After suffering an Achilles injury late during the 2022 season, Dawuane Smoot is ready to make his return to the field. The Jaguars announced that they’ve activated the defensive end from the physically unable to perform list. To make room on the roster, the Jaguars placed cornerback Christian Braswell on injured reserve.
While it took a few years for him to find his place on defense, Smoot has emerged as one of the Jaguars’ most consistent pass-rushers in recent years. The former third-round pick collected 22.5 sacks for Jacksonville between 2019 and 2022, including a 2021 campaign where he started a career-high 10 games en route to 36 tackles, six sacks, and 16 QB hits.
He continued his production in 2022, finishing with five sacks, six tackles for loss, and 12 QB hits. He suffered a torn Achilles last December, an injury that proved to be poor timing since Smoot was finishing up a two-year, $10MM deal he signed with the organization in 2021. It took the 28-year-old until July to re-sign with the Jaguars, and he was placed on PUP to begin the 2023 campaign. Smoot returned to practice earlier this month.
Josh Allen and Travon Walker are manning the edge spots, meaning Smoot will compete with K’Lavon Chaisson for any leftover pass-rush reps. For what it’s worth, coach Doug Pederson said this week that he doesn’t expect Smoot to be on a snap count when he returns to the field.
“He brings a veteran leadership and presence out there,” Pederson said (h/t Adam Stites of JagsWire). “You can play him in base defense, you can play him in nickel in pass rush situations. There’s his production that comes from being inside and all of that on third down and stuff.
“I don’t think you want to put him on a pitch count, but I think you have to monitor, and you don’t want to get his rep count too high. But at the same time, you want to let him get comfortable with the game and see how he is doing throughout the course of three hours or so that you’re out there.”
Smoot will be taking the roster spot held by Braswell, a rookie sixth-round pick. The Rutgers product appeared in each of Jacksonville’s first three games this season, but he’ll now be sidelined for at least the next four games while he recovers from a hamstring injury.