Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line pared down, stronger than before

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have cut down their roster to the league-mandated 53-man limit and that meant paring down the offensive line into a stronger group that has grown from a year ago.

With the 70+ sacks the team gave up in 2014, it was clear there had to be a change along the offensive line and there has certainly been one.

Released over the weekend included former starter Austin Pasztor and offseason guard Chris Reed. But those changes aren’t the only ones of note. With key offseason additions through free agency, the group we’re looking at on the offensive line is decidedly different from the year before.

Here are the starters from left to right on the offensive line:

  • Luke Joeckel, left tackle
  • Zane Beadles, left guard
  • Stefen Wisniewski, center
  • Brandon Linder, right guard
  • Jermey Parnell, right tackle

This group of starters is a significant upgrade from last year’s struggling unit. While Joeckel, Beadles, and Linder are all returners for the Jaguars, expect new things from the offensive line. Wisniewski represents a slight upgrade over Luke Bowanko at center, but it’s the right tackle spot that should help everyone reach higher heights.

Jermey Parnell was a big free agent addition this offseason and is expected to settle a position that has been a revolving door since Joeckel shifted to the left side. Parnell’s play is the biggest upgrade for the starting line and will bolster the entire unit, allowing them to play to their strengths rather than compensating for other weaknesses along the line.

In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars kept four players on the roster for depth. They are:

  • Luke Bowanko, former starting center
  • A.J. Cann, rookie guard
  • Tyler Shatley, center/guard
  • Sam Young, tackle

With the tackle position looking thin through the offseason and preseason, Luke Bowanko is being cross trained to play anywhere along the offensive line, from tackle through to center. He’s a versatile lineman expected to wear many hats for the Jaguars.

A.J. Cann represents a significant upgrade in the future for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He competed with Zane Beadles for the starting left guard spot this offseason, pushing the veteran to perform at the level originally anticipated. Beadles was a big offseason addition a year ago and hasn’t performed up to general manager Dave Caldwell’s expectations. Expect Cann to be actively waiting in the wings to be the future left guard for the Jags.

Tyler Shatley appeared in one game for the Jaguars last season and, frankly, is a bit of a surprise retainment compared to now-released Austin Pasztor. Pasztor seems to have more versatility than the young Shatley, but the Jaguars may see some upside they could capitalize on with Shatley. We’ll have to see if they are simply keeping him around to release later as players become available from other clubs.

Sam Young is also an interesting selection to keep around. Young has not been particularly impressive as a reserve player or starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the last two seasons. That said, he is familiar with the team and with the lack of depth at offensive tackle for the unit, having a guy who can step in without missing a beat in the system could be key.

Overall. this Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line is moving forward as a more impressive unit, particularly the starters and Cann and Bowanko as depth. Blake Bortles should get more time throwing the ball (which was on display this preseason) and they should be able to open holes for the running backs as well.

It’s exciting to see such a makeover in the third year of a massive roster overhaul and I’m excited to see what they can do in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.

Next: Jacksonville Jaguars cut down to 53

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