Despite a nightmare season plagued by some disappointing individual performances, the Jacksonville Jaguars do have some players – like Brandon Linder – to build with.
With the season effectively over (realistically it has been for the last 6 or 7 weeks), it’s time to start looking forward. Part of that look is an evaluation of the players on the roster and determining whether or not they are a key piece in making this franchise viable as a playoff contender.
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That’s going to be a tough question at certain positions, namely quarterback given
‘ staggering regression, but there are a handful of “no-brainer” building blocks. One of those guys is former guard and now-center Brandon Linder. Easily the best offensive lineman on the team since being drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Linder excelled at guard for 2 years and hasn’t skipped a beat as the center.
Pro Football Focus recently discussed the 25 highest-graded offensive lineman of 2016 and Brandon Linder made the cut:
"16. Brandon Linder, C, Jacksonville Jaguars (87.0)There is very little to be cheery about on the Jacksonville roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but the team’s best player this season has been center Brandon Linder. Linder has allowed 12 total QB pressures, despite pass blocking for almost 500 snaps. He’s been flagged just twice, and has the league’s fourth-best run-blocking grade at the position, with a mark of 83.9."
The right side of the offensive line has been a travesty for the most part, but Linder has done the best he can to hold up the interior of the line despite a lack of talent to his left and right.
Linder is one of the few guys who absolutely should get an extension this offseason. He’s one of the best centers in the league and the Jaguars are at the point where they need to lock up the few blue chip players they have. The next coach and possibly front office should make this a priority.