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    5 Jacksonville Jaguars Breakout Candidates in 2024 Include DaVon Hamilton and Devin Lloyd

    With the Jaguars looking for a bounce back season, which returning players are potential breakout candidates in 2024?

    Heading into 2024, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to bounce back from missing the playoffs in 2023. To do so, they made several offseason additions. However, they’ll also need to count on some of their returning players to take a step forward and break out.

    Here are five candidates to keep your eye on this season.

    Jacksonville Jaguars Breakout Candidates

    QB Trevor Lawrence

    This one is a layup and is by far the easiest selection of them all. However, it still must be made.

    So far in his career, Lawrence has yet to fully break out as the elite, top-five talent many believe he can be. Following his five-year, $275 million extension, though, he’s poised to do just that.

    After a lost rookie season under Urban Meyer, Lawrence took a step forward in 2022, leading the Jaguars to the playoffs. Despite that, he didn’t break out in 2023 like everyone thought he would.

    That wasn’t entirely his fault, though. In addition to suffering multiple late-season injuries, Lawrence suffered from a lot of dropped passes.

    According to Dan Pizzuta of The 33rd Team, Lawrence had the most lost EPA (Expected Points Added) of any quarterback due to dropped passes in 2023. Now, Lawrence likely has the best supporting cast of his career.

    In addition to returning a healthy Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and Travis Etienne Jr., the Jaguars added Gabe Davis in free agency and Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Davis and Thomas Jr. both specialize in deep balls, which is something Lawrence has been wanting to throw more of throughout his entire career.

    If everyone stays healthy, Lawrence has everything he’ll need to take a massive step forward.

    LB Devin Lloyd

    A first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Lloyd is a player the Jaguars desperately need to live up to expectations.

    After a strong start to his career in 2022, LLoyd hit a rookie wall and ended up becoming a liability, specifically in coverage. At different points, the Jaguars were benching Lloyd for Chad Muma to try and get consistent play.

    MORE: Jaguars Executive Tony Khan Opens Up About Trevor Lawrence’s Extension

    However, he took a big step in 2023. After allowing a 77.2% completion percentage and 648 yards in coverage in 2022, Lloyd allowed a 69.4% completion percentage and 441 yards in 2023. He also allowed two fewer touchdowns and missed 2% fewer tackles.

    Now, heading into 2024, Lloyd will look to take his game to a new level. Under new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, Lloyd has been reportedly receiving more reps at the line of scrimmage in OTAs and minicamp. He also has, by many reports, looked physically on another level.

    “Each offseason, there is one player who shows up to OTAs looking like a completely different player,” John Shipley, a local Jaguars beat reporter, said. “For the Jacksonville Jaguars this year, that player is linebacker Devin Lloyd.”

    Given Lloyd’s physical talent and impressive athleticism, if he can play with the new level of confidence and aggression he has shown so far this offseason, he is more than poised to break out big-time.

    RB Tank Bigsby

    Heading into his second year, Bigsby will need to flush his rookie year and take it as nothing but a learning experience. A third-round pick in 2023, he recorded just 50 carries for 132 yards, two touchdowns, and lost two fumbles in 2023.

    Bigsby struggled the most in the passing game, however, as he only had four targets last season for one catch and two drops, including one that resulted in an interception.

    Despite that, the Jaguars expect Bigsby to take a step forward this season. And if he doesn’t, it won’t be for a lack of trying. The team has been looking for a reliable second option behind Etienne, and they want Bigsby to be that guy.

    “It’s hard to put necessarily a rep count on it, but you do want to keep him as healthy as you can throughout the season, and that’s why we’ve talked about this, too — as a staff and myself — making sure Tank gets opportunities to get out there and take some of the pounding off of Travis,” head coach Doug Pederson said back in May.

    If he can flush his fumbles and passing game struggles and come back with a clear head, Bigsby will be given the opportunity and workload to break out. All he has to do is take it.

    DT DaVon Hamilton

    While 2023 was supposed to be Hamilton’s breakout season, it might actually be 2024. Heading into the 2023 preseason, Hamilton had been viewed by many media members as a dominant force in practices and his first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

    However, following that game against the Cowboys, Hamilton developed a spinal abscess that left him out for almost half the season. Upon his return, he was not fully healthy and was essentially a liability when on the field, frequently being pushed around and displaced in both the run game and pass rush.

    Now in 2024, Hamilton is finally fully back to 100% health. Evaluations will still need to be made in practice when the pads come on, but if he can return to what he was doing last offseason, he could be ready to take that jump everyone was looking for last season.

    S Antonio Johnson

    The Jaguars’ 2023 NFL Draft was heavily criticized, and for good reason. However, they found a fifth-round steal in Antonio Johnson, who many thought could have gone as high as the second round.

    As a rookie, Johnson played in 13 games and recorded two interceptions. However, he did that as a depth piece. Heading into 2024, there’s a good chance Johnson will start at strong safety, a spot once held by Rayshawn Jenkins, who was released back in March.

    If he does, in fact, take the job left open by Jenkins, Johnson will no doubt be in line for the best season of his career. Additionally, if he continues to blossom, he could help improve a Jaguars defense that struggled at times in 2023, especially at the strong safety spot.

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