The 2015 NFL Draft offers the Jacksonville Jaguars the opportunity to both fill needs but also to re-stock at positions that need a little competition or greater depth.
With the right tackle addressed by bringing in Jermey Parnell through free agency, the Jaguars need to make sure that other positions on the offensive line also improve. Both center and left tackle are concerns, though the play of Luke Bowanko at center was a pleasant surprise last season. The play by Luke Joeckel at left tackle left a lot to be desired, however.
Joeckel has struggled since entering the NFL two seasons ago. His first season was cut short just after the Jaguars traded away blue chip left tackle Eugene Monroe to make room for him to transition from the right to his more natural left tackle position. He promptly broke his ankle. Year two wasn’t much better, with Joeckel turning in a performance that had him tanked 67th among all tackles by Pro Football Focus. There were only four other full time left tackles with 15 or more starts graded below him. He was listed as the culprit in 29 QB hurries, seven QB hits, and eight sacks (tied for third most among tackles).
Joeckel needs to severely improve in his third year.
Bringing in another high-caliber tackle to compete with him is a great way for the Jaguars to both get insurance at the position and to bring in competition that could push Joeckel to improve. It doesn’t have to be Brandon Scherff or anything like that, but an unheralded guy in the mid rounds like Donovan Smith may be a wise decision.
Right now it’s pretty clear that Sam Young isn’t going to be a solution. He failed to impress during his time starting last season. It’s equally apparent that recently re-signed right tackle Austin Pasztor is little more than somebody familiar with the system at this point. Calling him a swing tackle would be generous.
The Jaguars need to seriously evaluate whether or not they should bring in a left tackle in the draft this year. If they don’t bring one in during the 2015 NFL Draft then they may have to spend a high pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, especially if Luke Joeckel doesn’t show marked improvement.
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