The Jacksonville Jaguars could have their pick of top offensive tackles in the NFL Draft with the ninth overall pick come April.
If the movement of quarterbacks is going to control the first half of the first round of the NFL Draft in April, then the Jacksonville Jaguars and other teams not in need of a signal-caller are going to have plenty of talent to choose from.
The question is what does this front office, knowing there are glaring holes on each side of the football at several positions, believe is the biggest need for the success of this organization? What move makes the Jacksonville Jaguars better instantaneously?
One position that is a big need but isn’t discussed on the same level as the defensive line or at linebacker is the offensive line. A case could be made to swap out three starters and replace them with free agents or draft picks. By doing this the idea is the quarterback under center would have a better than average chance to make plays that are not rushed or distorted by a dominant pass rush.
Right now, depending on what publication you read, Andrew Thomas out of Georgia, Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa and Jedrick Wills, Jr. out of Alabama are all neck and neck to be the top tackle to get drafted. The Jaguars could toss all three names into a hat and pull one out and have them step in on Day 1 and start on the line. Mekhi Becton of Louisville is slightly behind the three, but gaining ground.
Should there be a run on offensive linemen, moving some of the top defensive line prospects back toward the middle or second half of Round 1, what will general manager David Caldwell do? Can he gamble, hoping to move up two or three spots from No. 20 to get an anchor opposite last season’s rookie surprise Jawaan Taylor?
There are plenty of layers to peel back with the Jaguars and their draft strategy, which will change once the team jumps into the deep end of free agency less than a month from now. For a self-confessed draft geek like myself, this is the best thing that could happen here in Jacksonville.
As Jeremy Wohlfart of FanSided.com wrote this week, the New York Giants should have their eyes on Thomas, who would fit the team’s need for a steady on the left side of the offensive line.
"“In a draft class that’s looking full of talent on the offensive line, Thomas is the crown jewel of the position.” he writes. “He’s adept at both run and pass protection, is powerful and played in a scheme at Georgia which prepared him well for life in the NFL.”"
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Right now, if the 2020 season started, would you feel comfortable with Cam Robinson as the Jaguars left tackle? And if the front office decides to move on from the former Alabama second-round player, would you feel comfortable with another Crimson Tide player as his replacement?
The Jaguars aren’t going to cut Robinson, who is in his fourth season with the team. What they could do is kick him inside to guard should they release Andrew Norwell. It is also possible that A.J. Cann would remain at right guard and Will Richardson gets a shot on the left side.
This isn’t the same situation as it is with the team’s quarterback – where having two solid players is good for competition. The Jaguars need to improve their run blocking and pass protection. If not for the quick feet of Gardner Minshew, this team may not have won six games in 2019.
The 6-foot-5, 320 Wills is a beast and played against some of the best pass rushers in the SEC while at Alabama. He could be just what the Jaguars are looking for.
"Per The Draft Network, “There aren’t too many prospects that entered the pre-draft process with a hotter stock than Jedrick Wills. Playing only right tackle during his career with the Tide, his development went through the roof from his sophomore to junior seasons.“That leap is what made evaluators highly intrigued with his skill set. A junkyard dog mentality carries over as both a run blocker and pass protector.”"
The Jaguars could do worse than grab a tackle with their first pick in Round 1, No.9 overall. But unless they have found pieces to help solve the issues with the team’s run defense, it might be a position that is put on hold until their second first-round pick or with the 42nd pick in the second round.