Last season, we watched on specific position group go through a major overhaul when general manager David Caldwell took office, the secondary. Almost every starting defensive back in the Jacksonville secondary was acquired via free agency or the 2013 NFL draft.
This season, we’re starting to see that same sort of Caldwell trend, overhauling one specific position group. This time, the defensive line is the focus.
Before free agency was officially underway, the Jaguars had already made their first move, signing former Seattle Seahawks’ defensive end, Red Bryant. Once free agency started, it was imminent that Caldwell wanted to greatly improve the Jaguars pass rush, and he did just that.
The team signed former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood and the former Seahawk and original “LEO”, defensive end Chris Clemons. They also added a potential fit at SAM linebacker and more pass-rushing help in former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Dekoda Watson.
The kicker to it all? Don’t be surprised to see Caldwell add a few more pass rushers to the team in the draft.
Looking at the top-10 defensive ends in the draft, there are three who seem to best fit the Jaguars’ scheme, three who have also been linked to the team via various mock drafts. Here’s what our editors at cover32 had to say about the three potential new toys for defensive coordinator Bob Babich:
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
There’s a reason Clowney is projected by most people to go No. 1 overall to Houston. He’s simply a great football player. He has great size, strength and speed, plus he’s a polished player in terms of technique and football acumen. The attempts to find fault in his game are the proverbial mole on Cindy Crawford’s face. Clowney is the real deal; there’s no doubt.
Dee Ford, Auburn
Ford jumps out because he’s very effective against both the run and the pass. Off the snap, he has the ability to get around the corner quickly and make life miserable for quarterbacks. But he also shows the strength and patience needed to set the edge against the run, fend off blockers and corral ball carriers. A very well-rounded player.
Kareem Martin, North Carolina
At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Martin certainly looks the part. And with the ability to add a few pounds of muscle to his frame, he’ll only improve in terms of being physical presence. The biggest knock on the UNC pass rusher is his ability to change directions; he struggles against mobile QBs and turning to chase a play. He’s more of a straight-line player.
Follow Grant on Twitter @cover32_MrG.