'He's an Alpha Leader': Why Urban Meyer Considers Myles Jack a Core Player
Not every NFL team has a player like Myles Jack on its roster -- a player who brings pure emotion and intensity to all facets of the organization while also playing at a Pro Bowl-type level.
But the Jacksonville Jaguars do. Jack is the team's starting linebacker, best defender, vocal leader, and, according to head coach Urban Meyer, a true core player in the franchise's rebuild.
“Yeah, he’s an alpha leader, he’s a stud," Meyer gushed Thursday when asked about Jack. "I love the way he’s worked. He was a little overweight, he lost that weight immediately. He’s been A+ in the weight room and in the training."
Jack is fresh off the best season of his career but the Jaguars' defensive captain has been seen as special far before that. The 2016 second-round pick overcame injury concerns out of UCLA and has developed into a playmaker at the second level of the defense that the Jaguars can rely upon to make the big play.
Jack missed two games in 2020 but he still played like one of the best linebackers in the entire AFC and arguably the league. He recorded a career-high 118 tackles, a career-high six tackles for loss, and a career-high five pass deflections.
"I look at Myles Jack, he’s a guy that’s very fluid. A guy that can get downhill, very athletic and a guy who’s really good at open space," Jaguars assistant head coach and inside linebacker coach Charlie Strong said in February when he was hired.
According to Pro Football Reference, he also recorded the best yards allowed per completion (7.8) and yards per target allowed (6.0) of his career, to go along with one interception, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
Before his injury, Jack led the NFL in total tackles and still managed to finish tied for 15th. With that total, Jack posted his best “missed tackles” ratio of his career, only missing a tackle every 13.1 tackles. According to Pro Football Focus, he had 53 “stops” which according to PFF accounts for a negative play for the offense.
Jack has long been the heartbeat of the Jaguars' locker room. Young players look up to him as a model member of the organization and formerly as the go-to resource for any questions on Todd Wash's defensive scheme, a scheme Jack had played three different positions in.
It is for these reasons that Meyer considers Jack a core player, going along with others like edge defender Josh Allen. Meyer wants Jack to continue to be who he is because that is who has established himself as a key piece of the Jaguars' future.
"You know, you need your Josh Allens and Myles Jacks to be who they are. And when I talk about core players, everyone wants to talk about free agency and the NFL draft, but I always try to make sure we mention the guys that I see [as] core players," Meyer said.
"‘Does he have to play better?’ Yeah, a lot of the core players have to. But we’ve addressed it and he’s done everything we’ve asked and above and beyond since we stepped foot in Jacksonville.”
Jack will be expected to be an impact defender in Jacksonville's new scheme in 2021. Meyer will look to establish his culture and build momentum for the future, and players like Jack are expected to be the foundation on which that future is built upon.