As I've written numerous times over the last several weeks and months, we are in the season of lists.
A recent list from Pro Football Focus examined and ranked every NFL offensive line.
Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars were not near the top of the list. The Jaguars allowed far too much pressure in 2020 and struggled to create holes in the running game when it mattered most — inside the red zone.
Here's what PFF's Steve Palazzolo had to say about the Jaguars group of starting offensive lineman:
It was a rough 2019 season for the Jacksonville offensive line as they finished 26th in our final rankings. Left tackle Cam Robinson has never lived up to his perceived upside, ranking below average in every key metric in his two-plus seasons of NFL action. Robinson’s 54.8 overall grade ranked 75th out of 89 offensive tackles last season, and even though he missed two games, he still allowed 45 total pressures — tied for the sixth-most in the league.
Making too much of a fuss about Steve's assessment would be an effort in futility. But there are a few tidbits I'd like to point out.
On Cam Robinson's poor play in 2019: Robinson has NEVER had a full offseason to hone his skills followed by an entire regular season of play. He had a promising rookie year in 2017 but suffered a torn ACL in the second game of the 2018 season. Prior to that injury, Robinson looked the part of an improved left tackle. But the injury set him back last offseason, forcing him to rehab his knee instead of honing his craft. The Jaguars then rushed Robinson back into the lineup during the preseason, causing a setback with his recovery and forcing him out of the first two games of the regular season. The former second-round pick never looked right in 2019. But the Jaguars' coaching staff and front office have repeatedly talked him up this offseason, claiming their excitement to see him after a full summer of work. Will Robinson improve in 2020? If not, he'll be looking for a new job in 2021, and the Jaguars will be looking for a new foundational piece at left tackle.
This piece accurately breaks down the rest of the starting offensive line.
Starting left guard Andrew Norwell has been fine during his time in Duval, but his paycheck suggests that he should be a lot more than that. It seems unlikely that Norwell will return to the form that he showed during his final season in Carolina, but the Jaguars remain hopeful.
Brandon Linder remains one of the best centers in football. He's been as consistent as they come over the last half-decade.
Next to Linder, AJ Cann has struggled in recent years and needs to be pushed. That's precisely why the Jaguars selected Ben Bartch in the fourth round. The small school left tackle will kick inside to right guard to begin his professional career. If Bartch can overtake Cann in the starting lineup, it could be a boon for the entire offense. With a shortened offseason, cracking the starting five might be easier than done for Bartch.
At right tackle, Jawaan Taylor has everything you look for in a young edge protector. But his continued development will be critical. He needs to improve as a technician, which should allow him to commit fewer penalties. It'd also be helpful to seem him dominate in the run game with more consistency.
There are more questions than answers when it comes to the Jaguars' offensive line heading into 2020. There are three big ifs with this group, and if they can nail two out of the three, this will be a solid group. The left side will improve IF Cam Robinson returns to form after a full offseason of work. The right guard spot will improve IF Ben Bartch can beat out AJ Cann. The right tackle position will be more consistent IF Jawaan Taylor develops as many expect him to.
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