You have to give the Jacksonville Jaguars some credit. They weren’t afraid to spend big this offseason to bolster their offensive line and ensure Trevor Lawrence is well-protected in 2022. They gave left tackle Cam Robinson a blockbuster contract and later inked right guard Brandon Scherff in free agency. But in spite of the money they shelled out, they got a pretty low spot in a recent ranking.
Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus recently ranked every NFL offensive line and the Jaguars’ hog mollies popped up at No. 26th, one spot above the Tennesse Titans and one below the Arizona Cardinals, the top club in the “uninspiring tier“. Simply, Renner thinks that it’s difficult to point to any areas where Jacksonville’s O-Line improved this offseason.
"It’s scary to think that the Jaguars fielded one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year and then lost their best lineman to retirement this offseason in Brandon Linder. While gaining Brandon Scherff makes that talent reduction a wash, it’s still difficult to come up with areas where this unit improves. The Jaguars will be banking on Jawaan Taylor playing better than he did in the first three NFL seasons, as he’s yet to surpass a 63.7 overall grade."
The Jaguars’ offensive line underwent several changes this offseason. Left guard Andrew Norwell left in free agency and signed with the Washington Commanders. Ben Bartch will take his place in the starting lineup. Similarly, Brandon Scherff will fill the void right guard A.J. Cann left when he joined the Houston Texans. Veteran Tyler Shatley will tentatively start at center in Week 1 and last but not least, Jawan Taylor will compete with sophomore Walker Little for the right tackle.
The Jaguars offensive line is in a transition period
All things considered, uninspiring is a fair description of the Jaguars’ offensive line. Other than Cam Robinson, the unit will have new starters at every position. Sure, Tyler Shatley made several starts at center in place of Brandon Linder last year but he entered the 2021 season as the backup. Having said that, it looks like the top brass has a solid vision in place.
Robinson has improved over the last two seasons, and the Jags believe he can continue playing at a high level. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have given his a long-term deal. On the other hand, they haven’t given up on Jawaan Taylor but also have a plan in case he underperforms. Walker Little showed flashes as a rookie, and although he doesn’t have much experience lining up at right tackle, he might have a bigger ceiling than Taylor.
Rookie Luke Fortner is currently behind Shatley on the depth chart but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him starting at center at some point of the 2022 season. The former Kentucky Wildcat made the switch to center last year after playing right guard for most of his collegiate career. Lastly, there’s the left guard spot. The coaching staff seems to be high on Ben Bartch, who has steadily improved over the last two seasons. If he performs well, he might keep the job for good.
The Jaguars’ offensive line experienced several adjustments this offseason. Besides signing Brandon Scherff, most of them weren’t earth-shattering. Yet, the team’s brass thinks they will make a difference come Week 1.