K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
It seems like whatever I do with my new-found power as the GM of the Jaguars will immediately endear me to the fans (however many are actually left) in Jacksonville/London more so than that grumpy old gremlin Tom Coughlin ever did (I know he’s not there anymore but his stench is all over this franchise). But instead of trying to understand the inadequate decisions of a putrid team that will undoubtedly mess up this April, I am going to take what I think to be the best option for this franchise.
TLDR; I am better than Tom Coughlin and the current Jaguars GM with no previous experience other than being involved for the last 2 years of BGN Mock Drafts, and the Jaguars definitely won’t pick this guy and will mess it up because London is calling.
The Jaguars have a LOT of holes. And we are not just talking about their offensive line forcing Uncle Rico into ridiculous advanced salsa footwork every snap last year. The offense needs an overhaul, and the defense has pretty much lost its identity by trading away Jalen Ramsey. Meanwhile, your best remaining players in Yannick Ngakoue/Telvin Smith are imploring Twitter to help them to be anywhere but there. Luckily, my co-GM @PalaniappanKM picking OT Tristan Wirfs from Iowa at 9 gave me some wiggle room into focusing on their next pressing defensive needs with a plethora of high-level talent on the board.
The position I was concentrating on going into this was CB, to try and salvage some of the Ramsey situation. Issue is that my #2 CB after Okudah was Kristian Fulton, who went 1 spot prior to the Raiders, and looking at the remaining 1st round trio of CJ Henderson/Jeff Gladney/Trevon Diggs I thought that individuals on that relative tier could be had in the second round. So the next best thing, as we know too well in Philly, is to build through the trenches. With Calais Campbell gone, and Ngakoue currently begging on social media to be sent to the CFL if a real trade doesn’t materialize before the season, why not grab a player that could fill that soon-to-be void?
K’LAVON CHAISSON, WELCOME TO ENGLA…JACKSONVILLE!!!
College Career: 2(ish) years at LSU, 2 year starter. 92 total tackles with 46 solo tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble.
Freshman Season: SEC All-Freshman squad.
*Sophomore Season: Played in 1 game before tearing his ACL
RS Sophomore Season: First-Team All-SEC and Defensive MVP of 2019 Peach Bowl (vs Oklahoma).
These are not necessarily stats that jump off the page to scream “TAKE ME IN THE FIRST ROUND!”. This is a man that was rated 5* coming out of high school after only playing 2 years of football – he had quit football before high school to focus on basketball - yet became First Team All-State in Texas in his first year of football his junior season. Taking out his true college sophomore season due to tearing his ACL, he has only played 4 years of competitive football to date. This, my friends, is what Gordon Ramsey likes to refer to as “F***ING RAWWWW”. So, yeah, there could be some question marks on how Chaisson is going to show up off the bat against NFL linemen, but as we all know there is an all-powerful mitigator going into draft season: SEC Defense. He regularly bullied SEC linemen week in and week out. He will be the first to say that he did not have the sack stats that we are used to for 1st round EDGE (looking at you Derek Barnett), but to use his words,
“Don’t let sacks fool you. Every game you watch, I’m making production. My impact is being felt. I’m not just a pass rusher. I can affect games in any other way,” he said. “... Even if I’m not getting sacks, (consider) my pressures and hurries. I’m always in the quarterback’s face. Any offensive linemen I’ve gone against will tell you they’ve felt my presence.”
That is some type-A Alpha confidence right there. And if Jacksonville needs anything it is a player that believes they are the best, and they are going to continue to prove people wrong the second they step out on the field. I mean, Gardner Minshew is oooooozing confidence and look how much better that offense looked once he stepped in (a personal apology to Philly’s son, Big Dick Nick). This is the kind of guy that you want on a defense that is losing its identity with the way the Front Office is handling its stars.
