Over the past couple of seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars have added a plethora of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey finished second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting last season. Cornerback A.J. Bouye was graded the top corner in the NFL last season by ProFootballFocus. Linebackers Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith are tackle machines, each averaging over 100 tackles per season for the Jaguars.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue broke the Jaguars single season rookie sack record that had stood for 20 years. Fellow Defensive end Calais Campbell is a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson signed a $90 million contract last off-season and lived up to his billing in his first year with the team. However, none of those aforementioned players will be the Jaguars defensive MVP in 2017. The most valuable defensive player for the Jaguars will be Myles Jack.
Myles Jack Will Be the Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive MVP in 2017
Jack was selected by Jacksonville with the 36th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Even though Jack was regarded as one of the top defensive prospects in the draft, along with Ramsey and DROY Joey Bosa, he fell down draft boards due to a degenerative knee issue, which he was very open about in the pre-draft process. Jack is completely healthy right now, though it still remains to be seen whether the injury will become a problem down the road.
Jack played a limited number of snaps for the Jags as a rookie, which can most likely be attributed to the team wanting to see how healthy his knee was. Furthermore, the Jaguars didn’t need to play Jack right away with Posluszny and Smith holding down the middle and weak side linebacker spots, respectively.
The first year linebacker played just 239 snaps last season; just over 22% of the possible reps, though he did see more action once head coach Doug Marrone took over for the final two games of the season. Jack finished his rookie season with 22 tackles on defense with half a sack and two pass break-ups, playing out of position as a strong side linebacker.
General manager David Caldwell said that he expects to see Jack on the field a lot more in his sophomore campaign, taking “85-95%” of the defensive snaps, to be exact. Since the NFL is such a pass-heavy league, the Jaguars, like every NFL team will spend somewhere near half of the time playing nickel defense, leaving just two linebackers on the field.
It can be inferred that means Jack will be playing his natural position, middle linebacker, this season. Poslusny, who, when healthy, has started every game for the Jaguars at the position since 2011, will likely be moved to the strong side to accommodate his skill set as he enters his 11th season in the NFL.
Myles Jack: A Budding Star
With Jack set to man the middle, the former UCLA Bruin will be in a position to exhibit the skill set which had scouts salivating while watching his college tape. Jack is an exceptionally athletic linebacker who has the natural speed and instincts to not only be a dominant force in the running game, but a valuable asset in coverage as well.
With the ample amount of talent the Jaguars have on the defensive side of the ball, Jack will be given every opportunity to flourish and make plays. It’s a very distinct possibility that the 21-year-old could put up ridiculous numbers, racking up tackles and pass break-ups. It’s clear that 2017 will be the year of Jack in Jacksonville.