The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line’ was supposed to be a strength.
Heading into the 2020 season, nobody knew how the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ offensive line was going to perform. There was some promise from the 2019 season in rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor. Also, left tackle Cam Robinson was back from injury and the interior of Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, and A.J. Cann showed some improvement.
However, the biggest benefit was all five of those guys would be starting together in 2020. It was the first time in a decade the Jaguars offensive line remained the same across the starting five. That cohesiveness is vital upfront. So, how have they looked?
Through the first few weeks, they were extremely reliable. They weren’t world-beaters by any stretch, but they were good enough to move the ball and not limit the offense. Running back James Robinson was finding running room and quarterback Gardner Minshew was moving the ball. Alas, the wheels have come off since the first month of the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ ‘hog mollies’ are currently struggling.
The Jaguars offensive line is struggling right now. Linder and Norwell are dealing with injuries, forcing Tyler Shatley and rookie Ben Bartch into the starting lineup. That is obviously going to make it harder to run the ball and avoid sacks, but there is a more pressing issue within this group, the tackles.
Taylor and Robinson have gone from solid, to shaky, to bad over the last few weeks. They have given up safeties, derailed drives, and hindered an offense that had been moving the ball consistently against the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and Minnesota Vikings.
Following a 31-10 drubbing from the Tennessee Titans that saw the offense only gain 354 total yards and only 91 on the ground against a bad Titans defense, the Jaguars have to consider an upgrade at the tackle spots heading into next season.
Now, there is still football left to be played and this unit has an opportunity to completely change the narrative on them in the final three weeks, but it will be a tough task against three of the best front sevens in the league, the Baltimore Ravens, the Chicago Bears, and the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to protect their franchise quarterback.
If the Jaguars plan on acquiring a young signal-caller, they will likely draft one with the second overall pick in 2021’s draft. Whether it is Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, or Zach Wilson, they will have to surround him with talent if they want him to succeed.
The second most important thing after securing a quarterback is to protect him with a great line. Taylor and Robinson have regressed and become too inconsistent to stick with. The interior is a bit more stable with Linder and Norwell especially, but they could use another guard as well.
Overall, this unit is in big need of an upgrade and there is a good group of college tackles to choose from. The team has an additional first-round selection in 2021, the one they received when they traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams. Thus, the Jaguars should jump at the opportunity to give their offensive line a lift by drafting a young prospect.