4 Jacksonville Jaguars players who can bounce back from disappointment in 2023
No. 1 Jaguars player who can bounce back in 2023: Ben Bartch, LG
The Jaguars' 2020 draft class was pretty bad but they at least found offensive lineman Ben Bartch in the fourth round. The former St. John Johnny started a few games in his rookie campaign and lined up at right tackle once A.J. Cann was shut down in the 2021 season.
Bartch was the starting left guard in the 2022 opener and showed he'd come a long way since his rookie year. Unfortunately, he dislocated his knee in Week 5 and missed the rest of the season. Before this year's draft, head coach Doug Pederson told the media that Bartch's rehab is going well but might not be available for the start of camp.
If Bartch has to miss time, Jacksonville can go with veteran Tyler Shatley but there would be a steep dropoff, which could prompt the coaching staff to either rush Bartch back or him pushing through injuries and run the risk of getting hurt again.
To make matters worse, Bartch is entering a contract year, so he'll be incentivized to toughen up and try to have a breakout year. While there's a chance he doesn't miss time and shows out in 2023, the Jaguars' brass should err on the side of caution and shut him down until he's a full-go.
Let's say Bartch has to miss the first two games of the season but goes on to start the next 15, the wait would have paid off. Conversely, it doesn't make sense to rush him and have him in the opener only to lose him after a handful of games. Either way, Bartch needs to bounce back and deliver if he wants to earn a contract extension.