Calais Campbell a badly needed boost for Jaguars' pass rush

Calais Campbell last season had eight sacks, 53 tackles, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception. AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to sign former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, who is coming off of a year in which he had eight sacks, 53 tackles, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception.

ESPN 150 ranking: No. 4

Grade: Easily an A. The Jaguars needed to upgrade their pass rush, and they've landed the best rusher available in free agency. Campbell has 56.5 sacks in his nine seasons. After playing as a reserve as a rookie in 2008, he has recorded at least five sacks in each of the past eight seasons. And he has had five seasons with seven or more sacks, including a career-high nine in 2013.

What it means: The Jaguars can play the 6-foot-8, 282-pound Campbell at what they call their big end (strong side of the offensive formation), the spot where Jared Odrick and Tyson Alualu have played the past two seasons. The Jaguars cut Odrick last month, and Alualu, the team's first-round pick in 2010, is expected to hit the free-agent market Thursday, so there was a huge hole at that position. The addition of Campbell gives the Jaguars a bit more flexibility with their first-round pick, too. They don't have to choose an edge rusher there, and could instead go running back (Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook), defensive back (Jamal Adams or Marshon Lattimore), or even quarterback.

What's the risk? Though Campbell has been remarkably durable, missing only six games in nine seasons, he will turn 30 on Sept. 1. Can he keep up his steady production as a pass-rusher into his 30s? The Jaguars might need to monitor his playing time, and that depends on which players they have behind him. Still, the reward is worth the minimal risk because the Jaguars' pass rush has been one of the NFL's worst over the past five seasons (165 sacks, 28th in the NFL).