The 10 Most Important Jaguars For 2020, No. 4: Cam Robinson
2020 is a make-or-break year for the current regime leading the Jacksonville Jaguars. While this may sound like a broken record after being overly repeated since the disappointing 2019 season drew to a close, it is the simple truth.
In the last two years, the Jaguars have finished in last place of the AFC South each season while compiling an 11-21 record. In fact, 2019's meager 6-10 record, as bad as it was, was actually one of the better records the Jaguars produced during the 2010s decade. The past has been ugly for the Jaguars and the team will assuredly put as much energy as possible into changing this in 2020.
As the Jaguars attempt to reverse their look and field a winning team in the fall, they will need all 53 members of the active roster and every coach on the staff to step their game up. But among those on the team, there are a select few players who will be especially pivotal to Jacksonville's success.
As we continue to move forward toward the start of the 2020 NFL season (pending one actually taking place), we will take a look at which players we think are especially important next season.
We have already hit the first half of our list, with the following players being ranked No. 5 through No. 10:
Now, we move onto our pick for the No. 4 most important Jaguar in 2020. This time, we once again designate an offensive player as a key piece to Jacksonville's success, or lack thereof, next season.
That player? Left tackle Cam Robinson, who is entering his fourth season as the team's starting left tackle.
Jacksonville clearly had high hopes for Robinson when it came to the long-term future of their offensive line when they traded up to select Robinson No. 34 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. The team's first pick that year, Leonard Fournette at No. 4, was picked to help the Jaguars find a physical identity. Robinson was picked for much of the same reason, and it is hard to say the fiery and bruising Robinson hasn't at least brought nastiness and attitude to Jacksonville's line.
In three seasons, Robinson has started 32 games at left tackle, including all three postseason games in 2017. Robinson was a 15-game starter as a rookie in 2017 before sustaining a season-ending ACL injury in Week 3 of the 2018 season.
Robinson returned from his injury in Week 3 of 2019 and proceeded to start the next 14 games at left tackle, helping boost Jacksonville's running game once he was back in the lineup.
So, why is Robinson so important in 2020? We examine below:
Why Cam Robinson is important for the Jaguars in 2020
While Robinson has flashed plenty of upside at left tackle, there have been just as many bouts of inconsistency. He entered the league with questions about his pass blocking though it was clear he had all of the traits, such as length, strength and athleticism, to survive on the blindside. Instead, Robinson's biggest hurdle has been an injury in year two that derailed his development.
"If you look at the offensive line, Cam [Robinson] did some good things at left tackle, but he was in and out of the lineup]; he has to get healthy," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said via Jaguars.com shortly after his hiring.
Robinson is largely important for the Jaguars in 2020 due to the sheer importance of the left tackle position in football. While each tackle position is key due to the number of talented pass-rushers in the NFL, left tackle is still the quarterback's blind side. Considering the Jaguars have one of the league's youngest and most inexperienced quarterbacks set to start in 2020 in Gardner Minshew II, surrounding him with consistent blocking will be key as he navigates the duties of leading an offense each week.
This was an area Robinson struggled at in times in 2019. While Minshew was talented at making plays when forced out of the pocket, he also had a number of turnovers inside or just directly outside the pocket as a result of failed blocking in front of him. It is clearly Minshew's fault for fumbling considered he was tied for fourth in the NFL in fumbles with 13, but the lack of consistency in front of him did little to help, and Robinson was a big part of that.
"Left tackle Cam Robinson has never lived up to his perceived upside, ranking below average in every key metric in his two-plus seasons of NFL action. Robinson’s 54.8 overall grade ranked 75th out of 89 offensive tackles last season, and even though he missed two games, he still allowed 45 total pressures — tied for the sixth-most in the league," PFF wrote.
If Minshew is to lead Jacksonville to more wins in 2020, he needs all the help he can possibly get, and a consistent offensive line is maybe the most important piece of that. Robinson has flashed plenty in three years, but it is likely high time for the flashes to turn into some pattern of continuously solid play, especially considering the fact that Jacksonville faces some top pass-rushers in 2020 thanks to games against Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
2020 is all about setting Minshew up for success, and few other players are more important to that cause than Robinson. If there was any year the Jaguars will need him to step his game up and take a major step forward in his development, it is this fall.