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Jacksonville Jaguars on draft “You can never have enough offensive linemen”

Andrew Buller-Russ

At a time when many have come to the conclusion that the Jacksonville Jaguars will focus on defense with their top selection in April’s draft, head coach Doug Pederson hints at a different possibility.

Some think, that because the Jaguars decided to place the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson for the second consecutive season, that the organization could pick a player from the defensive side of the ball, instead of one of the top two offensive tackles available.

This has caused many mock draft projections to pencil Michigan pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson to the Jaguars at No. 1 overall, yet that might not be the case within the front office, who will ultimately make the decision.

Instead, as newly hired coach Pederson suggests, “You can never have enough offensive linemen”. Here are Pederson’s full thoughts on the matter relating to Robinson and their upcoming draft decision-making process.

”To bring great guys back like Cam is to protect your quarterback,” Pederson said. ”We want the offensive line to be solidified. We want guys up there that have been around. Cam is a big part of that, so we’re excited obviously to retain him. Hopefully, we will work out a long-term deal with him, so he’s around more than a year.

”But as it pertains to the draft, that’s kind of its own separate deal right now. I’m sure we’re going to have more depth (offensive tackle) at that position. You can never have enough offensive linemen.”

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson on draft process

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pederson’s latest quotes at least leaves open the idea of taking either Evan Neal, or Ikem Ekwonu with the top overall choice in the 2022 NFL Draft to continue building in the trenches, offensively. Or maybe, since it’s smokescreen season, there’s someone else they have their eye on.

Maybe the Jaguars have become more enamored with Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, who many have projected to go within the top-five picks. Then there’s also Travon Walker who appears to be soaring up draft boards thanks to a strong showing at the Scouting Combine and his Georgia Pro Day. At the combine alone, Walker ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at 6-foot-5, 272 pounds. He also posted a 35-inch vertical, which is outstanding for a man of his size and strength.

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Some draft analysts appear to believe Walker going No. 1 overall is a strong possibility. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler in particular calls Walker to the Jaguars is a “realistic possibility” and he goes on to suggest Walker is one of the best players in this draft class.

It’s safe to say, with 30 days to go until they have to lock in their choice, general manager Trent Baalke and the rest of the front office in Jacksonville have a major, franchise-altering decision on their hands.

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