Anton Harrison will get the chance to become a fixture of Jacksonville Jaguars O-Line

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, head coach Doug Pederson, and first-round draft pick Anton Harrison.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, head coach Doug Pederson, and first-round draft pick Anton Harrison. / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars could've gone in several directions in the first round of the 2023 NFL but they wanted to make sure Trevor Lawrence has optimal protection up front, so they took Anton Harrison with the 27th overall pick. With left tackle Cam Robinson expected to sit out several games next season, Harrison will be given a chance to become a mainstay on the offensive line for years to come.

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report recently talked about every 2023 first-round pick's potential impact and believes Harrison has the potential to become a "fixture along this line for the next half-decade", noting that he comes at a crucial time.

"While the Jaguars have some solid depth in the offensive trenches—they could afford to let Taylor go with 2022 second-round pick Walker Little on the roster—Harrison could get his first crack at starting on the right side while Little covers the left during Robinson's absence. It's unclear what will happen once Robinson returns, but the experience Harrison receives early in his rookie campaign will be invaluable."

Harrison mostly lined up at left tackle in college but said after the draft that he felt comfortable playing on the right side, which is where he'll start his NFL career, according to head coach Doug Pederson.

With Harrison expected to play right guard, Walker Little will move back to left tackle, his more natural spot. Last year, Little challenged Jawaan Taylor for the starting job at right tackle. Although he took the competition to the wire, Taylor ended up winning and Little served as the team's swing tackle throughout most of the season.

Little replaced Robinson near the end of the season and went on to make five starts (two in the playoffs). With Robinson set to serve a suspension for violations to the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, Little will begin the regular season and Harrison will be given the opportunity to remain at right tackle beyond 2023.

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a long-term approach with Anton Harrison

The Jaguars could have waited for Robinson to return from his suspension and roll with backup tackle Josh Wells during his absence. However, the team's brass probably believe it was time to start revamping the offensive line. Otherwise, they wouldn't have invested a first-round pick on Harrison.

Little has previously flashed starting potential and with ample time to prepare for the 2023 season, he should be fully ready for Week 1. This makes it difficult to believe the Jaguars will go back with Robinson once he returns from his suspension.

When it comes to Harrison, it's fair to assume that the Jaguars are going to stick with him throughout the ups and downs he will probably experience as a rookie season. And barring injuries, the team's brass will keep Robinson on the bench.

In fact, there's a good chance Robinson won't be on the roster in 2024, when he's projected to count $22 million against the cap. Releasing him next offseason would free up $17.75 in space with $5 million in dead money.

The Jaguars could then use those saving to give Trevor Lawrence a new contract or try to re-sign some of their potential free agents (wide receiver Calvin Ridley, and outside linebacker Josh Allen). Either way, the team's brass might have telegraphed their decision to part ways with Robinson when they drafted Harrison.

All things considered, drafting Harrison gives the Jacksonville Jaguars lots of flexibility. He'll be an affordable replacement for right tackle Jawaan Taylor and his presence will allow the team to move Walker Little back to left tackle. This in turn will give them the opportunity to invest in other position groups next season.

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