Jacksonville Jaguars Rookie Roster Battle – Guard
The 2015 NFL Draft is under wraps and the Jacksonville Jaguars have 8 new players to show for it. Unfortunately, first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. will be sitting out the 2015 season with an unfortunate knee injury sustained during rookie mini-camp, but the Jaguars still have 7 new players who could contribute in 2015.
Over the past 2 seasons, draft selections came in with an almost guaranteed roster spot. In fact, most draft picks in 2013 and 2014 had a clear path to the starting job. Thanks to sound drafting and quality free agent acquisitions, general manager David Caldwell finally has the roster in a respectable enough state that rookies need to come in and actually earn roster spots.
Consequently, in this series we’ll analyze each draft selection and see how the positional depth chart shakes out with their addition.
After looking at second round pick T.J. Yeldon recently, let’s turn our attention now to third round pick A.J. Cann.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the worst pass-protection offensive lines in the entire NFL last year, as evidenced by the league-leading 71 sacks in 2014. Consequently, the Jaguars brought in a handful of upgrades along the offensive line, one of those being Cann.
Here’s the guard depth chart heading into 2015, along with 2014 stats and grades from Pro Football Focus.
[table id=49 /]
Sep 28, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars guardZane Beadles
(68) on the sideline during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Jaguars found a keeper at right guard with 2014 third round pick Brandon Linder. He was one of the best rookie offensive lineman in a loaded rookie class, so that spot is set in stone. The left guard spot is a little more of a question mark. The Jaguars top free agent acquisition last offseason was Zane Beadles from Denver, and he was supposed to immediately come in and add a solid veteran presence to a young offense. Beadles struggled early on in the year, but he settled down and started playing better towards the end of the season.
Still, Beadles appears to be the weak spot on what is becoming a revamped and improved offensive line. Jermey Parnell is set at right tackle, Linder is set at right guard, Joeckel is set at left tackle, and the center spot is a toss-up between Luke Bowanko and Stefen Wisniewski.
So should Beadles be worried? I think so, as A.J. Cann appears to be pro ready. He’s a massive man at 6′ 03″ and 313 pounds, and he was an absolute mauler in the running game at South Carolina. His pass protection needs some work, but Cann would add a mean streak that has been needed along the offensive line.
It’s going to be an interesting battle to track through training camp, but I think the Jaguars will err on the side of caution and give the nod to the veteran Zane Beadles.
2015 Guard depth chart
- Brandon Linder (RG)
- Zane Beadles (LG)
- A.J. Cann
- Austin Pasztor (Swing G/T)
- Tyler Shatley
Next: Projected Starters on Offense
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