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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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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville receiver Marqise Lee suffered what appeared to be a serious left knee injury during the first quarter of the Jaguars’ 17-6 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night, but coach Doug Marrone said they won’t know its full extent until Sunday.

“Obviously it looked bad,” Marrone said. “Doctors told me, ‘Hey listen, we’re not going to be able to know anything until tomorrow, and we’ll have more information tomorrow on it.”’

“… Did anyone think it didn’t look bad? I’m just saying it looked bad. I’m just like you in that I’m waiting for the doctor to tell me so I can tell you guys, but I know what I see. I’m not going to sit there and say it didn’t look bad. It looked bad.”

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Marrone on Lee’s injury: ‘It looked bad’Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is waiting for the doctor’s diagnosis, but acknowledges that Marqise Lee’s injury did not look good.
Lee was injured when he was tackled by Atlanta safety Damontae Kazee midway through the first quarter after catching a pass over the middle of the field. Lee’s left knee buckled immediately, and he grabbed it with both hands. Kazee was penalized on the play for lowering his helmet to initiate contact, and replays showed his helmet made contact with Lee’s knee.

The entire Jaguars receiving corps came out to be with Lee as he was put onto a cart and exited the field.

Kazee tweeted well wishes to Lee after the game.
Montae Kazee

@Damontaekazee
Before i go out on the field i pray for both teams to stay healthy , i was just trying to make a football play, i will never ever try to hurt anyone, i just want to reach out to you bro and tell you that you’ll be in my prayers everyday @TeamLee1

10:46 AM – Aug 26, 2018
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Lee, who signed a four-year, $34 million contract ($16.5 million guaranteed) in March, is the Jaguars’ most experienced receiver, with 171 catches for 2,166 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons with the team. He led the Jaguars in receptions (56) and was second in yards (702) in 2017. He’s also the best blocker among the receivers, so his absence will also impact the perimeter of the run game.

“Everybody’s got to step up,” said veteran Donte Moncrief, who joined the team in March on a one-year, $9.6 million guaranteed contract. “Everybody in the room’s got to be ready to go, from the young guys to me. He was one of the big roles in the offense.”

Moncrief caught three passes for 62 yards, including a 37-yard catch-and-run, before the first-team offense exited the game after one possession in the third quarter. Second-year players Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook combined to catch three passes for 15 yards. They will have to share Lee’s workload for however long he’s out, Cole said.

“I’ve just got to step up,” Cole said. “Like I said, he’s still going to be there spiritually. Just going to listen to him, keep learning and keep going moving forward.
“He can still be vocal and just not play. You never know what’s going on. Hopefully he’s good.”

Even though Kazee was penalized for the hit, Lee’s teammates were not angry at the second-year player out of San Diego State. Rather, some blamed the NFL’s recent rule changes.

“You can’t be mad at 27 [Kazee],” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “You have to be mad at the NFL; not mad at them, but that is how the rule is. People are scared to tackle normal because I guess they don’t want to do helmet-to-helmet and get flagged. … Game-changing stuff could happen. You don’t really want to blame anyone, but you feel bad for him.

“I don’t know, man, that’s just tough to see it happen to one of my teammates, period, but you can’t really blame 27.”

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Former UF defensive tackle Taven Bryan is sticking close to home. Well, his second home anyway.

With the 29th selection in Thursday’s NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Bryan to join one of the league’s top defenses and the Wyoming product was happy to hear he was headed to the Jags.

“Jacksonville’s an interesting situation because I was honestly surprised. With all of the players they have, I’m surprised they picked me,” Bryan said.

He said it felt great to finally find out where he would end up after having to wait for 28 other selections to be made ahead of him.

“Oh it kills ya. It kills ya sitting in there. You’re just waiting like waiting and like, ‘Oh, those people won’t pick me,’ and so you’re like, ‘OK, maybe those people will,” Bryan said. “And you kind of work your way down.”

Bryan’s selection extended the Gators’ streak of first-round draft picks to six years and gives the Jags one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2018 draft class.

Few players available possess Bryan’s physical gifts.

On ESPN’s telecast of the draft’s first round, analyst Mel Kiper Jr. compared Bryan’s ability with that of Houston Texan J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Former Florida DT Taven Bryan was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Chris Hays / Orlando Sentinel)
Bryan left college early to enter the draft as a junior, but he wasn’t sweating the possibility that he wouldn’t get picked, although for a while the first round became kind of iffy.

“You can’t worry to much about it. You go where you go and it’s all depending on … what teams need,” he said. “It was awesome. I feel very blessed and I feel very happy to have gotten the call.

“I expect just to come in and try to do the right thing and be the best dude I can be.”

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Bryan looks like he should a perennial Pro Bowler but that he disappeared too often in games during his college career.

Bryan certainly was drafted for his potential more than his production during three seasons at UF.

Bryan managed just 67 tackles at UF, culminating with a solid redshirt junior season featuring 40 stops, including six for loss.

But Bryan was in a class of his own at the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis.

The 6-foot-5, 291-pound Bryan ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds and benched-pressed 225 pounds 30 times. No DT performed better in the vertical jump (35 inches), broad jump (9 feet, 11 inches), three-cone drill (7.12 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle run (4.48 seconds).

Bryan was at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for Thursday’s draft. The 22-year-old arrived wearing a gray and blue plaid sport coat, white dress shirt and baby blue tie, with Bose headphones wrapped around his neck.

When his named was called, the native of Casper, Wyo., let out a sigh of relief before heading onstage to shake the hand of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

In Jacksonville, Bryan will join former teammate Dante Fowler Jr., although he didn’t get to know Fowler very well in the short time they spent together in Gainesville.

“It will be cool. I didn’t get to hang out with him that much,” Bryan said. “That would have been his last year and he was out pretty quick, but he’s a really good dude.”