Jaguars 90-man roster breakdown: Interior offensive line

Jaguars beat writer Mike Kaye breaks down the interior offensive line entering training camp

As we countdown the days until training camp, First Coast News is taking a look at each position group on the Jaguars' roster. Our positional series continues with a focus on the interior offensive line.

Previous Breakdowns

Quarterback

Running Back

Fullback

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Tackle

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Projected Depth Chart

Brandon Linder

Ht/Wt: 6-6, 315 lbs.

Experience: 4th Season

Career Numbers: 32 games (32 starts)

Acquisition: Selected with a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft

 

A.J. Cann

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 315 lbs.

Experience: 3rd Season

Career Numbers: 30 games (29 starts)

Acquisition: Selected with a third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft

 

Tyler Shatley

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 310 lbs.

Experience: 4th Season

Career Numbers: 30 games (four starts)

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014

 

Patrick Omameh

Ht/Wt: 6-4, 327 lbs.

Experience: 5th Season

Career Numbers: 40 games (32 starts)

Acquisition: Signed as a veteran free agent in 2016

 

Earl Watford

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 300 lbs.

Experience: 5th Season

Career Numbers: 33 games (12 starts)

AcquisitionSigned as a veteran free agent this offseason

 

Luke Bowanko

Ht/Wt: 6-6, 300 lbs.

Experience: 4th Season

Career Numbers: 24 games (14 starts)

Acquisition: Selected with a sixth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft

 

Chris Reed

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 310 lbs.

Experience: 2nd Season

Career Numbers: 10 games (four starts)

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015

 

Demetrius Rhaney

Ht/Wt: 6-2, 301 lbs.

Experience: 4th Season

Career Numbers: 32 games (one start)

Acquisition: Claimed off waivers this offseason

 

Nila Kasitati

Ht/Wt: 6-4, 315 lbs.

Experience: 1st Season

Career Numbers: N/A

Acquisition: Signed to practice squad in 2016

 

Avery Gennesy 

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 318 lbs.

Experience: Rookie

Career Numbers: N/A

Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason

 

 

Storylines for 2017 Training Camp

- Will Shatley finally become a starter?

- Will Linder move back to right guard?

- Is Cann more effective as a left guard?

Competition entering training camp

Who starts and where?

It's a pretty safe bet to assume Linder and Cann will be starters. The pair of former third-round picks still have plenty to build on and Linder appears to be the best player on the offensive line entering training camp.

Linder was used as a center and right guard during the offseason program. He has started - with success - at both positions during his career. He could play either position and is probably the team's best option at both.

Cann has been the starting right guard during the majority of his first two seasons in the league. This offseason, he was shifted to left guard, the position he played exclusively in college. He seems to be ideally fit for that position, as his run blocking was not up-to-par last season. He is a far better pass blocker.

Shatley is the wild card in all of this. He can play all three interior positions, but has very limited starting experience through his first three seasons. He would make sense at center or right guard, essentially filling the void that Linder leaves behind. 

If the Jaguars decide to stick with Linder at center, Shatley will need to outplay Omameh, Bowanko and Watford for the right guard job. All three of those players competing against Shatley have a lot more NFL game experience as starters.

Another potential competitor could be second-round pick and team-appointed tackle Cam Robinson. If the rookie loses the left tackle battle to veteran Branden Albert, the team may feel like putting Robinson at guard would allow them to start their best five linemen.

As of right now, the three interior starters appear to be Cann, Linder and Shatley in multiple combinations. That could change once the Jaguars enter the dog days of training camp.

Positional Overview

The Jaguars have 10 interior offensive linemen on the roster. While that seems like a packed bunch, skill levels seem to be scattered from potential Pro Bowl selection to tweener journeyman to undrafted college tackle converting to guard.

Linder and Cann seem like surefire starters at this point, while the Jaguars staff has done everything it can to get Shatley looks. Omameh started games last season and seems to be the "3b" of the group. He is a veteran who doesn't necessarily need the extra reps, but Shatley has been clearly been "3a" on the depth chart so far this offseason.

Behind those four is a steady group of veteran backups. Bowanko, Watford and Reed all have starting experience and Rhaney has played in the league for three seasons. Those four will likely battle for two spots as interior backups. Omameh or Shatley will likely take up a spot as a backup as well.

Gennessy and Kasitati will look to earn practice squad spots, unless they suddenly emerge during training camp due to injuries.

Coaching Outlook

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone on Linder's best position:

“We are looking at all the players on the offensive line. We have to do a good job. He worked early at center. He got the reps caught up at guard now. He has worked mostly at guard in the past couple of OTAs. We will look at the next four and see where we are and make sure it is all rationed out. It is the same with Earl [Watford]. It is the same with Pat [Omameh]. Moving all those players around. Same thing with us, we are trying to find, like I said with the offensive line, the best five coming in there. The good thing for us with Brandon – when Brandon played guard here he was one of the top guards in the league and when Brandon played center he was one of the top centers in the league. We have flexibility to take a player and not lose anything at each position and see what the other players are doing from a standpoint of mentally being able to handle it and make calls. With center we want to see how fast [Tyler] Shatley can go with the calls. We want to see if [Luke] Bowanko can get in there with the calls. We have Chris Reed working in there. We are trying to find the best five.”

Friday's focus will be on the Jaguars' defensive ends.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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