Deploying just seven position players that received positive grades from Pro Football Focus last season, the Jaguars have a steep climb back to contention. The fulcrum of that attempted ascent, however, could reside on their defensive front, with talent returning and incoming.
Two of the aforementioned septet came on the defensive line, Sen’Derrick Marks and Ryan Davis, and high-priced supplement Jared Odrick, who signed a five-year, $42.5MM contract on Day 2 of free agency, will add to this unit in a specific role, writes Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
Jags defensive line coach Todd Wash expects to plug Odrick at their 4B spot, which is the bigger of the two defensive ends in Jacksonville’s 4-3 scheme, according to O’Halloran. Odrick played defensive tackle in the Dolphins’ 4-3 alignment last season and rated as PFF’s 19th-best interior lineman (subscription required) — two slots behind Marks. Odrick’s last season as a 4-3 end (2012), however, marked his worst as a pro. His previous work as an outside starter in a 3-4 scheme (2011) resulted in a career-best six sacks, half of which came in coverage, per O’Halloran.
Marks and Davis’ success came almost exclusively inside, making the edge a priority. The Jaguars could have their pick of ends Dante Fowler Jr. or Leonard Williams at No. 3 overall, depending on Marcus Mariota‘s potential to go at No. 2, providing a significant starting point in their rebuild.
- Fowler will reportedly visit Jacksonville this week after his pro day in Gainesville, Fla., reports O’Halloran. The Jags probably won’t use all of their 30 permitted player visits but could exercise 20 of those meetings, O’Halloran reports.
- Using Dashon Goldson‘s recent trade where the Bucs agreed to pick up the safety’s $4MM signing bonus in 2015 as he suits up for Washington, O’Halloran suggests this method as a way to make Marcedes Lewis a movable commodity for a potential late-round pick. No longer the starting tight end after the Jags signed Julius Thomas, Lewis is slated to count $8.2MM against the cap this year as Thomas accounts for $10.3MM of it — a league-high amount at the position, making the current arrangement unlikely to last.
- In addition to a report earlier this week regarding Marcell Dareus‘ potential extension with the Bills, ESPN’s Josina Anderson hears the team will address this after the draft, although no offer has been sent yet (Twitter link).
- The Titans could trade down if they don’t envision Mariota leading their offense or Williams chasing signal-callers, and The Tennesseean’s Jim Wyatt speculates wide-receiving help could arrive in that scenario in the form of Amari Cooper, Kevin White or DeVante Parker. ESPN’s Todd McShay has that trio going off the boardat Nos. 3, 7 and 10, respectively, in his latest mock draft (subscription required). The Titans selected current starter Kendall Wright in the first round in 2012.
- While listing wideout, running back and starting right tackle as the team’s biggest needs, Wyatt envisions one of the top backs, Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, as Titans targets at No. 34.