Despite making a position change, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Brandon Linder has thrived despite little talk of his stellar play.
The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t doing much this time of year, but we still have plenty to talk about as we get ready for training camp. One area that will be front and center when the players do take the practice field is the offensive line.
While many have complained about the lack of moves made this offseason to try and improve a unit that was objectively not great in 2016, the front line could look quite different come week 1 of the 2017 regular season.
One player we know will absolutely be in the starting lineup is arguably the Jaguars best offensive player – Brandon Linder. If he wasn’t on the Jaguars, Linder likely would have received Pro Bowl buzz by now.
Sam Monson over at Pro Football Focus went through each team and selected a “secret superstar” – a player who has far outplayed their expectations or what their reputation would normally dictate.
For the Jaguars, he selected a guy who might not really be a secret:
"C Brandon Linder2016 snaps: 909Key stat: 108 of Jacksonville’s 392 total carries went immediately to the left or right of Linder’s block in the middle of the line.Linder is one of the league’s more underrated players, ranking fifth over the year with a PFF grade of 87.6 overall after his second fine season in three years. On both occasions that Linder has played 900 or more snaps in his career he has graded well as a run blocker and a pass protector. He allowed 13 total pressures in 2016 and was flagged just twice all year, both coming in one game against Tennessee."
Linder has been terrific since being drafted in 2014 as both a guard and a center. The management of his positional stability has been an issue however.
The move to switch him over to center seemed quirky at the time, and it’s come back full circle as a silly move since the team is reportedly moving him back to guard. This brings to question the rationale and overall logic of former head coach Gus Bradley, although his mistakes are hardly limited to how he handled the offensive line.
Regardless, Linder has already shown he will play at a high level at any interior line position. Wherever he ends up, we can at least count on above-average play there.