Jaguars Camp Competition- Defensive Ends
The competitors: Derrick Harvey, Aaron Kampman, Larry Hart, Austen Lane, Jeremy Mincey, Jeremy Navarre, Julius Williams and Chris Harrington
The Jaguars major free agency move was to acquire former Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman to hopefully upgrade their pass rush. Kampman became available due to the Packers switch to the 3-4 defense and a torn ACL. Kampman has been ahead of schedule on his rehab and will likely be able to start the season opener assuming he has no training camp setbacks.
This is going to be a crucial season for Jaguars defensive end Derrick Harvey. The Jaguars traded up in the 2008 draft to acquire Harvey and following a long rookie contract hold-out Harvey has never seemingly caught up to the NFL game. Last season, Harvey showed some flashes, but the stat sheet says he has only sacked the quarterback 5.5 times in two years. Some of his lack of production can be pinned on the lack of talent around him, but those excuses will disappear this season.
The Draft Picks
The Jaguars drafted Larry Hart and Austen Lane with their two fifth-round draft picks in hopes to add talent and depth to what could've been the league's worst defensive line from a year ago. Larry Hart is undersized, but makes up for it with an unbelievable burst and lower body strength. Despite measuring in at just 6'1", 248 lbs., Hart squatted 650 lbs. in college and compares himself to the Colts Dwight Freeney. Austen Lane was an ultra-productive player in the FCS as the 6'5", 274 lb. end set Murray State records by notching 29 sacks and 55 tackles for loss. Lane will figure in on the defensive line rotation.
The Best of the Rest
Jeremy Mincey is trying to catch on yet again with the Jaguars after being waived by the team on three separate occasions. Mincey has a solid chance of earning a roster spot being he has some NFL experience and is versatile despite being just 270 lbs.... Jeremy Navarre is entering his second season an an undrafted free agent from Maryland. The 6'3", 279 lb. Navarre played in six games for the Jaguars last season mostly at defensive end and on special teams.... Julius Williams earned a roster spot as an undrafted rookie a season ago and played in 11 games for the team. Williams will have to improve to beat out the rookies and other veterans to maintain employment with the team in 2010.... Chris Harrington played in three games for the Jaguars after spending much of 2009 on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. The 6'5", 260 lb. defensive end will have a tough time making the Jaguars roster.
So how does it all shake out?
Derrick Harvey and Aaron Kampman are roster locks and they are the expected starters. The health of Kampman may cause the Jaguars to keep a fifth defensive end which will likely come from the group of inexperienced guys in "the best of the rest" portion. Larry Hart and Austen Lane are roster locks due to their draft status and impressive showings in camp and OTA's (and really a lack of better options). Normally, players such as Jeremy Mincey and Julius Williams would have an inside track at the final defensive end spot, but that isn't so this year as the Jaguars hired Joe Cullen to be the defensive line coach. Cullen has no ties to any of these players so everyone is starting on a somewhat even slate. To give a guess, we believe Julius Williams will earn the final roster spot at defensive end.
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