After using their first two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft on defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars added a couple of prospects on both sides of the ball that have the potential to earn key roles down the road. The Jags had already addressed most of their needs in free agency, so they were able to wait until the third round to fill their remaining holes.
First, the Jaguars selected Kentucky center Luke Fortner at No. 65. Five picks later, they choose linebacker Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma at No. 70. Neither player needs to start right away but they both have the potential to become starters in Jacksonville.
So what kind of players did the Jaguars draft? Good thing you ask, here’s what Fortner and Muma bring to the table.
The Jaguars found a potential long-term replacement for Brandon Linder.
Center became a need for the Jaguars after the retirement of veteran Brandon Linder but even if he hadn’t hung up the cleats, the Jags were in the market for a center. They had the chance to sign J.C. Tretter in free agency but opted to way for the draft to address the position.
Luke Fortner played 55 games at Kentucky and had experience lining up at different spots in the interior offensive line, so the Jags could plug him at either guard sport if needed. However, he will most likely get a chance to compete with incumbent Tyler Shatley for the starting job at center.
Back at college, Fortner made 36 consecutive starts. He qualified for a sixth year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic and returned to Kentucky in 2021. He made 13 starts at center and earned First-Team All-SEC honors. If he doesn’t beat Shatley for the starting job, he will be able to sit behind him and adjust to the NFL during his rookie campaign.