Football is officially back, baby! 2019 Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp has begun, veterans have reported, and the dead-zone is over. Each week we'll dive into a different position group on the 2019 Jaguars roster, and this week we're talking offensive line.
Currently on the roster: Jordan Agasiva, A.J. Cann, Brandon Linder, KC McDermott, Andrew Norwell, Cedric Ogbuehi, Will Richardson Jr., Tyler Shatley, Bunchy Stallings, Brandon Thomas, Josh Wells, Leonard Wester, Andrew Lauderdale, and Jawaan Taylor.
In 2018 the Jaguars offensive line was decimated by injuries. By the time Week 17 rolled around, the Jaguars were forced to start Ereck Flowers, a player who was cut by the Giants mid-season. Every team must go through and overcome injuries, and the Jaguars are no exception. If the Jaguars want to enjoy the same success they had in 2017 they have to stay healthy. If they can do that I think the offensive line is poised to do a complete 180 and become a point of strength in 2019. After all, four of the five starters from Week 1 of the 2018 season will be back in 2019. And the new guy had some serious hype surrounding him going into this year's draft.
Starting Training Camp on the injured list, left tackle Cam Robinson, tore his ACL in Week 2 of last season against the New England Patriots. Robinson is someone I've had my eye on since the Jaguars drafted him with the 34th pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He was immediately named the starter as a rookie and started 15 games that season. He did have a slight tendency to jump before the snap, but that's something he can overcome with experience. Weighing in at 6'6" and tipping the scales at 322 pounds, I like Robinson in 2019 to be the bookend the Jaguars need on the left side of the line.
Next to Robinson, we'll see left guard Andrew Norwell. After becoming an unrestricted free agent following an All-Pro year in 2017, the Jaguars signed him to a five-year, $66.5 million-dollar deal, a contract that made him the highest-paid guard at the time. He started his first 11 games as a Jaguar, before being placed on Injured Reserve following a Week 12 ankle injury. He needs not to not only stay healthy but also raise his level of play.
At center, we'll see veteran Brandon Linder. He was originally drafted in 2014 to play guard before he made the move to center in 2016. The position change paid off in 2017 when the Jaguars re-signed Linder to a five-year $51.7 million-dollar deal which made him the highest-paid center in the history of the league at that time. Last year he couldn't escape the injury bug that plagued the Jaguars' offensive line. He started ten games before he found his way to the IR in November.
Right guard will feature A.J. Cann. Drafted by the Jaguars in 2015, Cann has escaped the injury bug for the most part missing just two games in the last three seasons. After signing a three-year extension worth $15 million in March, you can expect to see more of him on the right side of the Jaguars offensive line for the next couple years. Cann will look to get back to the level of play that showed in his first couple of years in the league.
Going into the 2019 NFL Draft, right tackle Jawaan Taylor was considered by some to be a first-round talent. This draft was reminiscent of the 2016 Draft when the Jaguars got their guy in the first round and had another top talent fall to them in the second round. I imagine it was a no-brainer for the Jaguars when Taylor was still on the board when their pick came up in the second round. Part of me feels like the Jaguars would've taken him in the first had Josh Allen not fallen to them. According to pre-draft analysis, Taylor should come in and make an immediate impact in the run game. The biggest knock I've seen on Taylor was that he had to lose weight before the Florida Gators would agree to bring him on. He was able to drop from 380 pounds to 347 before joining the Gators as a freshman. With all that being said, not only do I expect Taylor to make an immediate impact as a starter, I think he'll be an improvement over 2018 right tackle Jeremy Parnell, who the Jaguars cut following the 2018 season.
As far as depth goes, I've always been a big fan of Tyler Shatley and Josh Wells in the rotation as backups. The Jaguars also went out and got former first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi, who may have to start the season at left tackle if Cam Robinson isn't ready for week one. If this group can stay healthy, I like them to emerge as a position of strength in Jacksonville.
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