The Jaguars hosted veteran defensive end Jabaal Sheard for a workout last week. It was all quiet on that front until Monday when the Jaguars announced they signed the experienced pass rusher to their practice squad. I wouldn't read too much into him starting out on the practice squad, as it's always a numbers game getting players onto the active roster. And the Jaguars can certainly pull him up for game day.
So, this all begs the question, what type of impact can this guy make?
It'll certainly depend on how ready he is for an NFL game. Sheard wasn't with a team this offseason, so he didn't get to go through the grind of training camp, and he hasn't played in a game since December of 2019. But the 31-year-old vet has been a productive pass rusher throughout his nine-year career. He played in 13 games for the Colts last season and racked up 42 pressures, 20 stops (a play that constitutes a failure for the offense), 25 total tackles, and 4.5 sacks. His sack numbers aren't prolific, but 4.5 is his lowest total since 2014, and he did miss three games at the beginning of the 2019 season.
So, what can he do for the Jaguars? He'll unquestionably bring a veteran presence to the defensive end group that is currently missing. He should be able to help teach Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson some tricks of the trade. Most importantly, for the 2020 Jaguars, he should bring some consistent play, as soon as he gets up to speed that is. The Jaguars' pass rush is in dire need of some more production. Sheard should also have a positive impact on the Jaguars' run defense if the coaching staff uses him in that capacity. It might be more ideal to deploy him strictly as a pass rusher, to maximize his effectiveness in terms of getting the defense off the field.
Don't expect Sheard to come in and light the world on fire, instead anticipate him being a veteran presence for this young pass rush. He should help this Jags' defense get off the field on third down more consistently. At the very least, he'll take some attention away from Josh Allen (whenever he returns), K'Lavon Chaisson, and the rest of the Jaguars' young pass rushers.
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