Tyler Shatley comfortable moving around Jaguars offensive line, preparing for major role this season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Chances are you've probably heard of Branden Albert and Jermey Parnell, veterans with plenty of NFL experience. You are also probably aware of Brandon Linder's massive contract extension and the high draft picks spent on A.J. Cann and Cam Robinson.

Those are five of the six names legitimately competing to form the Jaguars' starting offensive line this season. 

The sixth contestant for a starting spot is little known interior lineman Tyler Shatley.

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The former undrafted free agent out of Clemson was a backup for the team during the previous three seasons. Under new head coach Doug Marrone, who was previously his offensive line coach, Shatley has received every opportunity to crack the starting lineup.

Shatley understands the team has put him in a place to elevate his role.

"I do, and it's just a great opportunity to get out there and practice against the best guys," Shatley said on Saturday. "And I think we have some of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, really. It's great to go out there and practice with them and work on my skills."

Shatley has played with the first team offense since the start of the offseason program in May. He has rotated from center to right guard to left guard. 

He has always been considered a versatile depth lineman, but he has only started four games during his career. In fact, Shatley has only played 361 offensive snaps over the last three seasons.

Shatley started two games at center and two games at left guard last season due to injury. He said he doesn't have a preference with either guard position.

 "Right now, I feel pretty comfortable at both," Shatley said. "Getting these first couple of days [of camp] at left guard, I feel pretty good. I got those [same reps] last year at the end of the season and getting a couple of [organized team activities] at right [guard], I feel comfortable at both. I don't know if I'd pick one over the other. I feel like both of them have my strengths and weaknesses."

While he was mainly at center during the offseason program, Shatley has played left guard during the first three training camp practices. Even though guard seems to be his most likely option when it comes to starting, Shatley has continued to prepare for center snaps.

He has worked on his timing with quarterback Blake Bortles just in case his number is called to man the middle of the offensive line.

"I feel very comfortable with Blake," Shatley said. "We started out OTAs - for the majority of OTAs, really - playing center with him. It's something we still work on every day. I'll go over and snap with him before practice just to keep that fresh. That's kind of what our whole philosophy is right now, everybody interchanging, everybody wants to be able to play every position they can. It makes you more valuable to the team."

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Shatley's versatility is his value. Being able to step in for any of the interior line spots makes him an ideal sixth lineman if the starting battle doesn't work out. The Jaguars could be giving him extra reps now so that he is prepared for a bigger role down the road.

Under Marrone, the offensive line's philosophy has been all about making sure it is ready for anything.

"It just makes these transitions more seamless whenever [injuries] are bound to happen," Shatley said. "You hate to say it because you hope nobody gets hurt, but it's football and that's how it goes. A lot of the times people get hurt, you want those transitions to be as seamless as they can once we actually start playing."

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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