The Jacksonville Jaguars would have surely wanted to keep right tackle Jawaan Taylor on a long-term deal but they had a limited amount of cap space at their disposal, so they ultimately chose to let him walk in free agency.
To replace Taylor, the Jags selected Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison in the first round of this year's draft. Harrison is expected to start at right tackle in the opener but he might not be the only rookie that could end up having a featured role for Jacksonville in 2023. Here are other first-year players who could end up having a big impact.
No. 3 Rookie who could make a huge impact for the Jaguars: Tank Bigsby, RB
Travis Etienne missed his rookie campaign after suffering a Lisfranc tear in the 2021 preseason. However, he showed last year he could be a workhorse running back. Without having to spend time in rehab this offseason, the former Clemson Tiger has been working on being even better.
That's great news for the Jaguars when you take into account that Etienne totaled 1,414 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns last season. On the other hand, the coaching staff might feel inclined to lessen his workload due to the arrival of rookie Tank Bigsby.
A third-round pick in the 2023 draft, drafting Bigsby seemed unnecessary because Jacksonville had already inked D'Ernest Johnson in free agency and brought back JaMycal Hasty on a two-year deal. However, the front office couldn't pass up the chance to add a talent of Bigsby's caliber.
Bigsby has already made a strong impression in offseason workouts. It's true that it's hard to assess how good (or bad) a player is until the pads go on but the former Auburn Tiger has the skills to be a three-down back in the NFL. While it's hard to see him starting over Etienne in 2023, his performance could convince the coaching staff to split the workload evenly and deploy a committee.