JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With training camp right around the corner, it is time to look at the Jaguars roster position by position.
Each day this week, News4JAX looks at each offensive unit on the Jaguars.
The final group this week is the offensive line.
With Brandon Linder, Andrew Norwell and AJ Cann all gone there will be some new faces blocking for Trevor Lawrence this season. Based on the stats, the Jaguars offensive line was fine in 2021. The Jaguars allowed 32 sacks, the ninth fewest in the NFL.
But a large part of that number was Lawrence’s ability to use his legs to get out of trouble and his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. The good news is that unlike a year ago, there will be real competition to earn a starting spot on the O-line this year.
“I have a good idea of our day one group, but training camp will be a great opportunity for guys to fight for a job,” said Jaguars offensive line coach Phil Rauscher.
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THE OFFENSE | Jaguars breakdown: The tight ends
After franchise tagging Robinson twice the Jaguars have finally worked out a long-term deal with the left tackle. After signing his new three-year deal, Robinson will be in that spot for the foreseeable future. He will provide stability at the left tackle spot.
At rookie minicamp speaking about the right guard situation Doug Pederson said that “Ben’s obviously the guy right now.”
That’s a nice vote of confidence for a young player still looking to solidify his spot. Bartch started 11 games for the Jaguars last year and showed a lot of potential. After playing college ball at Division III Saint John’s University the arrow is still pointing up on Bartch as he heads into his third season as a pro.
In the third round of the draft, the Jaguars took Fortner, who they hope will be their center of the future. At Kentucky, he made 36 consecutive starts playing both right guard and center for the Wildcats. Fortner will compete to earn a starting spot at either guard or canter.
After years of filling in as a depth player, is it finally Shatley’s turn to shine? He has spent his entire career with the Jaguars and has been a mainstay backup interior offensive lineman, making starts at both guard spots and center. With Brandon Linder hanging up the cleats, Shatley is the veteran option to replace him at center. He will have to fend off the rookie to win the job.
He is finally out of Washington after the Commanders franchise tagged him for back-to-back seasons. Finally a free agent, Scherff signed a big deal with the Jaguars. During his career, Scherff has made five Pro Bowls. In 2020, he was named to the Associated Press first-team All-Pro squad. He is one of the top guards in the league. The only thing that has slowed him down has been injuries. Scherff has missed at least two games in each of the last five seasons.
He has started every game of his three-year career. Since getting drafted, Taylor has been a mainstay in the Jaguars starting lineup. Despite that consistency, Taylor has had some struggles along the way. This year, he will have to fend off Walker Little, last year’s second-round pick, to keep his start streak alive.
He is making the switch. Little has played left tackle his entire life. In three starts last season, Little showed some real promise. With Cam Robinson signing an extension this offseason, Little now has his sights set on the right tackle spot. Little struggled to get comfortable with lining up at right tackle last season but with a year of work he is now ready to compete.
Will Richardson Jr.
Versatility has been the key for Richardson. He has started games at both guard and tackle. Richardson’s ability to play any spot on the O-line makes him valuable on gamedays.
After signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018, McDermott has bounced between the practice squad and the active roster. He made one start for the Jaguars in 2021.
Pederson mentioned Cronk as one of the players fighting for reps with the starting group at guard. Cronk spent part of 2021 on the Jaguars practice squad. Cronk is listed as a tackle and played tackle in college, but his future could be as an interior player.
He spent last season on the Jaguars practice squad. Traore appeared in the final game of the season against the Colts.
He spent most of last season on the Jaguars practice squad. Hocker’s roster spot is already on thin ice. The Jaguars cut him on May 11 only to re-sign him two days later. Hocker originally signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2021.
A late addition to the group. In May, the Giants waived Martin and the Jaguars quickly claimed the veteran lineman. Martin has played in 32 career games during his three-year career, spending two seasons in Washington and one most recently with the Giants.
Undrafted free agent from Utah, Ford was first team All-Pac 12 during his final two seasons with the Utes.
Competition can bring out the best of players. In 2021, Urban Meyer and Co. gift-wrapped the starting five spots. This year’s camp battles will decide the starters at three spots along the line. With the renewed sense of competition, the Jaguars also have replenished some of their depth up front. If Cam Robinson and Brandon Scherff play up to their contracts the Jaguars will have two linchpins to work around. Barring any major injuries, this is a group that should vastly be improved from a year ago.