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K’Lavon Chaisson’s rookie season wasn’t exactly what the Jacksonville Jaguars were hoping for when they used the 20th pick in last year’s NFL Draft on the defensive end.
Though he appeared in all 16 games in 2020, he started just three and totaled only 19 tackles in the process. He managed to put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, hitting them nine times on the season, but that didn’t translate to eye-popping off the edge, as he managed just one sack on the year.
It’s certainly not time to panic, though. A lot of Chaisson’s struggles can likely be explained by a scheme that wasn’t built around his skillset. Under previous defensive coordinator Todd Wash, the team ran almost exclusively a Cover 3 scheme with a 4-3 base.
For Chaisson, who is a bit undersized as a down defensive lineman at just 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds, that didn’t exactly fit his abilities. In college at Louisiana State, he played almost exclusively as a stand-up, 3-4 edge rusher, and that didn’t translate well at all to Wash’s defense.
With new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen installing a multiple defense, it stands to reason that the team will run more 3-4, which will allow Chaisson to play in his more natural position.
Because of that, it shouldn’t be surprising that many in the national media think he’s poised for a breakout Year 2. On Bleacher Report’s list of breakout candidates for each team, Chaisson was the player listed for Jacksonville.
New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer made his approach to team-building apparent. The defensive line takes priority.
“That was the place we built, and I believe we’re going to be in the top fourth in the league on the defensive line,” Meyer told reporters.
Josh Allen is an exciting edge-rusher, though he’s coming off a season-ending knee injury. The Jaguars added linemen Tyson Alualu, Malcom Brown and Jihad Ward in free agency.
A bookend to Allen would go a long way toward solidifying this group.
Jacksonville chose K’Lavon Chaisson with the 20th pick in last year’s draft. But Chaisson did not show the same type of fluidity as he did with LSU. A fully realized Chaisson could boost the line beyond Meyer’s lofty expectations.
With the mentioned additions to the defensive line, there should be less pressure on Chaisson in 2021. Still, the Jaguars didn’t do as much to address the edge as they did the interior, and they’re banking on the second-year player to make major strides this season. If he can, the young edge-rushing tandem of Chaisson and Allen could be dangerous in the league for years to come.