Jaguars' K'Lavon Chaisson Given Strong Odds for Defensive Rookie of the Year

John Shipley

Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a bonafide stud rookie pass-rusher in Josh Allen who had the production to earn himself consideration for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Can the Jaguars see one of their newest rookies follow a similar path in 2020? 

In the first round of April's NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected defensive end/outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson with the No. 20 overall pick. Chaisson is set to join a defensive line featuring first-round picks from the previous two seasons in Allen and defensive tackle Taven Bryan, as well as potentially fifth-year veteran Yannick Ngakoue. 

With the amount of talent around Chaisson in his rookie season, it isn't a stretch to say he could be in a strong position to produce as a rookie since he will have impact defenders around him to help facilitate plays. In fact, Chaisson is seen as such an enticing candidate to produce as a rookie that BetGM has given him the sixth-best odds to win the award (+2000 or 20/1).

Chaisson trails only Washington defensive end Chase Young (+220), Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons (+550), Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen (+1100), Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray (+1100) and Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (+1400).

Jacksonville has high expectations for Chaisson as a rookie, even if he may be third in the pass-rushing pecking order in the event Ngakoue does play in 2020. If Ngakoue doesn't play, Chaisson should realistically see more reps but there is always going to be the question of the rookie transition.

"He’s a tremendous, tremendous team-guy. Six-three, 265 pounds. We feel like he can bring a presence on the edge," general manager Dave Caldwell said after drafting Chaisson. "He can set the edge as a very good run defender. You see him against big SEC tackles, locking guys out. We’ll play him probably in a 2-point stance and then he’ll be our rusher opposite of Josh (Allen) and Yannick (Ngakoue) and we’ll go from there."

"This is a guy that is really multifaceted, and we can play in some 3-4 looks obviously with Josh Allen and him and I think he offers a bunch of versatility on our defense with those two guys and Yannick," Caldwell said. 

In his college career, the 6-foot-3, 254-pound Chaisson recorded 9.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and one forced fumble, including a team-leading 6.5 sacks on LSU's National Championship team last year. Chaisson dealt with injuries throughout his college career that hindered his overall production, but it is clear the Jaguars do not see his minimal college production as a question mark. 

"But make no mistake about it, I look at him and people were talking like, ‘Well you know, sacks are whatever they may be.’ And I’m like, ‘The one thing about this guy right here is that he has speed.’ He has an unbelievable spin move," Marrone said.

"I think the speed [to] power is going to come and become better. I think once that comes, he can be a dominant rusher in this league. The one thing I do think is that, when you watch the film in our league, I think he can get a lot of penalties, meaning he is quick and fast, and he gets on the edge of those guys. We think he’s going to be a really productive player for us.”