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Jaguars' 2011 Rookie Prognostications: G Will Rackley

With an end to the lockout seemingly just around the bend, the time has come to take a look at this years draft picks. The Jaguars had five picks in the 2011 draft, each of whom I will discuss in this series. Rookie prognostications will include a look at the position(s) the player plays, his skill set, and his competition for playing time. I'll predict several key statistics and include a primary position as well. Any sort of prognostication is only one person's best guess and cannot factor in injuries and free agents who have not been signed yet.

Today we'll be taking a break from easily "stat-able" little guys and looking at Jaguars third round pick, Will Rackley, a guard from Lehigh University.

The Jaguars traded up in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft to draft Will Rackley as an offensive guard. Most people had no idea who Rackley was or why he was worth trading up for, myself included. After a little research, Rackley turned out to be a guy who was considered a solid riser leading up to the draft. Even though he played on a college team that could have lost to my high school team on a bad day (I went to Bolles), Rackley stood out as a legitimate pro prospect. He played left tackle at Lehigh and didn't allow a single sack in four years. He consistently manhandled anyone lined up across from him. There were concerns about his ability to adapt to the pro game, but his great performance in live action during the East West Shrine game cemented his value as a 3rd rounder at the guard.

Rackley has the size (6'3" 310 lbs.) and strength (29 reps on 225 lbs.) to push people around in the running game. He played well enough at tackle to thrive down on the college level, however his pass blocking will probably not translate to the NFL. The Jaguars have said they are going to play Rackley at guard. The thing is, the team has plenty of players at guard already. Vince Manuwai and Uche Nwaneri started at the left and right guard spots respectively last year. The Jaguars also traded a 7th round pick to Miami for guard Justin Smiley. That doesn't even take into account the Jaguars' tendency to cross-train linemen at guard and center. What this means is that Rackley will probably make Smiley expendable.

The bigger question is: will Rackley be able to oust Manuwai and grab himself a starting spot? Part of me hopes he will, but I don't know that I see it happening in the preaseason. Meester and Manuwai have been doing an exemplary job of holding the young'ns off, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did so again. Still, the Jaguars know that Rackley will be the guy longterm.

I see Rackley getting every chance in the preseason to earn his spot on the field and showing enough to get into games at around the midway point of the season. This, like the Gabbert situation I'll be talking about tomorrow, is a situation where it would be nice to have the rookie play, but not necessary. Rackley will see the field for an extended period of time next year.