The Jacksonville Jaguars are a few weeks away from kicking off Doug Pederson's first training camp at the helm, giving us plenty of time to take a look at each of the team's position groups before the 2022 season.
Jacksonville wasn't afraid to make a number of big moves on both sides of the ball this offseason, both via the free agency and the draft. Now, they have a new-look roster that contrasts in a big way from the roster we saw the team field in Week 1 in 2021.
Next up: the offensive tackle position. What does it look like today, what changes did the Jaguars make and what needs to be addressed ahead of camp?
The depth chart
Age/Experience: 26/sixth season.
The expectations will be high for Cam Robinson this season. He is now one of the highest-paid players on the roster and was given a strong deal for a left tackle, meaning his level of play will now have to match it to prove the Jaguars right. The Jaguars love his demeanor and commitment to winning, while he also had arguably his best season last season.
Robinson has appeared in 61 games during his five-year career after being drafted No. 34 overall in 2017. Last season, Robinson started in 14 games at left tackle, with rookie left tackle Walker Little (No. 45 overall) taking the other three starts.
Per TruMedia and PFF, Robinson allowed 15 sacks, 75 pressures, and 11 quarterback hits in 30 games from 2019-2020 -- an average of 7.5 sacks, 37.5 pressures, and 5.5 quarterback hits per season. But last year, Robinson allowed one sack, 29 pressures, and nine quarterback hits.
Age/Experience: 24/fourth season.
Jacksonville made an aggressive move to trade up for Jawaan Taylor in the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting the Florida offensive tackle with the No. 35 overall selection after trading the No. 38 and a fourth-round pick (No. 109) with the Raiders for No. 35, No. 140 and No. 235 overall.
Since then, Taylor has held down the right tackle position in a big way. He had to earn the starting job in training camp as a rookie but did so before Week 1; since then, he has started all 49 games at right tackle and has played 100% of the offensive snaps in each season.
Taylor was the only Jaguars offensive lineman to start every game last season and has a final chance to secure his starting role in Jacksonville this season. If Taylor wins the job and plays well, he could be in line for a new deal. If he loses the job and becomes the swing tackle, it could be his final year in Jacksonville.
Age/Experience: 23/second season.
One of the Jaguars' top picks a year ago, Walker Little didn't play much as a rookie due to the presence of Cam Robinson. But Little did flash enough to give himself a chance to win a starting job somewhere along the offensive line this fall, whether it be at right tackle or a possible conversion even inside to guard.
Little's strong play in relief of Cam Robinson against the Bills and then the Patriots and Colts in the last two games of the season was enough to inspire confidence in Little as a starter option entering this offseason, especially after he allowed just one pressure in his final two starts last season.
Little likely would have been a high first-round pick if not for circumstances outside of his control at Stanford. He sustained a season-ending injury in 2019 and then the COVID-19 pandemic derailed his final season at Stanford, leading to the Jaguars getting a potential steal at No. 45 overall.
Age/Experience: 26/fifth season.
Re-signed by the Jaguars this offseason, Will Richardson is a key depth piece who the Jaguars are high on. Richardson impressed the staff and front office last season and is set to once again be an important piece of the depth chart in 2022 thanks to his ability to play both guard and tackle, as well as the ability to play on the left or right side. Richardson has appeared in 44 career games for the Jaguars, all of which have come in the last three seasons. Richardson has started five games in that period, with two at left tackle in 2019 and two at right guard last season.
Age/Experience: 25/third season.
An undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2020, Badara Traore first signed with the Chicago Bears and spent his first year on the practice squad. He began his collegiate career at ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he earned First Team All-Offense honors from the Northeast Football Conference. In 2018, he transferred to LSU where he played in 26 games including five starts.
The Jaguars signed Traore to the roster last August, giving them a young and big-bodied offensive tackle prospect to develop along the bottom of the depth chart. He has frequently lined up at left tackle during the spring.
Age/Experience: 24/second season.
Signed to the Jaguars' practice squad last season, Cronk signed with the Packers as a rookie free agent last year and spent training camp in Greeb Bay. He played in two games with Iowa as a graduate transfer in 2020 after spending 2016-19 at Indiana. He has taken snaps at both tackle and guard for the Jaguars, with Pederson even mentioning him as a third candidate at left guard early in the offseason.
How the room changed this offseason
There was no change to the Jaguars' offensive tackle room this offseason, a result of the Jaguars investing a big contract in Robinson at left tackle and the team then ignoring tackle at No. 1 overall. The Jaguars were rumored to be in play for Alabama's Evan Neal or NC State's Ikem Ekwonu throughout the draft process, but the Jaguars instead opted to take pass-rusher Travon Walker as a result of Robinson and their faith in Taylor and Little at right tackle.
Most rooms on the Jaguars' roster changed this offseason, but not offensive tackle. Both starters and last year's swing tackle are all back and set to play big roles, with Robinson/Taylor/Little set to be the Jaguars' trio of tackles once again. The lone rookie offensive lineman the Jaguars drafted was Kentucky's Luke Fortner who, while versatile, isn't a tackle.
The biggest storyline surrounding the group following the offseason
Who is going to win the right tackle battle? The Jaguars made it clear how they view the left tackle position, giving Cam Robinson a three-year, $54 million deal after franchise-tagging him in March. Even if the Jaguars weren't going to be able to extend Robinson, they still wanted him to be their starting left tackle in 2022. But the Jaguars got the deal done, leaving right tackle as the lone tackle spot left open.
2019 second-rounder Jawaan Taylor has gotten the nod at right tackle for each of the last three seasons, starting all 49 games and providing the Jaguars with a sense of durability that they didn't get at the other four spots. With this in mind, Taylor has struggled at times with consistency and penalty issues.
Going up against Taylor will be 2021 second-round pick Walker Little, who started three games at left tackle as a rookie in reserve for Robinson. Little hasn't played a full season as a starter since 2018 and was a left tackle at Stanford and for his entire rookie season, but the Jaguars have opted for the second-year pro to slide to the right side and duke it out with Taylor this fall.
"I’ve seen where it’s going to be good competition come training camp I think when we put the pads on. It’s hard. We’re not in pads right now with the offseason program, but both guys have performed well," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said at the end of OTAs.
"They’ve really, I think, taken on this challenge. They know that they’re going to be in a battle, and it was us as coaches to make sure that we communicated that with them. We used them both on the right side, the left side, and got them some valuable reps there. It'll be good competition as we head into camp and as we get deeper into camp to see where this thing falls out.”