Before we jump into the film, I want to point out that Chaisson was chosen by the LSU staff to wear their hallowed #18 jersey. LSU’s jersey No. 18 tradition was born in 2003 when quarterback Matt Mauck led the Tigers to their first national title in football since 1958. Mauck’s No. 18 became synonymous with success – both on and off the field – as well as a selfless attitude that has become the epitome of being an LSU football player. It is not lost on this co-GM that the #18 jersey is synonymous with high character, leader and absolute beast. I think that this goes much farther with a team like Jacksonville that is looking to reshape its image with high-character players to lead the team forward as they contemplate a move across the pond (sorry that I keep bringing it up in this write-up but man oh man what a hilarious debacle this potential move has turned out to be). The importance of this is not lost on Chaisson either:
It’s an honor to be rewarded to Number 18 in this program. A way to recognize true leadership on and off the field. Thank you @LSUfootball and others that selected @LCush79 and myself to represent. I can assure you it is in the right hands. #GeauxTigers— K’Lavon Chaisson (@S4CKGURU) August 3, 2019
This may just be intangibles taking over, but high character guys don’t dye their mustaches yellow and find themselves out of the league 1 year after being the cover of Madden…
With that being said, Spider Graph time!!! Via Mockdraftable:
Ahh yes, the spider-graph. Catnip to BGN readers. As Chaisson did not do any workouts at the NFL Combine, and had planned to complete everything at his Pro-Day (that decision aged poorly), his graph is left wanting. He is being compared to other LB’s, so his height and weight are way up there in percentile. I believe that Chaisson will fill more of the Von Miller-type role in whatever defense the NFL has in store for him. The Jaguars already have Josh Allen (the OLB, not the QB) so these two could wreak havok on either side of the line of scrimmage. Both individuals can drop back in pass protection as well as pull those ears back and feast on QB’s, so this pick would just make the DC’s job that much easier. And in a division boasting Ryan Tannehill (lol), Deshaun Watson and his even more hilarious WR corps than your 2019 Philadelphia Eagles, and the ghost of Phillip Rivers’ past, I think now is the right time to beef up those defensive EDGE rushers.
“Wow you make it sound so easy! I would be on board with this guy just from your Hemingway-esque verbose, but where is the proof??”
Great question, quarantine-induced imaginary friend, so let’s get right to the tape!
To quote Chaisson from the NFL Combine:
“I’m actually the most valuable player in this draft ... and we all know that. When you hire somebody, do you want to hire someone who speaks one language? Or do you want to hire somebody that speaks three languages? I speak three languages. I can pass rush, drop in coverage and cover anybody you want me to cover, and I can play the run. No offensive lineman will ever just move me off the ball and bully me.” So, let’s dive into each of his languages.
This man wants to hurt on QB’s. There are no two ways about it. He has an incredibly high IQ as a pass rusher, and seems to know how the Offensive Lineman is going to act and then react to his pass rush before the snap:
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 14, 2020
• A+ juice out of the starting blocks
• High levels of bend (++)
• Crafty and creative hand usage
• Underrated run defender
• Production upside (+)
• Lots of similarities to Whitney Mercilus pic.twitter.com/ESIm5PgKDN
You can see just how hot that motor runs when he pins his ears back in both the run and pass. Much more interested in how this translates to his pass rushing ability in the league, as we will get to his run stopping later. His juice out of the starting blocks is…juicy. Bends around those SEC linemen like a sapling in the breeze and uses a range of cunning hand techniques to move the tackle to get a better read on where the play is going.
"ALEXA, SHOW ME 'BURST', PLEASE!" #KLavonChaisson #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/AXDdwyg3Qx— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) January 11, 2020
Here is the bend we were talking about. His reactionary speed once the ball is snapped is instantaneous, and his ability to get almost a 45-degree angle on that bend gives him a straight path past the Tackle’s outreaching arms and directly into the Quarterback. That is something any Defensive Coordinator would be drooling over, and we don’t need an over-sized hoop drill at the underwear Olympics to tell us Baby Got Bend.
