Jacksonville Jaguars get it right by trading for Ezra Cleveland: 3 observations

• The Jaguars bolster their interior O-Line at the NFL trade deadline

• They acquired Ezra Cleveland from the Vikings for 4th-round pick

• Here are 3 observations regarding the move

Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles
Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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2. Ben Bartch wasn't part of the Jacksonville Jaguars long-term plan

It's not hyperbole to say that the Jags' 2020 draft is among the worst they had the past 10 years and that's saying something. After this season, defensive end DaVon Hamilton could be the only remaining player from that class. But for a moment, as brief as it was, it seemed like Ben Bartch could've signed a second contract in Jacksonville.

Injuries pressed Bartch into action as a rookie. He then took over at right guard in 2021 when A.J. Cann went down in Week 4. Although he had a rough stretch, Bartch consistently got better. He was the Jags starting left guard in the 2022 opener but suffered a knee injury in Week 5 that cut his season short.

Bartch spent the offseason recovering and returned in time for the opener. However, he struggled and was replaced in favor of Tyler Shatley in Week 4. Maybe he wasn't 100 percent or perhaps he was rusty after being away from the field for several months. Regardless of the season, Bartch only played four offensive snaps and was mostly relegated to special teams since being benched.

It was telling that the coaching staff went with Blake Hance when right guard Brandon Scherff got hurt in Week 5 despite the fact that Bartch had experience lining up on the right side. Not surprisingly, Jacksonville released Batch to make room for Cleveland.

But even if Bartch had returned to shape, he was in a contract year. There are other players who were ahead of him on the Jaguars' priority list, so there's a chance he would've walked in free agency.