Grading Jaguars 2022 NFL Draft: Round 3, No. 65 pick – Luke Fortner, OL.
While the Jaguars traded up to bolster their linebacker corps in the first round, they chose to patiently wait for center Luke Fortner to fall to them at No. 65. They needed to fill the void left by Brandon Linder, who called it quits not long after free agency started.
Tyler Shatley, who has started 18 games over the last two seasons, will be the first in line to replace Linder. However, the Jags knew they needed a long-term solution at center and Fortner could be that player. Fortner was granted an extra year of eligibility at Kentucky due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he made the most of it.
After previously lining up at guard, he made 13 starts at center and was a First-Team All-SEC selection in 2021. Moreover, he posted a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 85.0, which ranked eighth-best in the country.
The Ohio native should continue to get better and may be given a legitimate shot to compete with Shatley for the starting job. If he happens to lose, the Jags can have him sit his rookie campaign but if he wins, the Jags will have found a long-term term at center, and the best part could be that they didn’t have to trade up to land him. Sure, Tyler Linderbaum and Cam Jurgens were ranked higher and might have been pretty good additions in Rounds 1 or 2 but Fortner’s upside is too much to ignore.