their lanky upper body as they enter the NFL. Not Josh Allen, at six-foot-five and 270 pounds, the Kentucky product has an NFL body. Combine his stature and athleticism — he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine — and you've got the ideal NFL defensive end. In practice, Allen has been able to bend the edge and has even shown the ability to work an inside move. He won't be perfect in year one, but he won't need to be. Allen will play in obvious pass-rushing situations to start, and teams won't be able to key in on him with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue also on the field.
There should be plenty of interior pressure with Marcell Dareus, Abry Jones, and Taven Bryan. Dareus will be tasked with playing the 3-tech instead of nose-tackle and will be allowed more freedom to rush the passer in 2019. If he's able to regain the pass-rushing prowess that he displayed in Buffalo, the Jaguars' defense will be that much more terrifying for opposing offenses.
The arrival of Datone Jones has been a bit of a revelation so far this summer. He's a guy that has consistently been disruptive in practice and has positional versatility.
Linebackers Myles Jack and Quincy Williams have all the speed in the world. If they're asked to blitz, they should be able to find their way to the QB.
Nickel cornerback DJ Hayden is a well-versed blitzer. Safeties Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson are more than adequate in that department.
With Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye in coverage, receivers will struggle to get open quickly, which should aid the pass rush.
When you put the entire picture together, the Jaguars' defense is as formidable — especially from a pass rush perspective — as they come.
The Jaguars' defense won't be hung out to dry so much in 2019. With John DeFilippo scripting plays to start games and Nick Foles throwing the passes, Jacksonville's offense will at least give the Jaguars a breather more often than not. And if the Jaguars' offense can strike early in games, it'll be all but over for opposing QBs.
Don't be surprised when Sacksonville returns in full force this fall. You heard it here first.
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