The most surprising pick of the NFL Draft so far by the Jacksonville Jaguars came in the third round with the selection of South Carolina offensive lineman A.J. Cann. