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NFL Trade Deadline: 5 Players Who Make Sense for the Jaguars To Target

Which players should the Jacksonville Jaguars place calls on before next Tuesday's deadline?

A year ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars made one of the biggest deals of the trade deadline by striking an agreement with the Atlanta Falcons for Calvin Ridley.

Whether the Jaguars make the same kind of aggressive move at the 2023 deadline remains to be seen. A week from now, teams will be making their last-minute calls to strengthen their championship pursuits -- or build for the future.

If the Jaguars were to be buyers at the trade deadline, which players on the market would make the most sense? Here are five we believe are logical fits.

Danielle Hunter 

This one feels the most unlikely, for a few reasons. For one, Hunter is set to be 29-years-old by Week 8 and is going to be more expensive post-2023 than any other player on the list. Secondly, the Vikings have won two games in a row since reports of the Jaguars' interest in Hunter. Are they really going to be sellers?

The Vikings are now 3-4 after wins over the Chicago Bears and a statement win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. They play the Green Bay Packers two days before the trade deadline and have a real chance of being 4-4 at the deadline, with games against teams like the Saints, Broncos, Bears, Raiders, and the Packers again. There is a real chance the Vikings can end up pushing for a playoff spot in the NFC, so it wouldn't be far-fetched for them to just hold onto their best defensive player.

But if the Jaguars and Vikings were able to be on the same page regarding Hunter, he would obviously be a dangerous and versatile piece to add to the defense. There are edge snaps left to be divided that would allow Hunter to coexist with Josh Allen and Travon Walker, and he would also allow Walker to move around the line more and find more advantageous matchups along the front.

Josh Uche  

If the Jaguars want a pure designated pass-rusher who can line up in a wide nine 15 to 20 times per game, there may not be a better fit than Josh Uche. He wouldn't take many snaps away from Travon Walker considering Walker is No. 8 in snaps among all EDGE defenders and Uche is just No. 89. Uche has played fewer than 40 run defense snaps all season, while run defense snaps have accounted for for 30% of Walker's snaps. He can still play pass-rush snaps with Uche on the team, too, since Walker has the ability to slide inside. 

Among all pass-rushers with at least 50 pass-rush snaps, Uche is ranked No. 16 in pass-rush win-rate. He has legitimate talent as a third-down pass-rusher and is able to produce pressure at a consistent clip, but his lack of run-down value likely impacts just how much the New England Patriots value him. From a fit perspective, though, he would be a breathe of fresh air for the Jaguars' third-down package across from Josh Allen.

Chase Young

Arguably the best pure talent on this list (which says a lot considering Hunter is a Pro Bowl pass-rusher), Chase Young has fulfilled his potential in 2023. He ranks No. 4 in pressures and No. 8 in pass-rush win-rate and has been a dominant force for the Washington Commanders. The only issue is that he has done all of this for one of the worst Commanders teams in recent years.

Young didn't have his fifth-year option picked up, so there is a very real chance he is in the final months of his tenure with the Commanders. Injuries have sapped his production over the last four years, but he has proven himself so far in 2023. He is young, an elite pass-rusher, and can be signed by his new team to a long-term deal basically the instant he is in the building. He would be the home-run swing of this trade deadline. 

Carl Lawson  

One player who perhaps makes the most sense from a cost perspective is New York Jets defensive end Carl Lawson. Lawson signed a big deal with the Jets in 2021 before an Achilles injury ended his season before it began. He produced in 2022 but has seemingly lost reps to first-round picks Jermaine Johnson and Will McDonald, leaving him as the odd man out in the Jets' deep defensive line roation.

Among 82 pass-rushers with at least 100 rushes in 2022, Lawson ranked 28th in both pressures and pass-rush win rate (per PFF), essentially giving the same production as Arden Key. Lawson offers similar on-field value as a versatile pass-rusher who can win inside and out, and there are a lot of reasons to believe he is a better player than his odd 2023 season has indicated. Considering he was a healthy scratch a few weeks ago and has just two pressures in a limited role this year, he likely wouldn't require a substantial trade package to acquire. He will also be due $3.6 million of his $6 million salary for any team that trades for him.

Mike Onwenu

If there is one position on offense the Jaguars can improve at the deadline, it is their interior offensive line. The wide receiver room is expected to get a boost once Zay Jones returns from his knee injury, but offensive line depth is still a concern even when Walker Little is healthy. Little can, and should, start at left guard once he is healthy, but the Jaguars need more proven depth at the positon and a true backup for Brandon Scherff considering he has battled ankle injuries this season.

While the Patriots may not be chomping at the bit to trade Mike Onwenu, who just started at right tackle for them in a big win vs. the Bills, he would provide considerable cheap value for a team needing to find a versatile lineman who can fill in basically wherever. Onwenu has started games at right tackle, right guard and left guard in his career and wouldn't come with a big financial commitment since he is on the last year of his four-year rookie deal after being selected in the sixth round.