Jaguars fortify the defensive trenches in CBS Sports 2023 draft do-over

• The Jaguars should've made more additions to the defensive trenches but not at the expense of the O-Line.

Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars fans during the first round of the 2023 NFL
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars fans during the first round of the 2023 NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars got themselves a stud offensive tackle when they drafted Anton Harrison 27th overall in last year's draft. While Harrison struggled early in 2023, he got much better as the season progressed. Looking back, the Jags are surely glad the way things played out but Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports thinks they might've been better off going with defensive tackle Calijah Kancey. who originally landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 19.

Trapassso re-did the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft and had Jacksonville drafting Kancey over Harrison because he believes he could've given the Jaguars' pass rush a boost. Here's what he had to say.

"Kancey started his NFL career injured. Once he got to full health, he was a pass-rushing weapon, and that's precisely what the Jaguars need up front on defense."

As Trapasso pointed out, a hamstring injury held Kancey back early in his rookie campaign, forcing him to miss three games. But he got in a roll once he returned, registering four sacks, ten tackles for a loss, and 32 total pressures.

Based on his production as a rookie, the Pitt product would've most definitely helped the Jags get after the quarterback. However, he struggled at times to stop the run, scoring a Pro Football Focus 28.9 grade in that department.

Entering his second NFL season, Kancey has yet to reach his ceiling, so he's got room to grow as both a pass rusher and a run defender. Then again, he was gone by the time the Jags were on the clock last year, so it's hard to tell if they would've considered picking him instead of Harrison.

Surprisingly, Harrison didn't get picked in Trapasso's do-over. In fact, Dawand Jones was the only offensive tackle selected, going to Tennessee Titans at No. 11. Peter Skoronski fell to the New Orleans Saints at No. 29, but he was projected to play offensive guard in the NFL and that's where he lined up with the Titans last season.

Also of note is that quarterback Anthony Richardson and cornerback Devon Witherspoon are the only players who stayed with the teams that originally drafted him, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Seattle Seahawks, respectively. Also, wide receiver Puka Nacua, who was a fifth-round pick in 2023, went to the Arizona Cardinals with the third overall selection.

The Jaguars wouldn't probably change Anton Harrison if given the chance

Calijah Kancey is a fine player but the Jaguars would probably pass on him in a do-over. Anton Harrison exceeded expectations as a rookie and he did so while making the transition to right tackle. When you take into account that the Jacksonville offensive line struggled with Harrison in the fold, it's fair to assume the unit would've probably been much worse without him.

Heading into 2024, there have been talks about Harrison moving back to left tackle, his natural position. That's how good he is. Even though the Jags have Cam Robinson and Walker Little in the mix, they would consider plugging Harrison in at left tackle because he may be their best option at the position.

The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars have a building block in Anton Harrison. While they've had their fair share of misses in recent years, they hit it out of the ballpark with their first-round pick in 2023.

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