Jake Long has seen his career on the offensive line slowly become less and less impressive, but his current low value could be a benefit to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sometimes the less inspiring free agent additions can make significant impacts.
That may be the case if the Jacksonville Jaguars decide to target offensive tackle Jake Long in 2016 free agency. The former Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Rams (then, St. Louis), Long has fallen from grace and saw action in only four games in 2015 for the Atlanta Falcons.
The former first overall selection has the ability to really push starting left tackle Luke Joeckel, especially if Joeckel’s development continues to be less stellar than expected when the Jags took him number two overall in 2013.
Protecting quarterback Blake Bortles has to be a priority for the Jaguars and Joeckel did a serviceable job in 2015, but he may need some extra motivation to really breakout and become the kind of offensive tackle the Jags envisioned. He hasn’t made the same leaps in development that was originally expected when the Jags shipped former starter Eugene Monroe off to Baltimore and moved Joeckel over from the right side.
The guys over at Pro Football Focus think it would be a prudent move to bring Long over and, while it may not yield the absolute best results, it would definitely bring in competition at a critical position for the team. Long probably isn’t starter-caliber at this stage in his career, but he is a capable backup and his experience as a starter would be invaluable on the young Jags squad.
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There are other options available both in the 2016 NFL Draft and in free agency, so it isn’t terrible if the Jags pass on a player like Long. Then again, it is always nice to see someone with extensive experience brought onto a team that desperately craves veteran presence at numerous positions.