How Arik Armstead Can Push the Jaguars' Defensive Line Over the Top

Arik Armstead could be the answer to the Jacksonville Jaguars' prayers along the defensive line.
Jaguars director of football communications Dylan Morton talks with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Arik Armstead (91) at the end of the organized team activity session Monday, June 3, 2024 at EverBank StadiumÕs Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jaguars director of football communications Dylan Morton talks with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Arik Armstead (91) at the end of the organized team activity session Monday, June 3, 2024 at EverBank StadiumÕs Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

Last season, the average age among the Jaguars starting defensive linemen was 26 years old.

Younger players like Travon Walker and Josh Allen have already established themselves as part of this generation's next top wave of talent. However, the Jaguars have lacked the presence of an established veteran with playoff experience.

That's where the addition of Arik Armstead comes into play. Throughout his NFL career, the former 49er has played in 3 NFC championships and 2 Super Bowls.

The Jaguars have won three playoff games in the last 15 years, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson says players like Armstead can help bring the franchise over the hump.

“That leadership is going to be vital to the success that we have and having more of those guys on the roster only helps. Then, once we get him out there on the grass working with the guys I think you're going to see an ultimate pro in the way approaches everything.” said Pederson.

Armstead’s leadership skills should make him an invaluable asset this season, but his potential to contribute extends much further than that.

Last season, Armstead had a top-five pass-rushing grade among interior defensive linemen, according to Pro Football Focus.

In nine seasons with the 49ers, Armstead amassed 302 tackles, 33.5 sacks and 88 QB hits.

According to Coach Pederson, Armstead’s playoff experience and leadership ability sets an example for younger players to follow.

“In December and January, you need guys like that. when you turn it over to the players and the guys that have been there, it means more coming from them." said Pederson.

Through the first four seasons of his career, Armstead usually lined up on the edge (1,048 snaps according to PFF). Since 2019, Armstead has primarily been used as an interior linemen.

Armstead’s best season came in 2019, following the position change. He led the 49ers with 10 sacks, helping them reach the Super Bowl.

New defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen is expected to implement a 4-3 defensive front,
likely giving Armstead the opportunity to contribute as a three-technique.


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Tyler Carmona

TYLER CARMONA