The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line is not the dumpster fire that many media members and fans have made it out to be. Still, improving the talent and depth is critical for 2019 success and long term stability.
The left side of the offensive line is set in stone for the Jaguars.
At left tackle, Cam Robinson will re-enter the fold as the starter after a season-ending ACL injury in week two of the 2018 regular season. With any luck, he'll be ready for week one of 2019. Before his injury, Robinson was showing improvement and appeared ready for an impressive sophomore campaign.
At left guard, Andrew Norwell returns for his second season with the team. Like most of his offensive line mates, Norwell struggled through injuries in 2018 and eventually was placed on IR. He too was placed on IR before seasons end. But Norwell will have big expectations heading into 2019. He was the best guard in football in 2017 and should be expected to play at or close to a Pro Bowl level.
At center, Brandon Linder is, perhaps, the most talented player on the offensive side of the ball for the Jaguars. He's struggled with injuries throughout his career, but when on the field Linder is a Pro-Bowl level player.
Moving to the right side of the line is where things get a bit dicier. AJ Cann has been up and down throughout his career and currently slots as the starting right guard.
At right tackle, Will Richardson, the Jaguars 2018 fourth-round pick, would be the starter as things currently stand. His rookie season was a wash due to injury, but during his final collegiate season, he was nearly perfect in pass protection. Richardson has the potential to be an above average starter.
If the Jaguars were able to maintain that starting lineup on the O-line for the entirety of the 2019 season, they'd likely find success. The problem, as 2018 showed us, is that it's nearly impossible to keep your offensive line healthy for an entire season. The team is unlikely to be so devastatingly crushed by injuries along the offensive line again in 2019, but in the roster building phase of the offseason, Tom Coughlin and Co. need to prepare for the worst.
The only quality depth that the Jaguars have on the offensive line is at tackle. Josh Wells is a solid swing tackle. He played through injuries in 2018, and gave up more pressure than usual, but didn't surrender a single sack in 195 pass block reps. He was average on the whole, but that's about as much as you can expect from a backup.
The Jaguars need to improve their interior offensive line depth and may want to consider adding a player in the first or second round that could potentially play both tackle and guard. If they do select such a player early on, their depth and talent would be much more encouraging on the right side. They should also consider drafting a backup center later in the draft, or bringing back a player like Tyler Shatley, who can play all of the interior offensive line positions.
The Jaguars appear to be of the same mind as me.
Of the official pre-draft visits that have been confirmed, the Jaguars have met with three offensive linemen. Jawaan Taylor, an offensive tackle who will be selected in the first round, and Kaleb McGary, a potential guard/tackle that could likely be had with an early second round pick, both visited with the Jaguars yesterday. The Jags also met with Brian Fineanganofo, a small school offensive linemen with excellent athleticism and size.
There are a plethora of other names the Jaguars could consider in the first or second round, and the front office should do their homework on each of them. Making sure that the offensive line doesn't fall apart as it did in 2018 is imperative for the success of Nick Foles, the running game, and the overall fortune of the team in 2019.
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