JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – With training camp fast approaching, it’s time to look at the Jaguars roster position by position.
Every day this week, News4JAX takes a look at every Jaguars offensive unit.
The final group this week is the offensive line.
With Brandon Linder, Andrew Norwell and AJ Cann all gone, there will be some new faces blocking Trevor Lawrence this season. Statistically, the Jaguars offensive line was good in 2021. The Jaguars allowed 32 sacks, the ninth-fewest in the NFL.
But a big part of that number was Lawrence’s ability to use his legs to get out of trouble and his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. The good news is that unlike a year ago, there will be real competition to earn a starting spot on the O line this year.
“I have a good idea of our day one squad, but training camp will be a great opportunity for the guys to fight for jobs,” Jaguars offensive line coach Phil Rauscher said.
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After tagging Robinson twice, the Jaguars finally agreed a long-term deal with the left tackle. After signing his new three-year contract, Robinson will be there for the foreseeable future. He will provide stability at the left tackle point.
At rookie minicamp, speaking about the right guard situation, Doug Pederson said “Ben is obviously the guy right now.”
It’s a great vote of confidence for a young player who is still looking to solidify his place. Bartch started 11 games for the Jaguars last year and showed a lot of potential. After playing college ball at Saint John University Division III, the arrow still points to Bartch as he enters his third season as a professional.
In the third round of the draft, the Jaguars took Fortner, who they hope will be their center of the future. At Kentucky, he made 36 consecutive starts as a right guard and center for the Wildcats. Fortner will compete for a starting spot at guard or canter.
After years of playing deep, is it finally Shatley’s turn to shine? He spent his entire career with the Jaguars and was a supporting inside offensive lineman, making starts at guard and center. With Brandon Linder hanging up his boots, Shatley is the veteran option to replace him at center. He will have to fend off the rookie to land the job.
He was eventually released from Washington after the Commanders franchise tagged him for back-to-back seasons. Finally a free agent, Scherff signed a big contract with the Jaguars. During his career, Scherff made five Pro Bowls. In 2020, he was named to the Associated Press First Team All-Pro Team. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the league. The only thing that slowed him down was injuries. Scherff has missed at least two games in each of the past five seasons.
He started every game in his three-year career. Since being drafted, Taylor has been a mainstay in the Jaguars’ starting lineup. Despite this consistency, Taylor has had some struggles along the way. This year, he will have to fend off Walker Little, last year’s second-round pick, to keep his starting streak alive.
He makes the change. Little has played left tackle all his life. In three starts last season, Little showed real promise. With Cam Robinson signing an extension this offseason, Little now has his sights set on the right tackle. Little struggled to get comfortable with the right tackle last season, but with a year of hard work he is now ready to compete.
Will Richardson Jr.
Versatility was key for Richardson. He started games at both guard and tackle. Richardson’s ability to play anywhere on the O line makes him invaluable on game days.
After signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018, McDermott bounced between the practice squad and the active roster. He made a start for the Jaguars in 2021.
Pederson mentioned Cronk as one of the players fighting for reps with the starting lineup on guard. Cronk spent part of 2021 on the Jaguars practice squad. Cronk is listed as a tackle and played tackle in college, but his future could be as an inside player.
He spent last season on the Jaguars practice squad. Traore appeared in the final game of the season against the Colts.
He spent most of last season with the Jaguars practice squad. Hocker’s place on the roster is already on thin ice. The Jaguars cut him on May 11 only to re-sign him two days later. Hocker originally signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2021.
A late addition to the group. In May, the Giants waived Martin and the Jaguars quickly claimed the veteran lineman. Martin played in 32 career games over his three-year career, spending two seasons with Washington and one more recently with the Giants.
An undrafted free agent from Utah, Ford was first-team All-Pac 12 in his final two seasons with the Utes.
Competition can bring out the best in players. In 2021, Urban Meyer and Co. packed the five starting spots. This year’s camp battles will decide the starters at three locations along the line. With the renewed sense of competition, the Jaguars have also restored some of their depth up front. If Cam Robinson and Brandon Scherff fulfill their contracts, the Jaguars will have two pillars to work around. Barring major injuries, this is a group that should be significantly improved from a year ago.
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