1. Interior offensive line
The Jaguars have dealt with lots of injuries this season, and their offensive line depth has been tested with Cam Robinson, Walker Little, Ezra Cleveland, and even Blake Hance taking turns at left tackle. But let's say they enjoy much better health up front next year, left tackle shouldn't be an issue. Left guard, and center, on the other hand, might be.
Ben Bartch was the starting left guard last year, but a dislocated knee cut his season short. The hope was that he was going to recover back in time for the 2023 opener. He did return but wasn't 100 percent. By Week 4, the team's brass had seen enough and benched him in favor of veteran Tyler Shatley.
While Shatley is a dependable backup who can play all three positions across the interior offensive line, he isn't a starting-caliber guard, which is why the Jaguars bumped Walker Little inside when Cam Robinson returned from a suspension to start the 2023 season. Little got hurt the same week he moved to guard, and Shatley was plugged back in but that was because they had nobody else.
That's probably why the Jags traded for Ezra Cleveland at the deadline. Cleveland, a second-round pick, was a good guard for the Minnesota Vikings, but he became expendable once Dalton Risner signed with them in September. Cleveland hasn't had enough time to show whether he should get an extension, but the Jaguars should consider bringing him back next year.
But whether the Jags keep Cleveland around, that shouldn't stop them from drafting a couple of hog mollies to replenish the offensive line. Also, adding a veteran to compete with Luke Fortner would make sense. Not only would they add depth to the group but Fortner could benefit from having a bit of a competition.
The jury is still out on the former Kentucky Wildcat, who hasn't shown enough progress in Year 2 to make you think he's the long-term answer at center. By bringing in veteran competition, he could get the nudge he needs, or show that a change is needed. The bottom line is that the Jaguars need to fortify the trenches if they want to do a better job of running the ball and keep Trevor Lawrence upright in 2024.