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Second round might be just right for an offensive lineman


The Jaguars will certainly address their need on the offensive line in this year's NFL draft and, if recent history is any indication, coach Tom Coughlin will use a second-round pick on a blocker.

Coughlin selected guard Brad Meester and tackle Maurice Williams in the second round of the last two drafts, and each player became immediate starters. So, who will it be this year?

Tackles Bryant McKinnie of Miami and Mike Williams of Texas are the top-rated offensive linemen this year, and the possibility exists one of those two players could fall to the Jaguars at the ninth spot in the first round. If that happens, Coughlin will clearly have to consider using his first-round pick on a blocker.

What happens if McKinnie and Williams are not available? Well, there appears to be a gap between those two players and the next-highest rated offensive lineman, which would probably cause the Jaguars to delay their most pressing need on offense until round two.

Nebraska guard Toniu Fonoti and Auburn guard Kendall Simmons are likely second-half-of-the-first-round picks, as is Arizona State offensive tackle Levi Jones and Colorado guard Andrew Gurode.

The Jaguars have the eighth pick of the second round, and the offensive linemen who would be available to them may include Florida tackle Mike Pearson, Boston College tackle Marc Colombo, Colorado tackle Victor Rogers, Ohio State center/guard LeCharles Bentley and Tennessee guard/center Fred Weary.

Though the top level of this year's offensive line crop is very impressive, a distinct fall-off will begin in the third round. This year's class would seem to suggest that if you have an immediate need for an offensive lineman, you better get your man within the first two rounds.

Other second-round candidates include centers Melvin Fowler of Maryland and Seth McKinney of Texas A&M. Guards Terrence Metcalf of Ole Miss, Eric Heitman of Stanford and Martin Bibla of Miami are middle-rounders of interest.

Pearson, 6-7, 304, would be a popular local choice for the Jaguars, though his draft stock has fallen hard in recent weeks. Pearson is an accomplished pass-blocker who needs to add muscle and bulk to reach his full potential.

Colombo is 6-7, 313, and often looks the part. He must improve his footwork and mobility.

Rogers, 6-6, 330, has been labeled injury-prone, but his talent will tempt a team to disregard Rogers' past.

Bentley would immediately solve the Jaguars' need for a quality center for the long-term future. He's as good as they get at the pivot position.

Weary is a guard who can play center. He's a high-character, try-hard guy who can be dominating in a confined area, but lacks mobility. In the Jaguars' limited-movement blocking scheme, Weary might be just right.

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