Did somebody say the dreaded ‘B’ word for a pair of 2020 NFL Draft Picks?
In the modern-day NFL, there is no such thing as patience. Gone are the days where players on rookie contracts would get the full four years to establish themselves. Instead, the league hurtles towards demand for instant production at breakneck speed. Look in the rearview mirror of the last two decades, and you’ll see once-promising careers discarded with little remorse. Two years is how long you have to pass the eye test now before people start adding ‘bust’ to their lexicon.
For the Jaguars, this is a tale well told; years of poor drafting and talent mismanagement has seen more roster turnover in Duval County than the majority of the other 29 professional football destinations. As the new season draws near, the talent acquired in the 2020 NFL Draft are under the microscope. And in truth it doesn’t look particularly pretty for Jacksonville. First round pick CJ Henderson is already off the roster, traded to Carolina for Dan Arnold and chump change. And their next two picks – K’Lavon Chaisson and Laviska Shenault – have also had slow starts to their Jaguars careers. Is there a scenario where Chaisson and Shenault are no longer on this roster come Week 1?
2020 NFL Draft Picks: K’Lavon Chaisson – A Backfield Menace
Drafted with the 20th pick in the first round in 2020, K’Lavon Chaisson was a highly touted draft prospect. A true speed edge rusher, Chaisson burst onto the scene at LSU with an impressive sophomore season. In 13 games, Chaisson racked up 60 tackles, 13.5 TFL’s and 6.5 sacks as The Tigers won a National Championship. Hopes were high he could line up opposite Josh Allen and offer a fearsome pass rush tandem. But to date, Jaguars fans are still waiting for Chaisson’s career to take off.
In two seasons at TIAA Bank Field, Chaisson has started just eleven games. Despite the burst and dip demonstrated in Baton Rouge, he’s recorded just one sack each season. This offseason, The Jaguars drafted Travon Walker with the first overall pick. And with the rookie wasting no time in settling in, their 2019 first rounder looks set to be a backup. Within two seasons, Chaisson has effectively been relegated to the role of a designated pass rusher.
It should be noted that Chaisson is embracing his third coaching staff in three offseasons in Jacksonville. That for any young player represents a challenging environment to grow in. Hopes were high he would thrive in new defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s aggressive front seven. Yet in the first two preseason games he has had little moments of note, often around the action but rarely affecting it.
With Chaisson’s 2022 salary of $1.8m fully guaranteed, it would be a major shock to see him cut from this roster. There’s also little in the way of depth at outside linebacker on the depth chart, further strengthening his position. Unless a potential trade develops,Chaisson should get one last season to change the narrative of his Jaguars career.
2020 NFL Draft Picks: Laviska Shenault – A Receiver In A Running Back’s Body
A physical receiver who excelled getting the ball in space and breaking tackles, Laviska Shenault’s Colorado tape turned heads. And he began his Jaguars career brightly, registering 600 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. But 2021 saw him take a backwards step as he failed to see the endzone all year. In a campaign where leading receiver DJ Chark missed a lot of gametime, Shenault failed to grab the opportunity. He also led the team in drops as Jacksonville floundered in Trevor Lawrence’s debut season.
Much like Chaisson, Shenault may be the victim of the instability that has plagued the Jags the last two years. But it appears that the new regime aren’t particularly enamored with the third year receiver either. It was rumored Shenault was on the trade block back in March. And the front office bolstered the receiving corps this offseason, signing Christian Kirk & Zay Jones. Right now, Shenault is in competition with nine other guys for a backup role.
Battling injury niggles hasn’t aided his cause; Shenault has yet to see any game time this preseason. He has never particularly been known for his burst or speed, and as such requires something of a bespoke playbook. Shenaut offers a limited contribution, and it’s unsure if Doug Pederson is willing to accommodate him. Shenault’s contract isn’t guaranteed, but it does carry a $2m cap hit if he were to be cut. The Jaguars aren’t struggling for cap space, so this decision depends on what Press Taylor is looking for. It is reasonable to assume that Laviska shenault’s grip on a roster spot may be more tenuous than Chaisson’s. But if he is able to cling on, he has seventeen games to show his new OC what he can offer this offense.
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