Jaguars Draft/Free Agency Primer- Defense

Coming off a disappointing 5-11 season, clearly the Jaguars have multiple needs on both sides of the ball. They will use free agency and the draft to address as many of these needs as possible and we are going to break down each position group and examine what is the most likely avenue the team will go to strengthen it. We move on to the defense.

Defensive Tackles



The Jaguars appear to be set on the inside assuming Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu can stay healthy. The team uncovered gems for backups in Nate Collins and Leger Douzable off the waiver wire.

How big is the need at defensive tackle on a scale of 1-10? 3. It's pretty much impossible to have too many big guys that can play on your roster so if there's a player who grades out well the team shoudln't and won't shy away.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? The Jaguars won't address the position in free agency but they won't hesitate from taking a tackle assuming it's a good value anywhere after Round 2.

Defensive Ends



It's simply impossible to have too many pass rushers and the Jaguars haven't had a consistent rush since....1999? Jeremy Mincey is a free agent who the team will make a priority to sign and Matt Roth is also a free agent. Aaron Kampman hasn't been the same after his knee injuries and Austen Lane is just a guy.

How big is the need at defensive end on a scale of 1-10? 9. The Jaguars only have Aaron Kampman and Austen Lane under contract for next season.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Yes. The team needs to ink Jeremy Mincey and possibly even go after a Mario Williams or Cliff Avril. This appears to be a soft draft at least at the top for defensive ends and the Jaguars likely won't select an end early.

Linebackers



The Jaguars linebacker corps went from a weakness to a strength in 2011 as the team signed Paul Posluszny and Clint Session in free agency. They, along with Daryl Smith will make for one of the best units in football again.

How big is the need at linebacker on a scale of 1-10? 2. The Jaguars have three solid starters assuming Clint Session doesn't have any long-term effects from his numerous concussions.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Not likely. There are too many other needs to spend more free agency dollars at linebacker. The team could draft some more linebacker depth in the middle to late rounds.

Cornerbacks



With Rashean Mathis tearing his ACL and becoming a free agent the Jaguars are paper thin at cornerback. Derek Cox came on at the end of his season before he went down and Drew Coleman was a solid nickel.

How big is the need at cornerback on a scale of 1-10? 10. The Jaguars need more players at cornerback with Rashean Mathis all but gone. They didn't have enough depth to cover their injury losses and they don't figure to be better in 2012.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Yes. The free agent crop at cornerback is a little thin so the draft is the most likely place for an upgrade. The Jaguars could very well take a cornerback in Round 1.

Safeties



The Jaguars improved their safety position greatly in 2011 by signing Dawan Landry in free agency and trading for Dwight Lowery. Lowery is a free agent and the team doesn't want to face the proposition of a Landry/Courtney Green safety tandem.

How big is the need at safety on a scale of 1-10? 8. The team has just one viable starter and they will have to address the position .

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Yes. Free agency is the most likely course of action as this draft doesn't figure to be stellar at safety. Re-signing Dwight Lowery will likely be a priority for the Jags.

Special Teams



The Jaguars have neither their kicker, Josh Scobee nor their punter, Nick Harris under contract for next season.

How big is the need at kicker or punter on a scale of 1-10? 10. The Jaguars don't have anyone under contract.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? They have no choice but to upgrade. The team will do everything it can to re-sign Josh Scobee and they will likely draft a punter or sign a young player in free agency.



Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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