Jason Babin to Jaguars: Why Veteran DE Was Great Pickup for Mel Tucker's Defense
The Redskins and Bills also put in a claim for Babin, a source told ESPN, but the Jaguars were awarded the defensive end because they had the worst record (2-9) of the teams that made claims.
This was exactly what the Jaguars needed, because Mel Tucker's defense has been significantly underachieving all season after playing well in 2011—despite the lack of offense.
The 2012 campaign, though, saw much of the same in results and frustrating offense. As a result, the defense unfortunately followed suit and it's no surprise Jacksonville sits at 2-9.
With that said, let's move ahead and see why Babin's move to Florida fits nicely in the AFC South.
Babin's Proven Potential
For one, although Babin is older than the rest of Jacksonville's defensive front, he's only age 32—which isn't old yet for a pass-rusher.
Secondly, that means he has a few strong years remaining and his recent production is proof of that. In 2010, Babin recorded 58 tackles, 12.5 sacks and forced two fumbles for the Tennessee Titans.
He then proceeded to a career year in 2011. As a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, he collected 18 sacks and 40 tackles with three forced fumbles. Now yes, 2012 is certainly a disappointment with just 26 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 11 games.
Nevertheless, his impact is what can really assist Jacksonville in the trenches. After all, it's arguably the team's worst aspect.
Jaguars' Desperate Need Up Front
“It’s a good pickup, obviously,” Mularkey said. “He’s had a lot of success over the last three years and we could use some help in that area and get some pressure on the quarterback. And he’ll fit what we’re doing.”
And Jacksonville sure does need to apply more consistent quarterback pressure.
The Jags have recorded a mere 13 sacks in 2012, which is tied for dead last with the Oakland Raiders. Even worse, Babin's in the midst of a down year and still performing better than anyone on the Jaguars' defensive line.
No one holds more than two sacks for Jacksonville this season, and Jeremy Mincey and C.J. Mosley have just 30 tackles each. Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars allow 410.5 total yards per game and a 64.0 completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks.
In a division where the Houston Texans are the standard and the Indianapolis Colts are on the rise, Jacksonville's only chance is to control better at the point of attack. Otherwise, the immediate future won't result any better than recent seasons.
What Lies Ahead in Jacksonville
First, let's see how the 2012 season can finish out.
With four straight games against the entire AFC East, Jacksonville then closes the year out against the Titans. Everyone but the New England Patriots are beatable in the East, because the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins remain suspect defensively and in passing offense.
Factor in Babin's presence, and Jacksonville's defense is more capable of creating havoc in the backfield and stopping the run. His skill set alone will take pressure off the rest of the defense, so those in coverage will see additional playmaking opportunities.
How will the Jaguars 2012 season pan out?
A byproduct of that is the offense getting more time with the ball.
We saw the potential of Mularkey's offense with Chad Henne at the helm, and the Jaguars are hoping that continues for the remainder of the season. Right now 6-10 is a realistic finish; however, Henne diced the Pats when in Miami, so don't rule out going 7-9.
As for next season, landing Babin allows Jacksonville to look to expand its prospects pool during the 2013 NFL draft.
Needing to improve pass protection and the ground game, there's plenty of stud offensive line talent to be had in April. Now, selecting a stud pass-rusher to complement Babin is also a great idea. That forces opponents to gear blocking schemes away from a constant double-team which bodes well for the entire front seven.
Regardless, the Jaguars greatly assisted their future by getting Babin to rush the passer. And it's clear Jacksonville is taking steps in the right direction.
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