by Cole Pepper
Total change. That’s what the Jaguars defensive tackles have undergone since the end of last season.
A year ago, the top three defensive tackles for the Jaguars were Tyson Alualu, Terrance Knighton and CJ Mosely (among others). Alualu has been moved to defensive end this year and Knighton and Mosely have just been moved, Knighton to Denver in free agency, Mosely with the Lions.
It’s clear that GM Dave Caldwell didn’t like what he saw in the middle of the Jaguars defensive line. The stats bear him out. Jacksonville allowed 141 rushing yards per game, third most in the NFL in 2012 and all of the defensive tackles combined for just eight sacks. So they didn’t stop the run and they didn’t get to the quarterback. Other than that, things were good.
Part of the change in defensive philosophy is to improve the defense is a time worn theory of being more stout in the middle of the line. To that end, the Jaguars brought in 310 pound Roy Miller from the Buccaneers, 294 pound Sen’Derrick Marks from the Titans, 315 pound Kyle Love from the Patriots and signed undrafted rookie T.J. Barnes, a 6’7 364 pound behemoth from Georgia Tech. Remaining in the defensive tackle conversation from last year are (perhaps) Alualu and D’Anthony Smith, who, in his fourth season in the NFL, is still trying to establish himself.
Miller and Love look most likely to be the Jaguars leading run-stuffers. They are wide bodies. Marks has the ability to stuff the run as well but isn’t quite as thick as Miler.
If the season started today, I think you would find the Jaguars defensive line starting Miller and Marks at defensive tackle with Alualu and Babin at the ends. The biggest wild card at this point is Jeremy Mincey. At 29 years old, he looks like a guy on the bubble to make the team. Will he be a 3rd down only pass rusher? That seems to be the only place he fits. He is one veteran to keep an eye on during camp.