The Jacksonville Jaguars traded for a Minnesota Vikings player at the deadline but it wasn't defensive end Danielle Hunter. Instead, they acquired left guard Ezra Cleveland in exchange for a sixth-round selection in 2024. Although the move isn't particularly flashy, it gives the Jags' interior line a significant boost.
Cleveland, a second-round pick in 2020, has appeared in 53 games with 49 starts. Jaguars offensive line coach Phil Rauscher was his position coach his first two seasons, so he should be able to get acclimated to his new team quickly.
Throughout the year, Ben Bartch, Tyler Shatley, and Walker Little made starts at left guard. Cleveland should put a stop to the revolving door at the position. Although he's been dealing with a foot sprain, he should recover in time for the Jaguars' bout against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10.
All things considered, acquiring Cleveland was a low-key move that should give the Jags stability at left guard for the remainder of the season barring injuries. With that in mind, here are three observations regarding the trade.
No. 3 The Jacksonville Jaguars got a bargain when they traded for Ezra Cleveland
If Ezra Cleveland is healthy, he will be an immediate upgrade at left guard. He's surrendered just 10 total pressures and one sack on 248 pass-blocking snaps. His Pro Football Focus overall grade ranks eighth among qualifying guards. While Tyler Shatley is a serviceable player and provides invaluable depth at all three positions on the interior offensive line, he's better suited for a backup role.
Moreover, all it took the Jags to acquire Cleveland was a sixth-round pick. That's a pretty good deal. This is especially true when you take into account that until recently, he had made 49 consecutive starts.
Cleveland is set to hit the open market next year, so he could turn out to be a one-year rental. On the other hand, he could make a strong impression and earn a contract extension. Either way, the Jaguars will have options at the position.