3 young Jacksonville Jaguars ready for bigger roles in 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) and Travon Walker (44) at TIAA Bank Field.
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) and Travon Walker (44) at TIAA Bank Field. / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY
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No. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars player ready for a bigger role - Walker Little

. No. 1 young Jaguar ready for a bigger role in 2023. . player. 52. . Walker Little, OL. 72

Right tackle Jawaan Taylor deserves praise for hitting his stride after failing to find consistency early in his NFL career. A second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, the former Florida Gator struggled with penalties and was a liability in pass protection, giving up an average of 44 pressures in his first three seasons.

However, Taylor turned the corner in 2022. He had to fend off Walker Little in training camp but he showed during the regular season why he beat his fellow offensive lineman, allowing a career-best 16 total pressures and just five sacks.

The downside of having a career year is that Taylor position himself to earn a big payday in free agency, and given the Jaguars' dearth of cap space, bringing back was always going to be a tall order. The front office made Taylor an offer but he ended up signing a four-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Then again, Jacksonville might have felt comfortable letting Taylor walk because of the presence of Little, who has shown starting potential over the last two seasons. A second-round pick in the 2021 draft, Little tore his ACL in 2019 and opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, he showed up to the team's Organized Activities in great shape and made a positive impression on the coaching staff.

Although the former Stanford Cardinal spent most of his rookie campaign on the bench, he started the last two games of the season in relief of Cam Robinson and proved that he could hold the fort without trouble.

Little also made three starts at left tackle and will be the first in line to replace Taylor. It's possible that the Jaguars will add an offensive tackle in the draft but Little has shown he's more than capable to step in Taylor's place.

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