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Jaguars shore up defensive line with Christian Barmore at No. 25

The Jaguars are in a really interesting spot with the 25th pick. They still have a lot of holes on the defensive side of the ball, and could also use more explosive pieces on offense. However, new Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has spoken at length about the importance of building and maintaining an elite defensive line group (via John Oehser):

“I always believe you build your team around the defensive line, and then you move backwards – so that’s what we’re going to do,” Meyer said.

The Jaguars in 2020 were in the middle of the pack in ESPN’s pass rush and run stop win rate rankings, but that only generated 18 sacks, good for 31st in the league. Against the run, Jacksonville was just as poor, finishing 30th in the NFL in run defense. The Jaguars took some minor steps to addressing that problem by adding Roy Robertson-Harris and Malcolm Brown via trades and free agency, but the interior defensive line still needs some explosiveness.

That’s where we get to Barmore. Christian Barmore is a redshirt sophomore from the University of Alabama who seemingly came alive in the second half of 2020. Barmore was a first-time starter in 2020, and in a full season, recorded 9.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He also contributed three forced fumbles, and was a rock for an Alabama defense that came to life after facing Ole Miss.

From Big Cat Country’s Ryan Day:

If Barmore is there, he’s the pick. He’s a solid addition to a defensive line that sorely needs talent at every position. As John Shipley pointed out, quarterback is the greatest need on this roster but defensive tackle isn’t too far behind.

Barmore wins with his size and athleticism primarily. He measured in at 6’4 and weighed 310 pounds at Alabama’s pro day, and also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds. Barmore has a powerfully built frame and uses that to disengage himself from blocks with ease on occasions. He has a good understanding of blocking concepts from the interior of the defense, and has an explosive first step, which is evident from a 2.88 20 yard split in the 40-yard dash. Barmore also flashes very violent and powerful hands against the run and the pass, and uses his strong upper body to his advantage with a very good bull rush. Barmore also flashes some different techniques to his pass rush, occasionally using a swim move, and a cross chop as well. Alabama used him a lot as a three-technique in their defensive front, but also shifted to a one-technique depending on the call. He also flashed an ability to get to the QB via stunts and twists, and create pressure there.

One of the major problems with Barmore at this point is consistency. He showed flashes of the elite ability to use swim moves and cross chops along the defensive front, but is a very basic pass rusher at this point in time. Being a one-year starter, he is going to need some refinement on pass rush technique, but that shouldn’t dissuade people from thinking that he is one of, if not the top interior defensive linemen in this draft class.

Barmore would come into Jacksonville and be an immediate starter at one of the interior defensive line spots. Defensive Coordinator Joe Cullen said that the Jaguars will run a “hybrid” 3-4 and 4-3 attacking defense that wants penetration from its defensive linemen. Barmore could come in immediately and start at the three technique or slide to a five technique in a 3-4 defense. Barmore would be able to create havoc and use his natural athleticism to make plays, while Cullen, who is a defensive line coach by trade, works with him to refine his pass rush technique and hand placement.

With Tyson Alualu opting to not sign with Jacksonville and the Taven Bryan Experiment ending up as a dud, Barmore should be able to step in and contribute to a Jaguars defense that will look very different in 2021.

Top prospects remaining:

  • Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  • Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
  • Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
  • Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
  • Greg Newsome Jr., CB, Northwestern

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