This has been a fun series for me so far. I've been breaking down precisely what you should expect in year one from the players in the Jaguars' 2020 draft class. So far, I've made it through the first three rounds. Below, I've provided links to the breakdowns of the prospects from the first three rounds.
What to expect from Henderson and Chaisson in 2020.
What to expect from Laviska Shenault Jr. in 2020.
What to expect from DaVon Hamilton in 2020.
Today, I'll be taking a look at the Jaguars' first pick from the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the 116th overall selection, offensive lineman Ben Bartch.
Bartch played Division 3 football, so it's tough to get a real feel for how good he can be based off tape alone. Having gained nearly 90 pounds during his time at St.John, Bartch transformed his body in order to play left tackle. He caught the attention of the Senior Bowl committee thanks to his dominant play against lesser competition and his obvious traits. Bartch participated in Senior Bowl practices, and more than held his own against some of the top pass rushers in the draft. He won several one-on-one reps against Jabari Zuniga, Terell Lewis, and Anfernee Jennings, gaining the attention of scouts around the league. At 6'6'' tall and 309-pounds, Bartch is a physical specimen with good athletic traits, but his short arms led some to believe he may be a better fit at guard than left tackle.
Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell is among those that believe Bartch should kick inside to guard at the next level. Caldwell confirmed over the weekend that Bartch would begin his career at guard, but would also get some reps at tackle. Adding Bartch to the group at offensive guard could be a sign that Will Richardson, who played both guard and tackle for the Jaguars in 2019, will be making a full-time switch to tackle. Moving Richardson to tackle would make a lot of sense, considering he's the only backup who got any starting reps at tackle in 2019. But back to Bartch: His physicality and athleticism should serve him well at guard, and his shorter arms won't be as much of a detriment on the interior. The Jaguars have experienced starters at both guard spots, so I don't expect Bartch to crack the starting lineup early on. But if AJ Cann struggles during training camp or to start the regular season, Bartch — assuming he develops as I believe he will — could overtake Cann in the starting five. Ultimately, getting Bartch, who has limited experience against top competition, as many reps as possible in training camp, will be critical to his year one projection. As with any rookie, Bartch will have some bumps in the road if he gets on the field early, but his mental makeup, work ethic, and overall talent should allow him to be a boon to the Jaguars' offensive line by the end of his first season in the NFL. Bartch is likely to slot into the starting lineup at left or right guard in 2021.
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