This is an underrated aspect of Chaisson’s game, as GM’s and Coaches are going to be focused on his pass rushing acumen when drafting him. Similar to many of these EDGE prospects in recent drafts, their coverage ability is what will set them apart as teams continue to move to “hybrid” defenses. If an EDGE cannot drop back into coverage, he cannot stay on the field for 3-downs in today’s pass happy NFL. The clip below shows some of his ability against Alabama:
Before the 2019 CFB season, K'Lavon Chaisson said he's legit when it comes to pass coverage. Against Alabama, he dropped back in coverage more (21) than he rushed (18).— WBG84 (@WBG84) February 18, 2020
On 3rd & 10, Chaisson drops back and chased down Henry Ruggs on a 1st down reception. #GiantsPride #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/k6NAWP7I8Z
Although he did not make a spectacular INT or Pass Defend, he jumps out of his stance into his zone-flat, moves within his zone to the Quarterback’s eyes while staying fluid, and actually puts himself in a great position to stay in front of the comeback route from Jeudy on the outside. Even when the ball went elsewhere, he flies to the spot on the field and makes the tackle on Ruggs, 18 yards down the field from where he started. That is some impressive athleticism out of an EDGE, and an added bonus for the defense that winds up with him.
For someone with shorter arms than average for an EDGE (peep that Spidergraph above, 44th Percentile) you would think he has an extreme disadvantage against the behemoths on the end of an SEC or NFL Offensive Line. Luckily, it seems Chaisson is aware of that and utilizes his tenacity and technique to set the edge and assist in run support. What we see in the following clip is Chaisson (32 ¼” arms) going up against fellow First Round prospect Andrew Thomas (36 ½” arms).
We talk so much about length with trench players but here K'Lavon Chaisson (32¼") is more effective using his length than Andrew Thomas (arms: 36⅛") despite shorter arms. Knowing how to use length (timing, hand placement, etc) is way more important than just having length. pic.twitter.com/MKuxwSYdWO— John Owning (@JohnOwning) March 4, 2020
If this is what to expect from Chaisson on Sundays this Fall, I think he will be much closer to a complete prospect than many think going into the draft.
Another clip from his game against Florida shows his ability to shed and not get washed down the line. (Watch the first 10 seconds)
If we being real, K’Lavon Chaisson might be worth moving up for more than these receivers.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) March 31, 2020
Was a nightmare for Florida all night here. His quickness is insane off the edge. pic.twitter.com/0Cp0hk4k8j
He moves into the middle, flowing with the Tackle, immediately understands it is a counter, sheds the pulling Guard and wraps up the Running Back for a TFL. This is going to be a huge part of his game at the next level with the crazy stunts NFL offenses throw these days, and it is just going to get weirder (see: 2020 49ers). His ability to read and react to the run game in the split second the play develops is a testament to his high football IQ and his freak athleticism. Although he didn’t test athletically at the combine, I am sure his 3-cone shuttle would have been ridiculous.
As with any prospect, there are things for Chaisson to work on. Luckily, I found that most of his current projections for “Needs Improvement” are simply to be playing football longer and learn some more refined technique from a good DL coach.
I believe the main knock against Chaisson is the lack of sacks that fans are used to from their team’s first round draft pick. This lack of sack production can be attributed to playing on an LSU defense that boasts an entire starting lineup that will be shirting up on Sundays, either this year or very soon, as well as defenses starting to focus on him as the year went on. But sack production isn’t everything, as we have had to realize with our first-born son Fletcher Cox the last few years. Chaisson has a nose for the football, and he wants to be a wrecking ball against the pass and run. He is consistently in the face of the Quarterback, and if I could find an accurate depiction of his hurries and knockdowns (something that NCAA doesn’t seem to put emphasis on) I am sure his stats would blow the roof off.
His technique, although effective against SEC linemen, can definitely use some work. Offensive Tackles at the NFL level are all going to be at Andrew Thomas’ level or better, and he got as much as he gave against the former Georgia Bulldog. With a Defensive Line Coach teaching him the appropriate ways to leverage his body and effectively use his hands to keep Tackles away from him, I believe that the sack production will follow.
