JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With training camp only a few weeks away, the News4Jax sports team is going to break down the Jaguars roster, position by position.
Coach Urban Meyer has opted to keep the core of this group together. And despite the vote of confidence to retain those big guys, Meyer has gone on record multiple times to say that the group will need to take some big steps forward.
“The issue is going to be, ‘Oh, the offensive line has got to play better.’ That’s the next. Our offensive line has got to play really well. We’re confident that we have good players here.”
O-Line on the roster
Ben Bartch, A.J. Cann, Brandon Linder, KC McDermott, Andrew Norwell, Austen Pleasants, Will Richardson Jr., Cam Robinson, Tyler Shatley, Jawaan Taylor, Tre’Vour Wallace-Sims, Derwin Gray, Walker Little, Garrett McGhin.
Expected number on final roster: Nine
When it comes to depth on the offensive line, one of the biggest things teams want is versatility from their backup players. And with guys like Richardson and Shatley on the roster, the Jaguars have a couple of Swiss army knives who can move all over the line. Bartch also should have some of that versatility, but that has yet to be seen on the NFL level.
Bartch played tackle in college and played guard for the Jaguars last season. The previous regime that drafted Bartch said they envisioned him playing tackle one day. If he can make Meyer and the new coaching staff believe that same thing that would strengthen his case for a roster spot.
Expected depth chart
LT Cam Robinson and Walker Little
LG Andrew Norwell
C Brandon Linder and Tyler Shatley
RG A.J. Cann and Ben Bartch
RT Jawaan Taylor and Will Richardson
The depth chart along the offensive line is very similar to what we saw last year, with Little as the only new name in the mix. The starting five is pretty well locked in but the backups are where things get messy. Little should be the primary backup at both tackle positions. In the interior, Shatley should continue his role as the top sub at center and both guard spots. Heading into his second year, Bartch could be a player who pushes for a spot as the primary backup at guard.
Possible camp surprise
Walker Little in the starting lineup
Don’t count Little out of forcing his way into a starting job. If not for an injury and a Covid-19 opt-out season, Little would likely have been a higher draft pick. The biggest reason I won’t count Little out is that he was hand-selected by this coaching staff.
They inherited the other tackles on the roster. It will be a tough sell to slot him on the left side where he will likely play one day because the team franchise tagged Robinson. And that would be a lot of money to pay a guy to sit on the bench. On the other end of the line at right tackle, Taylor is heading into his third year with the team. Last year, Taylor showed well as a run blocker but struggled with pass blocking. Little’s easiest route to the starting lineup will take him through Taylor.