Jaguars 90-man roster breakdown: Linebackers

Jaguars beat writer Mike Kaye breaks down the linebacker 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 linebacker position.

Previous Breakdowns

Quarterback

Running Back

Fullback

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Tackle

Interior Offensive Line

Defensive End

Defensive Tackle

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Projected Depth Chart

Telvin Smith

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 215 lbs.

Experience: 4th Season

Career Numbers: 350 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 19 pass breakups, 4 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles

Acquisition: Selected with a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft

 

Myles Jack

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 244 lbs. 

Experience: 2nd Season

Career Numbers: 24 tackles, 0.5 sacks and 2 pass breakups

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

 

Paul Posluszny

Ht/Wt: 6-2, 232 lbs.

Experience: 11th Season

Career Numbers: 1,153 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 49 pass breakups, 15 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles

Acquisition: Signed as a veteran free agent in 2011 

 

Audie Cole

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 248 lbs.

Experience: 6th Season

Career Numbers: 86 tackles, a sack and 2 pass breakups

Acquisition: Signed as a veteran free agent this offseason

 

Josh McNary

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 251 lbs.

Experience: 5th Season

Career Numbers: 79 tackles and a forced fumble

Acquisition: Signed as a veteran free agent this offseason

 

Blair Brown

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 240 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers: N/A

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

 

Hayes Pullard

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 240 lbs.

Experience: 3rd Season

Career Numbers: 33 tackles

Acquisition: Signed off Browns' practice squad in 2015

 

Justin Horton

Ht/Wt: 6-2, 235 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers: N/A

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason

 

P.J. Davis

Ht/Wt: 5-9, 232 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers: N/A

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason

 

 

Storylines for 2017 Training Camp

- How will Posluszny handle playing SAM linebacker for the first time in his career?

- Is Jack ready to take on the responsibilities of MIKE linebacker?

- Will Smith get an extension before the season starts?

Competition entering training camp

Posluszny, Jack learning new positions

The Jaguars' biggest battles at linebacker will involve players testing themselves as they learn new positions. 

Posluszny is a tenured veteran who has played the majority of his career at middle linebacker. He will now start at SAM linebacker, which will not only give him new responsibilities, but also limit his playing time.

Jack is settling in at middle linebacker after playing "the position formerly known at Otto" last year. His cross-training at all three linebacker positions last offseason may have helped with the adjustment a little bit.

However, his work during organized team activities showed that he still has a lot to learn and adjust to before the start of the season.

Both players have admitted to having some struggles with the changes in responsibility, which is to be expected. The two have been leaning on each for advice and working to find chemistry in their new roles.

Positional Overview

The Jaguars are top heavy at the linebacker position, as Jack, Posluszny and Smith are solid starters in theory.

The backups are unknown, not because of experience, but because they were brought in mostly due to their special teams prowess.

Cole and McNary are career special teams linebackers and the Jaguars plan on using Brown there as well. If one of the starters goes down, they will need to step in.

Cole is the backup to Posluszny on the strong side, which makes him the most intriguing backup at the position. If the veteran starter falters or gets let go after training camp, Cole would be his immediate replacement. That would be a huge swing for the defense and the linebacker position.

McNary is likely to backup Smith at weak-side linebacker, with Brown serving as depth. Brown was a menace in the MAC conference, producing tons of tackles at Ohio. He has upside but the Jaguars aren't likely to rush him into action on defense.

Pullard has been on the team for two years, but will have an uphill battle in making the roster over the new regime's handpicked free agents and a draft selection. He has been solid on special teams during his first two seasons in the league, which should help him in his quest for a roster spot. He is expected to backup Jack at middle linebacker during training camp.

Horton and Davis are most likely competing for practice squad spots.

Coaching Outlook

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash on moving Posluszny to SAM linebacker:

“It was a difficult decision. He’s a pro. He understands what role we’ve asked of him. He’s one play away from being a starting stack backer in nickel. With the schematic changes, he’s a stack backer in base. He took it well. He understands that he’s a pro. We’re doing whatever we can to get him on the field and be successful.”

Wednesday's focus will be on the Jaguars' cornerbacks.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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