The Jaguars will get back to the practice field in less than two weeks. The team reports on Thursday, July 25th and then begins activities on Friday, July 26th. The defensive line is one unit that is going to be an interesting area to keep an eye on during training camp. Why? Because they currently have 15 players vying for roster spots between end and tackle.
Let's start with tackle. The Jaguars went with Tyson Alualu and Terrence Knighton as their starters at the position last season. C.J. Mosely provided depth. Knighton left Jacksonville to sign a deal with the Denver Broncos and Alualu has shifted down to end.In addition, Mosely was released by the team back on April 1st. Thus, the Jags will have two new faces as their starting tackles this year and whoever provides depth will have come from another team. Here is the list of players competing for the spots: Roy Miller, Kyle Love, Sen'Derrick Marks, Brandon Deaderick, Abry Jones, T.J. Barnes, and D'Anthony Smith. In my opinion, this position will be pretty straight forward. I expect to see Roy Miller and Sen'Derrick Marks as the Jaguars starting tackles with Kyle Love providing depth. I also expect to see D'Anthony Smith cut before the start of the season due to the fact that he has struggled with injuries through out the course of his time in teal and black.
As for defensive end, this is a spot that isn't as straightforward. As I mentioned earlier, the competition now includes Tyson Alualu, who several weeks ago made the switch from DT to DE. According to the coaching staff (as well as Alualu himself,) it’s a great move for him. He primarily played defensive end in college at California and feels it’s better suited to his skills set. So Alualu will be looking to make an impact at end…but so will Jason Babin, Jeremy Mincey, Andre Branch, Pannel Egboh, Ryan Davis, Paul Hazel, and J.D. Griggs. Gus Bradley has made it pretty clear that Babin will serve as the designated “leo” in the new hybrid defense that the Jaguars will be running; after that, it’s up in the air. One would hope that Andre Branch can turn the corner after hitting a brick wall during his rookie year. Jeremy Mincey is a player who goes full speed but good intentions only get you so far. He’s also another guy that has dealt with injuries throughout the course of his time here in Jacksonville. At this point, I think Babin and Alualu will get the nod as the starting ends. Branch will provide depth as he continues to work on developing his game. The argument for keeping Mincey is that he is cost effective. But Bradley has singled out Pannel Egboh as a player that he really likes. I've also named Egboh as a bubble guy that I think makes the team. With that being said, my defensive end prediction goes as follows: Tyson Alualu (starter,) Jason Babin (starter,) Andre Branch (depth,) Jeremy Mincey (depth,) and Pannel Egboh (depth.)
One final note, be sure to tune into the "Jag Wire," a new show that will air on 1010XL and 92.5FM from 7:00-9:00 pm starting on July 24th. Florida Times Union Jaguars beat writer Ryan O'Halloran and I will bring you the most up to date, inside information as well as every thing you need to know for the start of the regular season.
To weigh in on the defensive line, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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