Rookie offensive tackle Walker Little won’t be in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting lineup in Week 1 of the regular season. However, the Stanford product will get his chance sooner rather than later.
There’s no doubt Trevor Lawrence was the Jaguars’ most important offseason acquisition. But he won’t be the only member of their 2021 draft class to make an impact. The Jags have high expectations for offensive tackle Walker Little despite the fact that he’s set to start the season behind left tackle Cam Robinson.
After all, the team’s brass didn’t use a second-round selection on Little just to have him ride the bench. But he has to prove he’s ready to take the field. In three preseason games, the former Cardinal played a total of 155 offensive snaps and allowed six total pressures. He also posted a Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade of 62.3. So why isn’t the rookie starting in Week 1?
The Jacksonville Jaguars know Walker Little is a work in progress.
In a recent sitdown with the local media, Jaguars offensive line coach George Warhop said Little is still in the process of making the transition from college to the pros. Just like any other rookie, the Texas native will have highs and lows.
"In some instances, he’s done really well in some instances, he’s struggled a little bit. And most of the struggles are really just put himself in a position to win. Right and that’s getting used to playing the game at this speed and at this level."
Warhop isn’t backing down from a statement he made earlier this year.
"I made the statement before about Walker. I think he’s the most prepared guy I’ve had and I still stand by that but there’s still a process involved, right, for a guy to come out of college to come into this league, and have to play left tackle, unless you’re a top five pick and even those guys struggle playing a left tackle."
In case you missed it, the Jaguars’ offensive line coach noted earlier this year that Little came in as if not more prepared than any first- or second-round pick he’s ever coached. That’s some pretty high praise for a player that last played a meaningful football game in 2019.
It’s a matter of time before Walker Little starts for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars applied the franchise tag on Cam Robinson earlier this year. Although head coach Urban Meyer said the team wanted to work out a multi-year deal, the deadline to reach an agreement passed. Thus, the 2017 second-round pick will play the 2021 season on the tag. If he struggles, the coaching staff might take him off the field and plug Little in. That’s not the rookie’s only path to the starting lineup though.
Robinson is set to be a free agent next offseason. Unless he plays extraordinarily well or Little struggles badly, he might not be back in Jacksonville. That would pave the way for Little, who should be ready by then. Keep in mind that he missed most of the 2019 season after tearing his ACL. He then opted out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it could take him a bit longer to adjust to the pros.
Still, Walker Little has the tools to become a starting left tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It may be a bit later than expected but he will get his chance to show what he can do on the football field.