Originally drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft out of Miami, Brandon Linder has been the consistent offensive player for the Jaguars over the past half-decade.
Linder initially played right guard for Jacksonville, but roster changes led to the Jags having a more significant need at center. He’s been the team’s starting center since 2016.
Coming out of college Linder was viewed by many as a guy that could win with intelligence but didn’t have the athleticism to be an elite interior offensive lineman. They were right about one thing: Brandon Linder is brilliant on the football field. But he’s also shown the athleticism to get out in space and help down the field, and his pass protection has been second to none in Jacksonville. Linder has surrendered just three total sacks since 2015.
This is the type of guy that, if he was playing in New York or Los Angels, would already be a household name and would have several Pro Bowls under his belt. In five years as a starter, Linder has registered only eight total penalties.
The only knock on Brandon Linder is that he struggles to stay healthy. He’s never completed a 16 game season. In fact, over the last two years, he’s played in just 25 of 38 possible games (including the playoffs). He finished 2018 on the injured reserve with a knee injury. After his placement on the IR, the Jaguars offensive line truly fell apart last season.
In the offseason before the 2018 season, Linder and the Jaguars inked a new deal, making him the highest-paid center in the NFL at the time. He’s currently the fourth highest-paid center in football.
To remain firmly entrenched as one the best players on the Jaguars roster and to be seen as a guy that’s worth his hefty price tag, Linder will need to perform at a high level and stay relatively healthy in 2019.
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