Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Address Needs in a Big Way

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Address Needs in a Big Way

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette

Jaguars fans have been down this road before, where the excitement over free agent acquisitions in March gets neutered by the reality of playoff elimination by mid-November.

This time, maybe not. Because what the free-spending Jaguars did Thursday when the NFL free agency gun went off might well get Todd Wash - the team's behemoth defensive coordinator - to actually do cartwheels.

With cornerback Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye, Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Calais Campbell and Dallas Cowboys safety Barry Church reportedly in the fold, the days of the Jaguars' defense being a pushover should be over.

This is a pretty formidable one-two-three punch. Providing they can stay healthy and talkative cornerback Jalen Ramsey doesn't look at Bouye's payday and start publicly chirping about being stuck with his rookie deal, this should be a win-win-win for everybody, including maligned quarterback Blake Bortles.

In fact, when the news began surfacing about this free-agency haul, a league source intimately familiar with the Jaguars' defensive personnel minced no words about its impact, particularly the additions of Campbell and Bouye.

"If [the Jaguars] got those three players, they'll be a shoo-in, top-5 [NFL defense], a very disruptive defense," the source said. "They'd be unbelievable. You'd have a lot of people that you have to deal with. Bouye is a legitmate number one corner. If you put him with Jalen [Ramsey], you're talking about the [2016] rookies [Dante Fowler, Yannick Ngakoue] on the edge being better, plus all that speed at linebacker.

"I'd find it very hard to believe that defense wouldn't make a significant leap. I think that defense will have a big turnaround because they're loaded now."

No question, the Jaguars put more fear in opposing quarterbacks by forking over $64-68 million in guaranteed money for three impact-type players. Remember, this defense was solid last season in terms of yards allowed (6th in NFL), but didn't force enough turnovers (13) or have enough sacks (33) to be considered remotely intimidating.

It's hard not to look at the upgrades of Campbell (over Jared Odrick), Bouye (over Prince Amukamara) and Church (over Johnathan Cyprien) and not think the 2017 Jaguars can be a factor in the AFC South race. …

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