Bryan Bulaga is the top tackle available in the 2015 NFL Free Agency Period and I fully anticipate the Jacksonville Jaguars to take a run at the current Green Bay Packer. In fact, the Jaguars likely need to make a run at him as he is the best available at his position and they have a gaping hole at right tackle, currently. There are other options available this offseason, but Bulaga provides a perfect combination of youth and performance that is highly desired by the Jaguars at this point in their rebuild.
At just nearly 26 years of age and already entering his sixth season in the NFL, Bulaga is can only get better, building off of some solid work that has been put in with the Packers so far. He’s the third overall right tackle in Pro Football Focus’s scoring of offensive tackles for 2014. Bringing in someone young who has proven to be a quality player and can still grow with a rebuilding team while entering his prime makes Bulaga a key player for the Jaguars. Age plays a factor in the “need” at right tackle and Bulaga fits the bill completely for the Jaguars this offseason.
A big part of a part of the aforementioned quality ranking is being second at his position in pass blocking and 12th in run blocking. While I’ve highlighted how important run blocking can be for the Jaguars before, providing Blake Bortles with a clean pocket may be even more important for the offense’s overall success going forward. With a struggling Luke Joeckel on the left side, it’s even more important to shore up the right tackle position with one of the premier pass blockers on that side. The Jags cannot afford a repeat of 2014 with both sides of the offensive line struggling.
Bryan Bulaga comes from a winning tradition in Green Bay. He’s a Super Bowl champion, a playoff veteran, and has worked with some of the best in the business with the Packers. Whether that’s the quarterback, wide receiver, or other impressive offensive linemen, Bulaga has seen much that the league has to offer and he’s emerged among the best. He’s gleaned knowledge from those around him and proven he can implement it in game situations.
A player like that can come into a young team like the Jags and instantly become a key leadership piece. Hell, I’d go ahead and elect him captain the day he’s signed. Part of the struggles of the Jaguars in their first couple years of their massive overhaul is the lack of veteran leadership from proven players. This is true across a number of positions and can finally be addressed during this offseason. Bulaga’s leadership would immediately impact the offensive line, which needs to play cohesively to be effective, and also help raise boats across the whole offense.
Bulaga isn’t the only option at his position this free agency and not getting him isn’t going to kill the Jaguars, but right now he fits three key needs at a void along arguably the most important unit in football. For those reasons, the Jags really do need him.