JACKSONVILLE – Nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Bucky Brooks, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – are breaking down the Jaguars as the 2021 NFL season approaches; today's topic: the defensive player to watch for the Jaguars in '21…
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: Edge defender Josh Allen. Once again, he looks great – as he did a year ago before injuries ruined his season. Allen should flourish in the new 3-4 scheme where his football instincts will give him Pro Bowl consideration. Allen is a complete football player, not just a pass rusher. Look for him to make plays all over the field including in coverage.
Bucky Brooks, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: Linebacker Myles Jack. The ultra-athletic defender could thrive as a designated playmaker in a blitz-heavy defense. Jack has the pass-rush ability and sideline-to-sideline pursuit quickness to make splash plays all over the field. If the Jaguars quickly take to defensive coordinator Joe Cullen's aggressive defense, the veteran defender could post big numbers as a disruptive playmaker on the second level.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: Jack is the Jaguars' best player on either side of the ball. In this defense, he will be huge. I expect him to have an extraordinary year. He is the choice. But I am excited about watching Allen get turned loose in this 3-4 scheme – and I've heard so much about veteran cornerback Shaquill Griffin. But Jack is my pick.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: The defensive Most Valuable Player will be Allen. Everything about him is impressive – from his physical skill set to his mental makeup. He must stay healthy for this to occur; if he does, his commitment to excellence will show. The Jaguars' new defensive scheme is a perfect fit for him as well.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: The defensive MVP for the Jaguars will be Allen. I think Cullen and the Jaguars are setting this defense up for Allen to be the playmaker and are going to put him in spots to have a monster season. Allen will bounce back in a big way to set a career-high in sacks.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: Jack. The selection here could be Allen, and the third-year edge defender indeed has a chance to have a huge season in '21. But the thought here is that Jack is primed for the best season of his career in 2021 for multiple reasons. One is he's entering his sixth NFL season, and he's in the prime of his career. Two is he will have a better defensive line in front of him compared to last season, which should free him to make far more plays than he could a year ago – a year when he had perhaps his best season and a year in which he played at a Pro Bowl level. But the biggest reason Jack should have a big year is he could flourish in the Jaguars' 3-4 scheme, with coaches convinced his versatility and playmaking ability will fit perfectly with Cullen's aggressive approach.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: Allen. It didn't take Head Coach Urban Meyer long to start talking about Allen early this offseason. Allen is an ideal player – great on the field and in the locker room, and the kind of guy everyone wants. Every offensive coordinator last season slid the protection scheme his way without defensive ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, then Allen got hurt against Pittsburgh. He has been working hard and looks great – and he should be able to regain his 2019 form with a better surrounding cast in 2021.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: Allen. New scheme, more help on the interior, maybe a better game situation to rush the passer week-to-week. He's going to have a big season.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
Defensive Player to Watch in '21: The Jaguars' defensive MVP in 2021 will be Allen. No. 1, no one deserves it more; dealing with injuries and always playing from behind gave him really no shot to succeed in 2020. No. 2, he showed insane potential his rookie year with 10.5 sacks and the Jaguars have made moves to improve their run defense and have an offense that can put some points on the board. All of this will help Allen have the best season of his career and get to the quarterback in 2021.