The process of adding major additions to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster is pretty much over as free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft have concluded. Along the way, the Jags spent the most money in NFL history to add veteran talent and also use the draft to mostly upgrade their defense from the front of the draft order.
Now, we have several months to monitor how each new addition fits in with the players who were on the team last season, as well as figure out what players will make it onto the final 53-man roster. Early this week, we took an early swing at predicting the roster, but now it’s time to take a deeper dive into the team and guess who the starters could be.
That said, here are our super early predictions of how the offensive lineup could shake out:
Quarterback: Trevor Lawrence
Jan 2, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) checks the video board after his pass is intercepted by the New England Patriots in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
It’s not much to say about this projection. The Jags selected Lawrence last year after he was considered the best quarterback to enter the draft since Andrew Luck, but Year 1 was a rough one for him. With a year under his belt and the upgrades made around him, Lawrence should take a step in the right direction in 2022, though.
Running back: Travis Etienne
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne (1) fakes taking a handoff from Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during first quarter action. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Cleveland Browns for their only home preseason game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday night, August 14, 2021. The Browns led at the half 13 to 0. [Florida Times-Union]
It’s hard to gauge who will start for the Jags at running back between Travis Etienne and James Robinson after both had season-ending injuries last season. Etienne is working his way back from the Lisfranc injury he sustained last preseason and has been seen working out in the Jags’ organized team activity videos.
Robinson, on the other hand, won’t be back until around training camp from the Achilles tear he sustained last December. That will put him behind in terms of reps on the field under Doug Pederson’s new scheme. For that reason, it feels like Etienne has the edge to be the starting running back this year, but that’s not to say Robinson can’t get significant reps, too.
Tight end: Evan Engram
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) walks off the field after the Giants fall to the Washington Football Team, 22-7, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. [The Record]
While he’s playing on a one-year prove-it deal, Evan Engram is one of the investments the Jags spent a decent amount of money towards and it’s hard to imagine him not starting. He fits the profile of some of the athletic tight ends that Pederson has had in his offenses of the past, and his skill set gives him a good chance to be a star for the Jags.
Offensive tackle: Cam Robinson (left), Walker Little (right)
Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson (74) against the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Jags gave Cam Robinson a three-year deal this offseason after initially franchise-tagging him, so it’s clear they feel he’s a long-term solution for them on the blindside. According to Pro Football Focus, he tallied a 76.6 grade as a pass blocker, so that’s a positive about his return.
Then on the right side, there could be a competition between Jawaan Taylor and Walker Little. Taylor has been the starter at right tackle the past two seasons, but he struggled with penalties (13) last season, while Little fared well in the three games he started for Robinson. For that reason, and the fact that the Jags recently spent a Round 2 pick on Little last season, he seems set to take over on the right side.
Guard: Tyler Shatley (left), Brandon Scherff (right)
Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars center Tyler Shatley (69) directs the line against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
The left guard spot is a question mark for the Jags, but I went with Tyler Shatley, who could end up starting at center, too. The Jags signed him to a two-year deal this offseason, which could be an indicator that they see him being more than a backup. However, he will have to battle third-year player Ben Bartch for the spot, who started 11 games last season and was able to garner a lot of experience.
Brandon Scherff, who is a former Pro Bowler and All-Pro was penciled in as the starter since free agency after he signed a massive contract with the team. While his health is a concern, he’s a massive upgrade over former right guard A.J. Cann.
Center: Luke Fortner
Luke Fortner is one of many early-round selections the Jags added last week. With a Day 2 pick going towards him, it feels like he’s set for a significant role, and the best role for him is to succeed Brandon Linder as the team’s starting center, though he can play guard, too.
Fortner is a player with a high football IQ and he’s coming from a Kentucky team that hasn’t had trouble sending good running backs into the league. A key reason why those running backs have been able to impress is because of Fortner and the offensive line, who had no issues rolling their sleeves up and doing the dirty work.
Wide receivers: Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Marvin Jones Jr.
Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports
The Jags spent a lot of money this offseason at the receiver position. That included the signings of Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. At the moment it’s not completely clear who will play what role among the two, but it’s been made clear that Kirk will do a little of everything for the team.
Marvin Jones Jr. is the most experienced member of the receivers group, so fans should expect him to see a significant role on the field. That should especially be the case when considering the connection that he and Lawrence had last season.