Jaguars 90-man roster breakdown: Defensive ends

Jaguars beat writer Mike Kaye breaks down the defensive end position entering training camp

As we countdown the days until training camp, First Coast News is taking a look at each position group on the Jaguars' roster. Our positional series continues with a focus on the defensive end position.

Previous Breakdowns

Quarterback

Running Back

Fullback

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Tackle

Interior Offensive Line

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Projected Depth Chart

Yannick Ngakoue

Ht/Wt: 6-2, 246 lbs.

Experience: 2nd Season

Career Numbers: 22 tackles, 8 sacks, an interception and 4 forced fumbles

Acquisition: Selected with a third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft

 

Calais Campbell

Ht/Wt: 6-8, 300 lbs.

Experience: 10th Season

Career Numbers: 501 tackles, 56.5 sacks, 42 pass breakups, 3 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles

Acquisition: Signed as a veteran free agent this offseason

 

Dante Fowler

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 255 lbs.

Experience: 3rd Season

Career Numbers: 32 tackles, 4 sacks, 5 pass breakups

Acquisition: Selected with the third overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft

 

Dawuane Smoot

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 264 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers: N/A

Acquisition: Selected with a third-round pick in this year's NFL Draft

 

Lerentee McCray

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 249 lbs.

Experience: 4th Season

Career Numbers:  37 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason

 

Jonathan Woodard

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 287 lbs.

Experience: 2nd Season

Career Numbers: N/A

Acquisition: Selected with a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft

 

Malliciah Goodman

Ht/Wt: 6-4, 276 lbs.

Experience: 5th Season

Career Numbers: 29 tackles and 2 forced fumbles

Acquisition: Signed as a veteran free agent this offseason

 

Carroll Phillips

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 242 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers: N/A (25.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks at Illinois)

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason

 

Hunter Dimick

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 269 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers:  N/A (42.5 tackles for loss, 28.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles at Utah)

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason

 

 

Storylines for 2017 Training Camp

- Can Fowler evolve into a more complete pass rusher?

- How much depth do the Jaguars have at defensive end?

- Is an undrafted free agent worthy of keeping at the position?

Competition entering training camp

Who will be the first pass rusher off the bench?

The Jaguars seem to have reasonable depth at defensive end.

Ngakoue and Campbell are the clear starters, but there seems to be a lot of optimism internally regarding the trio of Dante Fowler, Dawuane Smoot and Lerentee McCray.

Of those three, Fowler and Smoot seem to be the most likely to get the first nod off the bench on either side of the line.

Both are probably run-defending upgrades over Ngakoue, which is important, because the then-rookie struggled quite a bit in that aspect of his game last season. Smoot has the ability to play on both sides of the line, while Fowler has mostly been used as a weak-side edge rusher.

The Jaguars need to find at least one consistent rotational pass rusher behind their starters, and Fowler is probably the most gifted of the backups. He just needs to continue to grow mentally, something his coaches have alluded to in the past.

The staff has praised Fowler for his growth this offseason.

Smoot has been able to adjust to the NFL speed in practice rather quickly. He spent his last season at Illinois under former Bears and Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith. He has excelled at getting into the backfield.

No matter who wins the "fifth man" battle, both are poised for quite a bit of playing time.

Positional Overview

Campbell is a massive upgrade as a strong-side defensive end. He may be the best player at that position in the NFL.

Ngakoue, who will start opposite Campbell, set Jaguars rookie records with his performance last season. The sky seems to be the limit for him as a pass rusher.

Those two are backed up by the aforementioned trio of McCray, Fowler and Smoot. McCray is a special teams ace with rotational upside, Fowler is a former first-round pick who is two years removed from ACL surgery and Smoot is a promising third-round pick.

Fellow potential keepers are Jonathan Woodard, Carroll Phillips and Hunter Dimick.

Woodard was a seventh-round pick last season, but never saw the field because of a torn Achilles. Phillips and Dimick are both undrafted free agents with enough upside that they could sneak their way onto the roster.

Goodman also offers a veteran presence if the Jaguars suffer injuries during training camp.

Coaching Outlook

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash on Fowler:

“Dante has matured a lot. You [saw] him a little more and more as the season went on last year. He is more focused on the little details. He is definitely here early in the building a lot more. You just see a young man mature, which is really good to see because he is a good football player.”

Monday's focus will be on the Jaguars' defensive tackles.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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