The 2023 season ended on a sour note for the Jacksonville Jaguars. One year after making the postseason and winning the AFC South, they were knocked out of playoff contention in the finale. But as disappointing as things went, there were several bright spots. One of them was the play of right tackle Anton Harrison, who lived up to expectations and even made NFL Media's All-Rookie team despite the fact that he played through a shoulder injury.
Harrison originally got hurt in the preseason but managed to start all 17 games last year. Following the conclusion of the season, he successfully underwent shoulder surgery, per Demetrius Harvey of the Florida Times-Union. Although the Oklahoma product got off to a rough start to his rookie campaign, he progressively got better. After giving up five sacks the first eight weeks, he didn't surrender a single one the best of the way.
While Harrison still has room for improvement as a run blocker, it's fair to say that drafting him 27th overall was one of the best decisions the team's brass made last year. This is especially true when you take into account that he was expected to replace Jawaan Taylor, who signed a top-market contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
What makes Harrison's success even more impressive is that he switched positions as a rookie. Having mostly played left tackle in college, he moved to the right side in Jacksonville.
Anton Harrison gives the Jaguars a building block
Even though the Jaguars have to make considerable upgrades to the offensive line, they don't have to worry about the right tackle spot due to the presence of Anton Harrison. Although he was snubbed in favor of Dawand Jones in Pro Football Focus' All-Rookie team, Bucky Brooks of NFL Media made sure to show love and included him on his.
Harrison was one of two Jaguars rookies who popped up on Brooks' list. The other was defensive back Antonio Johnson. Regarding Harrison, Brooks argues that he might've earned the right to play left tackle in the future.
"The agile bookend steadily improved while logging 1,100-plus snaps as the Jaguars' starting right tackle. Harrison's athleticism and quick hands could eventually lead to a move to left tackle to protectTrevor Lawrence's blind side."
That's an interesting take. Harrison was asked after the season if he would be open to returning to the left side. He said that it will be up to the coaches.
Currently, the Jaguars have a couple of starting left tackles, Cam Robinson and Walker Little. Robinson is set to make $21.638 million but the Jags could free up $17.7 million in space with $3.8 million in dead money if they release him. The first in line to replace him would be Little, a second-round pick in 2021. But if the team's brass isn't confident in him, Harrison would then be an alternative at left tackle, although that seems unlikely right now.
Whether Anton Harrison lines up at left or right tackle in the future, he proved in his rookie season that he's a building block. With one spot in the trenches sorted out, the Jacksonville Jaguars now need to take care of the rest.