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On to 2024: What's in Store for Jaguars' Offensive Line?

031224 on to 24 OL

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars/NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks examine the Jaguars' offensive line in this position-by-position look at the '24 offseason

Position: Offensive line.

  • Position coach: Phil Rauscher.
  • 2023 starters: Left tackle Cam Robinson (9), left tackle/left guard Walker Little (7/4), left tackle/left guard/sixth Ezra Cleveland (1/4/1), left guard Ben Bartch (3), left guard Tyler Shatley (6), center Luke Forter (17), right guard Brandon Scherff (17), right tackle Anton Harrison (17), Blake Hance (1).
  • Others: Chandler Brewer, Cooper Hodges, Cole Van Lanen, Darryl Williams, Jimmy Murray, Keaton Sutherland.

2023 At A Glance

This was a major focus throughout the season as the line at times struggled with cohesion and continuity because of injuries and lack of availability – particularly on the left side. Robinson, a starter since 2017, missed the first four games of the season on an NFL-mandated suspension and also missed Weeks 14-17 with a knee injury. Bartch started the first three games of the season at left guard, with Shatley replacing him in Week 4 and Little sustaining a knee injury shortly after his first start at left guard in Week 5. Shatley, Little and Cleveland essentially rotated at left guard – with the Jaguars acquiring Cleveland in a trade-deadline deal with the Minnesota Vikings in late October. Little started seven games at left tackle and four at left guard, with Cleveland starting a game at guard when Little and Robinson were both unavailable.

Offseason Storyline

This was a key Jaguars storyline as the March 13 start of the 2024 NFL League Year approached, with multiple unknowns around the position. Cleveland re-signed with the team late last week and figures to start at left guard moving forward. General Manager Trent Baalke during the recent NFL Scouting Combine said he expects Robinson – who has one season remaining on his contract – to return next season. Scherff, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2022 offseason, reportedly restructured his contract and will return to the team next season. Another notable free agent: Shatley, the most-tenured player on the team and a valuable reserve at guard/center throughout his 10 seasons with the Jaguars.

Free agents as of March 13: Shatley, Van Lanen (exclusive right).

Bucky Brooks' top three free agent offensive linemen:

Offensive Tackles

  1. Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
  2. Trent Brown, New England Patriots
  3. Mekhi Becton, New York Jets

Interior offensive linemen

  1. Kevin Dotson, Los Angeles Rams (extended)
  2. Robert Hunt, Miami Dolphins (reported deal with Carolina Panthers)
  3. Kevin Zeitler, Baltimore Ravens

Bucky Brooks' top three collegiate offensive linemen:

Offensive Tackles

  1. Joe Alt, Notre Dame
  2. Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State
  3. Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Interior offensive linemen 

  1.  Graham Barton, Duke
  2. Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon;
  3. Chris Haynes, Connecticut

Oehser Analysis: This was among the trickier areas to analyze as the start of the new league year approached, with multiple scenarios for the 2024 Jaguars' Week 1 starting offensive line very possible. The situation solidified in recent days, with the Jaguars reportedly agreeing to terms with former Buffalo Bills center Mitch Morse. That makes the Jaguars' likely starting line entering the 2024 offseason as follows: Anton Harrison at right tackle, Scherff at right guard, Morse at center, Cleveland at left guard and Robinson at left tackle. Whatever the lineup, the Jaguars' interior must run-block better in 2024 than in 2023, when the team's struggles to run in crucial situations significantly hurt the offense throughout the season.

Brooks Analysis: The Jaguars' offensive line disappointed in 2023. Injuries and sub-par performance from several unit members contributed to the offense's struggles in key moments. From the leaky protection in front of quarterback Trevor Lawrence to the offense's repeated failures in short-yardage/goal-line situations, the front line did not get the job done when it counted. Though the extended absence of Robinson forced Head Coach Doug Pederson to play musical chairs at left tackle, the struggles of Fortner and Scherff also keyed the unit's underachievement. The trio's blocking woes due to rust (Robinson) or technique overshadowed the strong play of Cleveland and Harrison during their Jaguars debuts. While the jury is still out on whether Little will emerge as a viable starter or provide quality depth as a "swing" player filling a key role as the sixth man coming off the bench, the Jaguars need the former second-round pick to make a bigger contribution in 2024.

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