The Jacksonville Jaguars must give the first overall pick good protection.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has forgone his senior season at Clemson University and has declared for the 2021 NFL draft. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the first overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, this is as good as it gets. However, they must improve their offensive line play to maximize their investment in Lawrence, as they allowed the seventh-most sacks (44) in the NFL this past season. The Cincinnati Bengals showed the importance of giving their franchise adequate protection in 2020. They gave up the fifth-most sacks in 2020, which gave an abrupt end to Joe Burrow’s season.
Burrow quickly influenced the Bengals in a positive fashion, as Cincinnati’s average margin of defeat was 10. 86 points in seven losses with him under center. After his injury in Week 12, his team suffered four losses in which their average margin of defeat was 18 points. The former LSU Tiger was the victim of a situation that could have been prevented if ‘Cincy’ had had better protection along the offensive line. Jacksonville cannot afford to suffer the same fate in 2021, as their new quarterback will be the engine that makes all things go in Duval for years to come.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have decisions to make upfront.
The Jaguars have decisions to make at their offensive tackle positions. Starting left tackle, Cam Robinson is set to be a free agent this offseason but he is an average player at best and could be better off letting him test the open market.
Robinson gave up the eighth-most quarterback pressures (42) in the NFL this past season, but the other side isn’t much better, as right tackle Jawaan Taylor led the NFL with 58 pressures allowed. However, Taylor is a promising sophomore when compared to Robinson, who has allowed 40 or more pressures in three out of four NFL seasons.
For the Jaguars, help at the position is mandatory with the potential arrival of Lawrence. Reluctantly, Jacksonville possesses the 21st overall pick in April and there is one player from South Bend, Indiana that can significantly reinforce their offensive line.
Liam Eichenberg can be a franchise NFL tackle for the Jaguars.
Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg can be a plug and play starter at the offensive tackle position for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 and for many years to come. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound, tackle has the length, look, and tenacity of a prototypical tackle.
Eichenberg was a three-year starter at the left tackle position for the Fighting Irish. His awards are well documented, and as you can see above, he is a lineman that knows how to win at the point of attack. His versatility would be ideal for protecting Lawrence’s blindside and paving the way for running back sensation James Robinson. Notre Dame has boasted the following elite offensive lineman in recent NFL draft history:
- 2018 – Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (2x First-team All-Pro)
- 2016 – Baltimore Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley (1x First-team All-Pro)
- 2015 – Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin (4x First-team All-Pro)
The Jaguars have a prime opportunity to acquire another member from the Fighting Irish that has the ability to earn prestigious awards in the NFL similar to those listed above.