Grigson bet hard on aging veterans and ultimately failed to balance that with high-performing young prospects. New hire Chris Ballard has already made strides to improve the defense by adding two of free agency’s top linemen: Johnathan Hankins and Jabaal Sheard. The Colts also drafted Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson, two impact defenders. The new faces could help the franchise return to the top of the AFC South.
With Blake Bortles’ future hanging in the balance, the Jaguars needed a strong upgrade in the running game to hide him as much as possible. They may have accomplished that with Fournette, who has a perfect combination of size, speed, and power. He’s the type of running back you can build an offense around, and the Jaguars are hoping he can make an immediate impact.
Of the projected starters on defense, a majority have three seasons or fewer of experience. That includes three starters entering their second season — Keanu Neal, Campbell, and Jones, as well as nickelback Brian Poole, an undrafted free agent who played a majority of the defensive snaps last season.
Ulbrich said that experience the young players got as rookies last season is invaluable, and it’s rare.
“A lot of times, young players aren’t given Cheap Jerseys Kids Cheap Jerseys No Shipping Fees that opportunity for whatever reason — the organization, coaches are scared, whatever,” Ulbrich said. “Because there were moments that were rough last year, where like I said, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. But it was really cool to see how they grew.”
As these young players get more experience, the defense will continue to get better. And while the Falcons still have work to do to build up that side of the ball, they haven’t let the offense fall by the wayside.