C Tyler Linderbaum seen as Jaguars’ ideal draft pick in 2nd round

Tyler Linderbaum during Hawkeye football media day. (Imagn Images photo pool)
Tyler Linderbaum during Hawkeye football media day. (Imagn Images photo pool) /

Whether it’s Aidan Hutchinson or Travon Walker, the Jacksonville Jaguars will most likely select a pass rusher with the first overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. What’s less certain is what position the Jaguars want to target in the second round. If they want to bolster their interior offensive line, they could select Cam Jurgens but they should also consider taking Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum if available.

Chad Reuter of NFL Media recently talked about the ideal two picks for every team in the draft. For the Jaguars, he chose Hutchinson at No. 1 and Linderbaum at No. 33. Hutchinson would be Jacksonville’s safest choice with the top pick, so nobody would bat an eye if he ends up going first overall. On other hand, Reuter notes that the Jags are “in the market for a young center” and thinks that Liderbaum might be available in the second round.

"Signing ex-49er Arden Key bolstered the Jaguars’ edge depth, but Hutchinson is still well worth jumping on as a strong three-down player who will be a robust run defender and bring down any quarterbacks who are chased in his direction by Josh Allen. The retirement of Brandon Linder means Jacksonville will be in the market for a young center. Linderbaum may fall to the second round (like Creed Humphrey did last year, to the Chiefs’ good fortune) because of his lack of size and length."

Reuter goes on to say that Linderbaum’s pro comparison is former Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil, who made five Pro Bows and two First-Team All-Pro teams. If Linderbaum turns out to be as productive as Kalil, the Jaguars wouldn’t be set at the center position for a long time. Having said that, there’s a chance he will be gone by the second round.

The Jaguars need to hope Linderbaum is available in the 2nd round.

Taking Linderbaum in the second round would ensure the Jaguars have a long-term answer at center but here’s the catch: The former Hawkeye might not be available by the time Jacksonville is in the clock at No. 33. NFL clubs may pass on him because he doesn’t have the prototypical size and length to play the position. However, some of them won’t mind and will gladly take him in the first round based on his college production.

Linderbaum made 33 career starts at Iowa and was named the 2021 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. Moreover, he is the highest-graded center of the Pro Football Focus College era. He’s also No. 19 on their top 150 big board. Then again, Brandon Thorn of the Bleacher Report scouting department believes “he must improve his use of hands” in order to put concerns about his size and anchoring to rest.

The Jaguars could take a linebacker, or a wide receiver in the second round but they shouldn’t pass up the chance to bolster the center position if Linderbaum falls out of the first.

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