The Jacksonville Jaguars want to get to Week 1 of the 2021 regular season with the best possible roster. Even after trimming down their roster to 53-man, they are still making adjustments, signing Jacob Hollister just a few days ago to fortify their tight end room. They shouldn’t stop there and should consider adding some reinforcements to the offensive line.
There are several big-profile players still available in the free-agent market such as running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Cam Newton, who was recently released by the New England Patriots. Out of the bunch, offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz arguably stands out the most. Before suffering a back injury in 2020, the 2012 second-round pick played and started 134 consecutive games. Furthermore, he earned a First-Team All-Pro designation in 2018. So why is he still unsigned?
Schwartz underwent back surgery in the offseason and hasn’t made a full recovery yet. On the bright side, Schwartz recently joined the Arrowhead Addict Podcast and said he still considers himself an active NFL player even though he remains unsigned. He added he’s in the last stages of his recovery and noted that it has taken longer than usual. Nevertheless, once the former Kansas City right guard is 100 percent, he will “figure out what’s next for him”.
If Mitchell decides he’s ready to resume his football career, the Jaguars should give him a call. Back injuries are tricky but if he’s close to full strength, he could upgrade the offensive line.
The Jacksonville Jaguars expect their O-Line to improve in 2021.
The Jaguars brought back all their offensive line starters from last season. The team’s brass believes that playing together one more year will help them develop more consistency and a better rapport, which will lead to a better performance on the football field. This approach makes sense. Chemistry isn’t built overnight and the Jaguars’ offensive line can certainly improve after allowing 44 sacks last season.
On the other hand, Jacksonville should err on the side of caution. Although the interior offensive line is pretty stout ahead of the regular season, the edges are still a question mark. In particular, right tackle Jawaan Taylor regressed in 2020 after a solid rookie campaign the year before. Last season, the Florida product allowed eight sacks and 58 total pressures. He gave up one less quarterback takedown than the previous year but surrendered 17 more pressures.
Offensive line coach George Warhop recently had a sitdown with the local media and discussed Taylor’s development this offseason.
"Jawaan has some things we had to fix, and we’re still working on those. But I saw progress, as long as he continues to work on those things and pushes himself to use the things that we need to use for him, Jawan is going to be a really good right tackle in this league. I think he already is a really good right tackle I think he could become a better right tackle."
Still, the Jacksonville Jaguars can give the O-Line a boost.
Ok, so Taylor still needs to work on some things. There’s a chance he can finally put everything together and play at a high level. However, the Jags shouldn’t leave it to chance and bring in Schwartz just in case Taylor doesn’t play at the level the team’s brass expects.
This Jacksonville team has the cap space to sign the veteran right tackle, so money wouldn’t be an issue. More than anything, they just need to make sure he is good to go.
The Jaguars need to make sure rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s jersey stays as clean as possible. It wouldn’t hurt to kick the tires on Schwartz to ensure that happens.