The Jacksonville Jaguars have rotated players at left tackle for years, but 2017 second-round pick Cam Robinson could finally settle the position.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars traded for Branden Albert this offseason, it was assumed he would be a stop-gap solution at the left tackle position. Already in his thirties, Albert is capable playing at a high level but may not have more than a couple seasons of good football left.
And then news broke that Albert is holding out. Albert wants a new deal before he even engages with his new team. It is a horrible attempt at extracting something from a team that, frankly, doesn’t owe him anything. The Jags, to their credit, have apparently reached out. Albert has not reciprocated.
With all of this in mind, it made far more sense for the Jaguars to target offensive tackle Cam Robinson in the second round rather than Forrest Lamp (predicted to move inside to guard). Robinson is able to come right out and compete for the left tackle spot, ensuring a smooth(er) transition for the Jaguars.
Whether Albert comes back or not is all up in the air. But having Robinson gives the Jaguars some insurance and also gives them some hope at the position. With Albert already struggling to be effective simply as a teammate hot off Kelvin Beachum’s one-year stint which followed an injury-ridden three years with Luke Joeckel that saw a revolving door at the position, it’s important for someone with potential to step in.
That potential is what the Jaguars are banking on. Whether Robinson comes in immediately or waits some time, he is the future at the position.
How will that future look? Pro Football Focus did a nice write up on Robinson prior to the draft and compared him to Michael Oher. Oher has often been maligned by fans and teams as he has struggled to be the consistent player that can be relied upon each and every season. His bouncing from left tackle to right tackle from Baltimore to Tennessee to Carolina has made him appear less reliable than he actually is.
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If Robinson plays similarly, then he can hopefully be a player that, like Oher, sticks around through his rookie deal and can step in where needed. If that means settling left tackle for a few seasons before hitting the road, that’s okay, too.
But the Jacksonville Jaguars – and Jaguars fans – don’t want that. The Jaguars don’t need that. What the Jaguars need is someone who can lock down the position for a decade.
At this point, it is unclear whether Robinson will be that player. He certainly has the potential to be that player, but it is no sure thing. We will all know more if he beats out Albert before the 2017 season and can be an instant starter as a rookie. Even then, expect at least some growing pains.