Just like every other NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars took a look at their roster this offseason and assessed every position group. While the Jags made major upgrades to most units, they refrained from making significant additions to the offensive line and decided to bring back all their starters from 2020. The team’s brass believes that continuity will help the group play better than they did in 2020. Nevertheless, they did make one key addition, Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little.
The Jaguars have a pretty stout interior offensive line but the same can’t be said about the edges. Left tackle Cam Robinson has been inconsistent throughout his NFL career and right tackle Jawaan Taylor regressed in 2019 after showing promise the season before.
In spite of his struggles, the Jaguars used the franchise tag on Robinson and expect Taylor to get back on track in 2021. Retaining offensive line coach George Warhop should help both perform better.
Warhop says that both offensive tackles have made strides this offseason but need to be more consistent in pass blocking. There’s a good chance Robinson shows he’s the answer at left tackle and Taylor fulfills his potential but if they don’t, the coaching staff could turn to Walker.
Walker Little is showing the Jacksonville Jaguars made the right decision.
Hindsight is 20/20 and it was easy to question the Jaguars’ decision to draft Walker Little. Left tackle was at the top of their offseason list, and there were several talented prospects available late in the first round and early in the second that they chose to pass over.
The fact that Little hasn’t suited up since 2019 raised concerns. He tore his ACL that year and opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Heading into the draft, it was uncertain what kind of shape he was. However, he put doubts to rest when he showed up to rookie minicamp. Urban Meyer noted at the time that the Stanford product was 20 percent body fat (pretty good for an offensive lineman) and praised him for his footwork.
Meyer recently met local media and once again complimented Little for his optimal fitness level. He added that the rookie tackle has “been better than he expected”. Also, the 2018 All-Pac 12 has been having a very productive training camp.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a promising young talent in Walker Little.
Although Little isn’t currently projected to start, Robinson should be looking over his shoulder. Brian Sexton of the team’s official website believes he’s got all the tools to thrive on the football field. He thinks all he’s missing is experience.
"I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that his skill set, technique and intensity make him one of the best five offensive linemen right now. All he really lacks is experience – and he’s lacking quite a bit when you consider he hasn’t played since early in the 2019 season."
It’s possible that the Jaguars brought back Robinson for one more year while Little gets acclimated to the NFL. There’s also a chance the rookie left tackle exceeds expectations and joins the starting lineup sooner rather than later. Waiting until Round 2 to draft him doesn’t look like a bad decision in retrospect.