Final Jaguars Position Analysis- Defense

The Jaguars cut veterans and rookies alike, and even made a trade over the weekend to polish and prune their roster to the league-mandated number of 53. The final roster includes eight of the nine draft picks, and two undrafted free agent rookies. JagNation ranks the strength of each position.

Defensive ends- Derrick Harvey, Reggie Hayward, Julius Williams, James Wyche

Derrick Harvey is expected to do big things this season to justify the trade the Jaguars made last season to acquire him in the draft, but at this point he doesn't look like a double-digit sack guy. Harvey is lightning quick off the ball, but needs to develop more moves...Hayward is a veteran who has been slowed by an Achilles injury he suffered back in 2006. Hayward is no longer a pass rushing threat, but is still strong in run support...Williams is a rookie that flashed in preseason, but is probably not ready for more than a rotational role. Wyche has great talent and potential, but hasn't been able to stay healthy in his first three seasons.

Strength ranking: 5 out of 10

Defensive tackles- John Henderson, Terrance Knighton, Atiyyah Ellison, Derek Landri, Montavious Stanley

John Henderson is no longer the dominant player he was three years ago, but he had a strong preseason and many believe it's thanks to rookie Terrance Knighton's presence next to him...Knighton had many saying, "who?" when the Jaguars drafted him in the third round, but he's looked fantastic in preseason and will be an opening day starter...Ellison was grabbed off the proverbial scrapheap last season and has impressed in camp. He will be a rotational player...Landri put on weight in the offseason and had a solid offseason...Stanley is a perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end.

Strength ranking: 6.5 out of 10

Linebackers- Daryl Smith, Justin Durant, Clint Ingram, Brian Iwuh, Quentin Groves, Russell Allen, Adam Seward

Daryl Smith is steady and solid, but needs to force more turnovers...Durant has impact player potential, but often overruns plays and has been slowed by injury this preseason...Ingram has had a great camp, but often falls victim to play action fakes and has trouble covering tight ends...Iwuh is a special teams stud, and in some extended preseason action, he looked like a stud at linebacker...Groves will play on passing downs, as he is quick off the ball and could be an impact player...Allen is another 3-4 OLB and made the team with an impressive camp as an undrafted free agent rookie...Seward is a special teams contributor.

Strength ranking: 8 out of 10

Cornerbacks- Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox, Scott Starks, Brian Witherspoon, Tyron Brackenridge

Rashean Mathis is a top 10 corner in the NFL, but tends to gamble as he looks to make big plays...Cox looks like a Mathis clone, as he starred in training camp and his presence alone allowed the Jags to jettison Brian Williams...Starks is small and quick despite coming off a torn ACL last season. He is a classic nickel corner...Witherspoon has world class speed, and will likely be used on special teams primarily....Brackenridge was a great surprise in camp and preseason, as he played very well at corner and on special teams.

Strength ranking: 7 out of 10

Safeties- Reggie Nelson, Sean Considine, Gerald Alexander

Reggie Nelson has great ability, but isn't a smart player as he often bites on play action fakes and is a very poor tackler...Considine doesn't have anywhere near the ability of Reggie Nelson, but is very solid and won't make many mental mistakes...Alexander is trying to come back from a neck injury and he was solid, yet unspectacular in preseason.

Strength ranking: 2.5 out of 10

Special teams- Adam Podlesh, Josh Scobee, Jeremy Cain

Adam Podlesh had to fight for his job this offseason and he won it. A new special teams coordinator in Russ Pernell may allow Podlesh to let loose on his punts instead of trying to directional kick...Scobee had a great preseason as he didn't miss a single kick and was very long on his kickoffs...Cain is a wild-card, as he is replacing long-time Jaguar Joe Zelenka as long-snapper. He supposedly can cover kicks better than his predecessor, but can he be as consistent snapping the ball?

Strength ranking: 6 out of 10

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