Brandon Linder the Only “High Quality” Player on Jaguars’ Offensive Depth Chart per Pro Football Focus


Brandon Linder gets a lot of attention this offseason and for good reason. The rookie guard outplayed almost everyone throughout the 2014 season and he was arguably the brightest star on the entire offense, rookie quarterback Blake Bortles included.

It’s tough to think of a guard as the best player for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it certainly looks that way. Hopefully everyone else on offense can get on his level in 2015 and beyond.

Pro Football Focus recently released their depth chart analysis of the Jags and, not surprisingly, Brandon Linder was the lone “high quality” player they had marked. Below is the offensive depth chart by PFF.

You can find the image here.

It’s a tough reality for us Jags fans that Linder is the lone top performer for them. The only other player ranked above average is new free agent addition tight end Julius Thomas who has had the benefit of catching balls from Peyton Manning the last couple of years. He’ll now be catching balls from “poor” ranked Blake Bortles.

Of course all of these rankings shouldn’t be taken as definitive. PFF does some excellent work and we highlight it on B&T frequently because it is a consistent measure of players per snap, per game, and in relation to each other. They also do excellent analysis like their depth chart work. While these scores reflect the work put in by the players over the last season and we can all expect some growth, know that this is one assessment of where these players are and not the only one we need to look at it.

The PFF assessment is, however, sobering. Players like Bortles have a long way to go to get to “elite” or even “good.” It will be tough to make those jumps on a team loaded down with mediocre players. While the Jaguars hope that they can build on the uncapitalized talent of their young players, it may be tough to get them all to achieve their potential as a group as there isn’t a level of trust on the reliance of others’ abilities. That lack of success in each responsibility puts pressure on a young team and threatens to tear them apart.

For example, despite Brandon Linder’s excellent rookie campaign, the offensive line struggled as whole. Linder was the leader, but he alone wasn’t able to bring the entire unit together. While we’re hopeful that new offensive line coach Doug Marrone can build a successful offensive line, it’s important to understand the clay he is working with. For now, Linder alone leads the way. The team desperately needs others to step up, as noted in the PFF article:

"Where they need someone to step up and help Thomas and Bortles is at wide receiver. Allen Robinson, Marquise Lee and Allen Hurns are the current starters at the top three spots, with all three finishing 2014 with a negative grade as a receiver. They drafted two receivers in Rashad Greene and Neal Sterling, but the simple fact of the matter is that someone needs to step up and make themselves a top target for Bortles in 2015."

Hopefully we’ll see more green on this analysis following the 2015 season.

Next: Ranking Blake Bortles Among AFC South QBs

More from Black and Teal