Taylor and Robinson named Jaguars X-Factor ahead of the 2021 season

Jawaan Taylor #75 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Jawaan Taylor #75 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

As expected, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, along with general manager Trent Baalke, has done a good job of replenishing the roster this offseason. On the other hand, if the Jags want to play competitive football this upcoming season, they will need some of the holdovers from the previous regime to play better than they did in 2020. This group of returning players includes offensive tackles Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson.

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report recently penned a list of every NFL team’s biggest x-factor ahead of the 2021 season, and both Taylor and Robinson showed up on it. Gagnon points out they will be tasked with giving rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence adequate protection. He notes that Jacksonville’s offensive line ranked in the bottom 12 last year and that was mainly due to Robinson’s and Taylor’s play.

Later in the article, Gagnon says it was somewhat shocking to see the Jags use the franchise tag on Robinson, as he has been inconsistent throughout his four-year career. Also, he believes Jacksonville’s decision-makers are expecting Taylor to have a breakout season in 2021. Gagnon later makes mention of second-round pick Walker Little. He says the Stanford product has only a small collegiate sample and a large injury history.

Thus, Gagnon foresees Taylor and Robinson shouldering the responsibility of making sure Lawrence has a clean pocket. He thinks that if both can ‘put it together’, the former Tigers quarterback will have no trouble meeting expectations in 2021. Even though Taylor may not be under as much pressure to perform as Robinson, he will still need to show he’s the long-term answer at right tackle.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are rolling the dice on their offensive tackles.

The Jaguars’ brass believes Robinson can finally turn the corner in 2021. Nevertheless, he’s never posted a Pro Football Focus grade above 63.4 in a season. The team thinks that keeping offensive line coach George Warhop will help the Alabama product improve this upcoming season. Also, Robinson will have the chance to earn a multi-year contract — from the Jaguars or someone else — next offseason. That alone should motivate him to have a career year.

Meanwhile, Taylor has to show last season was a fluke. He had a solid rookie campaign but struggled in 2020, allowing eight sacks and 58 total pressures. Just like Robinson, the 2019 second-round product should benefit from Warhop’s tutelage but if either one falters, the coaching staff might not hesitate to play Little. Also, Jacksonville has already taken care of most position needs this offseason, so they could make offensive tackle their priority if they struggle in 2021.

All the Jaguars’ starting interior linemen appeared on a recent PFF ranking. Nevertheless, both offensive tackles are a question mark ahead of the 2021 season. It’s up to Robinson and Taylor to change the status quo. Jacksonville has several offensive weapons and a young quarterback that can get them the ball. They just need their two offensive tackles to hold up their end of the bargain and make sure Lawrence has enough time to operate from the pocket.

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