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Three Jacksonville Jaguars – Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, and Yannick Ngakoue – were named to CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco’s top 100 NFL list.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defense gets some more love this offseason.

In his recent list of the top 100 players in the NFL, Pete Prisco of cbssports.com has included three Jaguars players, all who should make an impact on this season. It’s a list he said isn’t easy to compile because of the talent in the NFL.

“So dive in, look around, complain, moan and groan – I expect all of it – but putting together a list like this isn’t easy,” Prisco writes. Good players get left out because we have an abundance of them in the NFL right now and there is a giant middle class after the 25 or so dominant group of stars.”

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The former Jaguars beat writer here in Jacksonville turned NFL analyst listed defensive end Calais Campbell 17th on his list. Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars controversial cornerback and arguably the best player on the roster, comes in at No. 33. Yannick Ngakoue, who is seeking a new deal from the team in the final season of his rookie deal, comes in at No. 71. The Jaguars can ill afford the edge rusher to hold out or miss time this season because of a financial distraction.

“He has 29.5 sacks in his first three seasons and had 9.5 a year ago,” Prisco writes about Ngakoue, who was a third-round pick out of Maryland in 2016. “It’s no wonder he’s looking for a big contract.”

Ngakoue and Campbell form one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL. The Jaguars also added Kentucky edge rusher John Allen to the mix this season with the seventh pick in the NFL Draft this past April.

Campbell has been the undisputed leader of this defense since he signed a free-agent deal with Jacksonville in the free agency in 2017. At 32 years old, he is finding a rhythm many players his age are still searching for. The defensive scheme designed by coordinator Todd Wash plays to Campbell’s strengths and has allowed him to have his two best seasons of his career in Black and Teal.

Prisco thinks that despite a dip in the overall performance of the defense in 2018, Campbell still played at an ultra-high level.

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“His sack numbers went down some, but he was better last year than he was in 2017 when he got Defensive Player of the Year consideration,” he added.

The ranking of Ramsey is a bit of a question given his talent level and how he plays against top-level talent. The former 2016 first-round draft pick (in the same class with Ngakoue), made the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season in 2018. The Jaguars have already announced they will pick up his fifth-year option in 2020 that will pay him $13.7 million.

“He wasn’t as dominant as expected last season, but I see him bouncing back in a big way. The talent is there to be the best in the league,” Prisco wrote.

The three players helped the Jaguars finish fifth in the NFL in total defense last season.

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Cheap Nike Jacksonville Jaguars Josh Allen Jersey Authentic 2019

JACKSONVILLE – This was a big surprise in the best way imaginable.

That was the consensus around the Jaguars Thursday night after using the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft on Josh Allen, an edge player from the University of Kentucky.

The Jaguars couldn’t have been more surprised Allen was available.

They couldn’t have been happier, either.

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“As it was coming down, there were a number of picks in front of us where we thought he would go,” Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said shortly after selecting Allen. “When he fell to us, he was a superior football player – and too good a player to possibly pass up.”
Allen (6-feet-5, 260 pounds), the 2018 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was a consensus Top 5 selection in most mock drafts leading to Thursday.
“In most of the hypothetical scenarios we put together, he was gone,” Coughlin said.

But Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said there was a feeling in the last week or so that Allen might be available at No. 7.

“About a week ago, I started doing some due diligence and talking to people around the league, and this was the guy who kept coming up like, ‘Hey, he might be there because of what some teams need and what some teams are going to go with,” Caldwell said.

While the top three selections – Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1, Ohio State edge player Nick Bosa to the San Francisco 49ers and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams – were widely projected before the draft, the Oakland Raiders surprised many by selecting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell No. 4 overall.

When the New York Giants selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ selection of highly-regarded linebacker Devin White of Louisiana State, it left the surprising scenario of Allen available for the Jaguars at No. 7.

“We thought he was the guy that if two quarterbacks went we could be staring at,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell also said while much pre-draft speculation focused on a possible trade the Jaguars got no legitimate trade offers for the selection.

“We got one call before from way down in the first round that wasn’t worth our time,” Caldwell said. “It would have had to have been something significant and we weren’t moving into the 20s for what they were offering.”
Jaguars draft Kentucky DE Josh Allen
The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Kentucky DE Josh Allen in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen carries the American flag onto the field during introductions before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)
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Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen carries the American flag onto the field during introductions before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

David Stephenson
Portrait of Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen during the NFL Scouting Combine, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Indianapolis. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)
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Portrait of Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen during the NFL Scouting Combine, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Indianapolis. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)

Todd Rosenberg/Todd Rosenberg 2019
Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Allen in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Allen in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mark Humphrey/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Caldwell said one reason the team didn’t believe Allen would be available was the belief was three teams ahead of them – the Raiders, Jets and Giants – all would take pass rushers. The Raiders and 49ers indeed focused on that area, but the Jets’ selection of Williams and the Giants’ selection of Jones left Allen on the board.

Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson, a player widely projected to the Jaguars before the draft, was selected by the Detroit Lions No. 8 overall. Caldwell called Hockenson “a very good player.”

“We had Josh rated a level higher than him (Hockenson) as a player,” Caldwell said. “We said from the get-go we would take best available player.”

Coughlin called Hockenson “very close to up where we were.”

“But Allen was the higher thought-of player,” Coughlin said, adding that the Jaguars also considered offensive line at No. 7.
“We were very much involved in offensive linemen, the tight end and the outstanding defensive player if he fell to us,” Coughlin said. “That’s kind of the way it went.”
Caldwell said the Jaguars also liked Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who was selected by the Buffalo Bills No. 9 overall.

“He was a consideration; we like Ed,” Caldwell said. “But if we were going to go defense it was going to be more on the edge.”

Caldwell said he envisions Allen initially playing edge rusher in passing situations opposite fourth-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, a Pro Bowl selection following the 2017 season. Caldwell said he would play a role similar to former defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who had eight sacks in 2017 before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams midway through this past season.

Allen was among the Jaguars’ 30 pre-draft visits in March, a time when – as was the case during most of the pre-draft process – it seemed unlikely he would be available when the Jaguars selected No. 7.

“We had a real fine visit with him,” Coughlin said, adding with a smile. “We kidded him about where he was going to go. He said, ‘Well, maybe you’ll have to trade up.’ So, I just reminded him of that one.”