This is a need-based pick because of how important this unit is towards the future of Trevor Lawrence. Whenever a team struggles to figure it out on the line, especially housing a young franchise quarterback, building the foundation of your offense becomes more complex. That is to say, although it isn’t considered an ‘attractive’ pick, selecting offensive linemen creates stability on offense.
Their line hasn’t been terrible as James Robinson has been able to average 4.8 yards per gain (good enough for 11th in the league), and there are games where they bent but didn’t break namely, their 9-6 win over one of the strongest defenses in the league in Week 9 vs. the Bills.
Specifically, a bright spot has been Cam Robinson. The fifth-year tackle is a pending unrestricted free agent as he was franchise tagged this past offseason. Jacksonville has cap space but, they’ll have to decide whether or not he will be one of the players they choose to spend money on in the market. In 2021, he has impressively only given up one sack and he’s had impressive outings as of late. The Jaguars need to address their talent at this spot especially if Robinson doesn’t return next season to block Trevor Lawrence’s blindside.
Center Brandon Linder being in the top 10 in ESPN’s run and pass block win rating chart along with guard Andrew Norwell being fourth in run block win rate (stats as of Week 14) are signs of hope. There have been weeks where the line has taken steps back though, this is why drafting high-level talent is still a necessity.
The Jaguars would be the third overall pick if the draft started today. With that being said, an option if they wanted to use the first round for lineman insurance, would be Alabama’s Evan Neal who is considered the cream of the 2022 prospect crop for offensive tackles. Not only would Neal usher in a new tackle for the future, but this also provides a cheaper option than Robinson. The 6-foot-7 former five-star recruit uses his long reach to wipe out pass rushers and his quickness mixed in with his size aids in the ground game.
If Jacksonville plans on using this draft pick for another position, they would look through the mid-to-late rounds to find a hidden gem. Nevertheless, the Jaguars find themselves being thin depth-wise across their front – causing this group to be an area of need.