With the 2014 NFL Draft in our rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead and see what the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster might look like come week 1 of the regular season. With 9 draft picks and several free-agent acquisitions this offseason, the active roster in 2014 will likely look very different from what we saw in 2013.
Today we take a look at a position group with some of the biggest turnover – the interior offensive line.
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t really had to worry about the center position since the turn of the new millennium thanks to the steady play of Brad Meester. Meester came back for one more season in 2013 and, as we are used to seeing, he played every single offensive snap. Uche Nwaneri held down the right guard spot again with some mixed results, and the disastrous Will Rackley played way more than he deserved to. Here’s the breakdown of the 2013 interior offensive line.
Brad Meester and Uche Nwaneri played every snap on offense, but they weren’t particularly effective. They gave up a combined 9 sacks and 31 QB hurries according to Pro Football Focus. Will Rackley played poorly enough to make head coach Gus Bradley try out 3 other players at guard – Mike Brewster, Jacques McClendon, and Drew Nowak. Meester’s retirement combined with Nwaneri’s release and Rackley’s atrocious play made the interior offensive line one of the biggest holes on the roster going into the offseason.
Here’s how the guard and center position will look in 2014:
The Jaguars will have an entirely new interior offensive line in 2014, headlined by free-agent signing Zane Beadles. After helping protect Peyton Manning for the last 2 years, Beadles will have to turn into the veteran leader on a very young offensive line. Mike Brewster will likely start at center and rookie Brandon Linder is a virtual lock to start at right guard. Rookie Luke Bowanko should get a chance to compete for the starting center spot, but Brewster currently has the upperhand with his experience in Jedd Fisch’s system.
Regardless of what combination of players in the table above comprises the starting lineup, the interior offensive line should be noticeably better in 2014.
– Daniel Lago