|Gus Bradley hopes to turn Jags into one of the top defenses in the NFL. (USATSI)|
Gus Bradley's success in molding the Seattle Seahawks into one of the top defenses in the league helped him become a hot commodity on the coaching carousel last month and land the head coaching spot with the Jaguars.
Under Bradley, Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons emerged as a menacing edge rusher in Pete Carroll's 4-3 under defense, recording 33.5 sacks over the last three seasons from a spot Bradley refers to as the Leo or Elephant rusher. Now, as Bradley looks to re-tool the Jaguars' defense, the Monte Kiffin disciple is in search of a lithe defensive end in the mold of Clemons.
“It needs to be somebody who has good speed,” Bradley said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “Some teams may consider that a linebacker-type. We'll try and take a look at them and say, 'hey, can he play that Leo end spot?'”
The Jaguars could also be looking for a weakside linebacker to complement the Leo rusher.
“We're seeing a lot of zone teams so that Leo spot and our outside linebacker on the perimeter need to be guys who can set the edges,” Bradley said. “Zone teams are trying to stretch the perimeter and create vertical seams so it's important that those two edge guys can really set the edge, as well as give you some rush.”
Several potential hybrid rushers could be available for the Jaguars with the No. 2 overall pick. Damontre Moore of Texas A&M and Barkevious Mingo of LSU are both ranked in the top 10 of CBSSports.com's latest draft projections.
“It's pretty much like playing defensive end in college, the same position,” Mingo said of the Leo spot. “They're closely related and not really any different.”
Bradley indicated that the Jaguars could pursue an outside rusher through the draft, rather than via free agency. It's a sentiment shared by Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.
“We're trying to do it right through the draft,” Bradley said. “It stems through the leadership of our owner. The message from him is ‘let's just get better every day, Gus. Let's build this so we're not winning the AFC South, but we're owning the AFC South.' ”
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