I’m sure that you’ve heard that building a team in the trenches can win you games. Would you agree with this conventional wisdom? Fans have made arguments for the Jaguars to use the top pick on Aiden Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Trayvon Taylor, Evan Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu, all of whom are considered franchise-changing talents. Looking at the share of busts the Jags have taken in the first round, it’s essential that they get this one right.
There of course are a few scenarios that have the Jaguars trading back. This would sway the team to go in a different direction. But no matter who the team decides to draft, they will be a new cornerstone to this era of the franchise. There are pieces on the team now that seem like they are missing their counterparts. Whichever talent the leadership is drafting could alter the team’s fortunes for the next three or four years.
Having said that, is it better to build an offensive line that can bully the defense around? Of course, every week teams want to be able to manipulate the offense. Defensive coaches want to make the offense become one-dimensional. Will it be the Jaguar’s defense that brings a championship to Duval?
The Jaguars can build an offense that passes to score and runs to win.
Head coach Doug Pederson believes that teams pass to score and run to win. With that logic, the Jaguars can draft for an offense to score points early and run the ball to finish out the games. Evan Neal has recently been telling teams that he could be plugged at guard or tackle in the NFL. Neal could upgrade a line that is desperate to find continuity.
Similarly, Ikem Ekwonu is a player that could come in a play one of the tackle positions at a high level. Although, the need of the team on the offensive line will need to consider versatility. The depth of the line has to be on the team’s leadership’s minds.
The news of Brandon Linder retiring after eight years with the Jaguars leaves a hole in the middle. Tyler Shatley wil be a solid replacement for the time being but the Jaguars will have to think about finding a long-term solution through the draft or sign someone like J.C. Tretter in free agency. Tretter is a starter who only missed one game last year due to Covid-19.
I would consider Neal as the best option at No. 1. He would provide some more stability in the where ever he steps in. Walker Little at least will undergo a positions battle with either starting tackle from last year.