The Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive line underwent a couple of key changes in the last few months and the group faces a few questions ahead of the 2023 season. Not surprisingly, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus ranked them near the cellar of the league.
Monson ranked all 32 starting offensive lines and placed the Jags at No. 26, noting that they lost right tackle Jawaan Taylor — their best lineman last year. He then adds that Jacksonville had the worst unit in the league when it came to run blocking.
"Losing Jawaan Taylor almost certainly downgrades this group even though the team added Anton Harrison in the draft. Taylor was the best-graded pass protector of the group last year. Jacksonville's line ranked ninth in PFF pass-blocking efficiency but was by far the worst-graded run-blocking unit in football. "
The Jags' offensive line gave up 22 sacks (Brandon Scherff and Taylor accounted for 11 of them) last year and didn't give up one in six games. On the other hand, no Jacksonville lineman posted a PFF run-blocking grade of 60.0 or higher. Left guard Ben Bartch, who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5, earned a 68.6 mark. Left tackle Cam Robinson was the second-highest with a 57.3 grade.
Scherff, a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, made the Pro Bowl five times and earned a First-Team All-Pro designation as a member of the Washington Commanders. Before 2022, he had allowed just 11 sacks in his career and his 56.7 run-blocking grade was the lowest he's posted.
Taylor signed a four-year deal worth $80 million with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency. He had a breakout year in 2022 after struggling with consistency early in his career. The former Florida Gator gave up an average of 43 total pressure in his first three seasons but only 21 last year. Then there's Cam Robinson who is set to serve a multi-game suspension after violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
The Jaguars offensive line has room for improvement in 2023
All things considered, there are a handful of questions surrounding the Jacksonville offensive line ahead of the 2023 season. To replace Taylor, Jacksonville drafted Anton Harrison in the first round this year. The former Oklahoma Sooner will make the move to right tackle after lining up on the left side for most of his college career. The Jaguars' brass surely expects him to take a few lumps but also expects him to solidify the right side of the trenches.
Scherff, along with sophomore center Luke Fortner, should improve in their second year in offensive line head coach Phil Rauscher. Whether Scherff can bounce back in 2022 is something to keep an eye on. On the other hand, Fortner needs to build more consistency and show he's the long-term answer at center.
Bartch is still recovering from the knee injury he sustained in 2022 and he might not be ready for training camp. If he isn't good to go, Jacksonville will then go with veteran Tyler Shatley who's started 30 games on the interior line over the last three years. The thing is that there's a dropoff from Batch to Shatley but they could expose the former to further injury if they try to rush him back.
Another thing to keep an eye on is how Little fares at left tackle full-time. The former Stanford Cardinal has made eight starts (two in the playoffs) over the last two years but he'll need to prove he can hold his own during Robinson's suspension regardless of the games he misses.
There's a good chance the Jaguars will answer many of these questions but they have their work cut out if they want to keep Trevor Lawrence upright, which should be at the top of their priority list next season.