Things worked out fine for Jacksonville Jaguars despite not landing OT Jonah Williams
Interest in Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams ramped up after he requested a trade earlier this year. Even though a robust market for his services materialized, Cincy ultimately convinced Willams to stick around but that didn't stop the Jacksonville Jaguars from inquiring about his potential availability. Although the Jags weren't able to pull off a trade, you could make the case that things ended up working out just fine for them.
Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Jacksonville showed legitimate interest in Williams before the 2023 NFL Draft. However, Cincinnati opted not to move him and unable to land Williams, the Jaguars chose Anton Harrison in Round 1.
Williams, a first-round pick in 2019, missed his rookie season after suffering a torn labrum but has made 42 starts over the last three seasons. Moreover, he's been a bright spot in what's otherwise been an underwhelming Bengals offensive line.
It's true that Williams struggled last season, giving up 12 sacks, but that was due to having gotten offseason surgery after dislocating both kneecaps. The former Alabama standout will tentatively play right tackle in 2023, with Orlando Brown, who signed a four-year deal worth $64 million in free agency, slated to line up on the left side.
Not landing Jonah Williams led the Jaguars to draft Anton Harrison
Jonah Williams is a fine player and he would have been an adequate replacement for Jawaan Taylor, who got a four-year, $80 million deal from the Kansas City Chiefs, at right tackle. Having said that, the Jacksonville Jaguars ended with a pretty favorable outcome.
For starters, they didn't have to give up any kind of compensation to acquire Williams. Also, they would have been on the hook for his $12.6 million cap hit in 2023. Instead, they have Anton Harrison on a more affordable rookie year and won't have to give him a new deal next year, as they would probably have with Williams.
Harrison is set to replace Taylor at right tackle, while 2022 second-round pick Walker Little moves to left tackle, where he's a more natural fit. Williams would have been a proven commodity in the trenches but Harrison might have a bigger upside. On top of that, Williams has gotten hurt several times over the last four years while Harrison will enter the NFL without a long list of past injuries
Throughout the process, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made one thing clear: They will spare no expenses to give Trevor Lawrence the best possible protection upfront. Whether it was Williams or Harrison, the Jags knew for a while that they wanted to bolster the right side of their offensive line.