Going LSU heavy, the Jacksonville Jaguars landed three former Tigers, and two of them are underrated sleepers who could break out in the 2024 NFL season. First-round pick Brian Thomas Jr. is a no-brainer for instant success, but the NFL world might be sleeping on second-rounder Maason Smith and fourth-round pick Jordan Jefferson.

Smith was highly regarded as a top-20 recruit when he entered LSU, but a sophomore-year ACL injury slowed his progress. Last season he totaled 28 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and adding 2.5 sacks. And while those numbers aren't awe-inspiring, Smith fits in the high-potential bucket.

At 6-foot-5 and 306 pounds, he clearly has the right size to play as an NFL defensive tackle and be a standout for the Jaguars. With his size and length, he has markers that compare favorable to the game's dominant defenders at the position — like Kansas City's Chris Jones.

Jaguars DT Maason Smith's ascension will likely take time

Louisiana State defensive lineman Maason Smith (DL24) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Finding consistent playing time may be a stretch early in the season for Smith. He will work behind several veteran Jaguars defenders.

But the fun thing is what Smith can do when he cracks the lineup. The rookie was quoted in msn.com, saying the Jacksonville Jaguars are the best fit for him.

“It’s just excitement, man,” Smith said. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 6 years old. Just being able to live that dream out, I told my mom yesterday, ‘Ma, it’s different when your dreams are staring you right in the face.

“When I got that call, when they said Jacksonville, my heart just dropped. Because I don’t think there’s a better situation for me to go to. I think that God always has a plan, and I preach about one thing: uncommon favor. And just sticking to that and believing that God’s going to put me in the place I need to be. And he did.”

Smith finds himself second on the depth chart along the defensive line, behind Roy Robertson-Harris. And he's listed at an end position, proving his versatility.

Jaguars DT Jordan Jefferson looks freakishly good

Jefferson said he's thrilled to still be in the trenches with Smith. He told jaguars.com that Jacksonville made a good double-dip into the LSU waters.

“(The Jaguars) are getting two dominant dogs,” Jefferson said. “They're getting two guys that are going to cause disruption. Not only in the run game, but in the pass game as well. They're getting just all-around quality guys — hard-working guys who show up to work every day and put forth all the effort.”

Jefferson had nice numbers in his college days. He totaled 90 tackles and proved his big-play capability with 21.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Getting Jefferson and Smith to make an impact could solidify the defense and perhaps help the team post a stronger finish in 2024. Last year's epic collapse saw an 8-3 start — invoking Super Bowl dreams — go up in the smoke of a 9-8 finish.

The Jaguars failed in the biggest moments of key games, with letdowns coming on both sides of the ball. That's why it's important for the newcomers to be on the field in 2024. They don't carry the sting or distraction of last year.

Players like Jefferson and Smith could be more critical to Jacksonville's success than many people could imagine right now.