He is considered a journeyman by NFL standards. He has played for five teams since 2009, kind of more like a nomad of sorts.
He has that look about him, big, tall and rangy. But to be honest, Pannel Egboh hasn’t been able to stick with any one team in the NFL. And until he showed what he could do from the defensive end position Saturday during the team’s scrimmage, not many fans in Jacksonville knew what Egboh could do.
Now, they are getting an idea of how this player, this free agent from Stanford, could be the catalyst that propels the Jaguars defensive to respectability this coming season.
At 6’6” and 287 pounds with good speed, range and agility, is Egboh the sack artist this team has needed since the days of Tony Brackens. If he continues on this path in the preseason, then the answer is a resounding, “YES.”
The Jaguars defensive line is a mixed bag and a motley crew all rolled into one. Holdovers like Jason Babin, Tyson Alualu and Andre Branch, all three of which are guaranteed a roster spot. Also figure in Jeremy Mincey. And then there is the team’s version of New Edition: New England Patriots Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love, Titans defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and former Buccaneers starter Roy Miller. And along with rookie free agent Paul Hazel, there is Egboh, the one who seems to stand out more than anyone I’ve seen.
And although I am a writer first and a fan second, I have become one of his biggest fans.
In the NFL, you cannot teach size and you cannot teach speed. You can teach technique and you can teach rhythm. Egboh is learning both.
Saturday night at the Jaguars’ team scrimmage, Egboh registered three quarterback sacks. He was fluid and looked to overmatch the offensive line (which says something about the line and his own play). But what he also did was give this franchise “hope,” which is something it lacked last season.
With Babin playing the role of “LEO” in head coach Gus Bradley’s defense and Andre Branch coming off injured reserve to become a pass rushing specialist and Alualu taking full advantage of his speed on the outside, those are three solid building blocks for this unit. Add Egboh and the middle of the line, which will be better this season, there is no reason to think Egboh cannot flourish.
While these are all big “ifs,” it is apparent Egboh could be the team’s biggest success story of the season. And if he is a success, this defense could be a success as well. A breakout season is something both he and this team needs.