The Jacksonville Jaguars had arguably one of the worst offensive lines in the entire NFL last season, as evidenced by the league-leading 71 sacks they gave up. The offensive line looked significantly improved towards the end of the year once the starting unit stabilized itself, but the position group suffered from a lack of size, experience, and cohesiveness.
One year later, the offensive line room looks vastly improved. Entering his third season at left tackle, Luke Joeckel has the most to prove in a position group that added right tackle Jermey Parnell and center Stefen Wisniewski in free agency, as well as guard A.J. Cann in the draft. The team no longer has undrafted free agents or street pickups competing for starting jobs, and offensive line coach Doug Marrone provides an experienced and successful voice to lead them.
Still, the Jaguars need to take the field and show the world that this offensive line has improved. Gregg Rosenthal over at NFL.com recently wrote up a post on the worst position groups in the NFL. The Jaguars were noticeably absent – which is quite encouraging – until Rosenthal got to the offensive line. While he had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team with the worst offensive line, the Jaguars were a candidate and listed under the honorable mentions:
"Honorable mention: Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis RamsThe Chiefs, Jaguars and Rams have all invested early picks on tackles and are still waiting to see results. It’s another reminder there’s no such thing as a “safe” top-five pick, even at tackle."
Rosenthal makes note to bring up the significant draft investments made in the offensive line, and this is the year that the heat really turns on for some of these players. Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel headlined what might have been one of the weakest draft classes ever in 2013, and both guys have been underwhelming at best. Joeckel had his rookie season cut short due to an injury, and his first full season at left tackle was inconsistent. This is going to be the first season he’s had with favorable circumstances, so I expect him to make a big jump in 2015.
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