This is an Alpha-Male on the gridiron, and he just turned 20 years old. He has been playing competitive football at a high level for 4 total years, and the roof is the ceiling for his potential. As my college football coach put it, “potential is a French word meaning you haven’t done shit yet”, and while I think that is true for many NFL draftees that look great running around in spandex, Chaisson’s tape speaks for itself. The man carries himself like a 10 year vet, and he will have to match the fire he had in college when he is going up against NFL Tackles snap in and snap out.
I actually think that he is going to go higher than this (early indications are that Atlanta is all-in on Chaisson earlier in the teens – their entire defensive staff was at his Combine interview), but if the Jags find themselves at 20 with him on the board, they need to get Roger on FaceTime or Zoom immediately. Alternative options are definitely the additional CBs left on the board in this mock draft exercise (CJ Henderson/Jeff Gladney/Trevon Diggs), so do not be surprised come draft night if one of those guys are called when the Falcons pick Chaisson.
Take a look at his LSU career highlights below, this man-child is going to be wrecking NFL Offensive Lines for years to come.
Do you approve of this pick?
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2020 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Bengals (grantspectations): QB Joe Burrow
2) Washington (ablesser88): EDGE Chase Young
3) Lions (CMG97): CB Jeff Okudah
4) Giants (selgae aihpledalihp): LB Isaiah Simmons
5) Dolphins (dceagles): WR CeeDee Lamb
6) Chargers (dapeltz13): QB Tua Tagovailoa
7) Panthers (wardbell92): DT Derrick Brown
8) Cardinals (drc242): OT Mekhi Becton
9) Jaguars (Palaniappan K M): OT Tristan Wirfs
10) Browns (WentzAndFolesFan): WR Jerry Jeudy
11) Jets (Dr_Horrible): OT Jedrick Wills
12) Raiders (Phillysolo): WR Henry Ruggs III
13) 49ers (eagles0132): OT Andrew Thomas
14) Buccaneers (BuckeyedEagles): DT Javon Kinlaw
15) Broncos (J. Wil): S Xavier McKinney
16) Falcons (Kephas): EDGE A.J. Epenesa
17) Cowboys (PhillyBirdGang): S Grant Delpit
18) Dolphins (dshelton5): QB Justin Herbert
19) Raiders (fredhugo): CB Kristian Fulton
20) Jaguars (ItownBallers22): EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
21) Eagles (20Safety_Hazards)
22) Vikings (Kramerpoo):
23) Patriots (Phoenix X Minimus)
24) Saints (big DUB):
25) Vikings (MrW254):
26) Dolphins (SemperFilly):
27) Seahawks (mattywils):
28) Ravens (Dirtybirdy47):
29) Titans (mr_england):
30) Packers (Nishant R SambhiReddy):
31) 49ers (Fly Like An Eagle):
32) Chiefs (Leo Bedio):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Jaguars should pick in the 2020 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Jaguars select at No. 20?
This poll is closed
2020 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft
1) Bengals: QB Joe Burrow
2) Washington: EDGE Chase Young
3) Lions: CB Jeff Okudah
4) Giants: LB Isaiah Simmons
5) Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa
6) Chargers: QB Justin Herbert
7) Panthers: DT Derrick Brown
8) Cardinals: OT Mekhi Becton
9) Jaguars: OT Tristan Wirfs
10) Browns: OT Andrew Thomas
11) Jets: OT Jedrick Wills
12) Raiders: WR CeeDee Lamb
13) 49ers: WR Jerry Jeudy
14) Buccaneers: DT Javon Kinlaw
15) Broncos: WR Henry Ruggs III
16) Falcons: EDGE A.J. Epenesa
17) Cowboys: CB C.J. Henderson
18) Dolphins: OT Josh Jones
19) Raiders: CB Kristian Fulton