No. 3 Jaguars player whose stock rose after the draft – Ben Bartch, LG
Here’s another player that benefited from the moves the Jaguars didn’t make in the draft. A fourth-round pick in 2020, Ben Bartch has made 12 starts over the last two years (11 in 2021), and barring injury, he will be Jacksonville’s starting left guard in Week 1.
The Jags parted ways with offensive guards Andrew Norwell and A.J. Cann. They signed Brandon Scherff in free agency to take the latter’s spot in the lineup but didn’t add anyone to fill the void left by the former. Instead, the team’s brass will take a look at Bartch in 2022. Last year, the former St. John Johnny allowed three sacks and 24 total pressures on 460 pass-blocking snaps. While those aren’t great numbers, he posted Pro Football Focus grades of 77.8 or higher from Weeks 8 to 10. Although it was just a brief stretch of solid play, he finished the year with a 62.6 overall grade.
There are reasons to believe that the coaching staff and/or the front office expect Bartch to improve in 2022. The biggest one is that they didn’t bring in anyone to compete for the left guard job. Veteran Tyler Shatley might get a look there if he can’t beat rookie Luke Fortner for the center job.
With Scherff entrenched as the Jaguars’ right guard in 2022, there are no viable options at left guard but Bartch. He will have a chance to show the Jaguars’ trust in him wasn’t misplaced.