Free-agency series: Linebackers

Here is the eighth of a 10-part series breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars' free-agency needs, position by position:


Who’s on the roster: Russell Allen, Geno Hayes, John Lotulelei, Paul Posluszny, LaRoy Reynolds, Nate Stupar and J.T. Thomas.

Analysis: Posluszny had another great season in 2013 and capped it with a Pro Bowl appearance. He has led the team in tackles every season in Jacksonville and is the team’s best defensive player. His strength is playing the run and he’s not as effective in coverage. Hayes was a solid free-agent signing last season and played through a chronic knee problem that required offseason surgery. He should be completely healthy by the time organized team activities begin in April. The problem is the outside linebackers didn’t make many big plays and the lack of speed also contributed to the team’s trouble with tight ends. Thomas, Stupar, Allen and Lotulelei have been mainly special teams players though Thomas and Lotulelei did get more playing time toward the end of the season.

NFL free agents of interest: Brian Orakpo, Jason Worilds and Mike Neal.

Need meter: 7. The Jaguars have to get faster on defense and it starts with the linebackers. Posluszny is a machine in the middle but they need to upgrade the outside. Orakpo may cost more than they’re willing to spend but Worilds and Neal should have much more reasonable price tags. Expect the Jaguars to drat at leafst one linebacker as well.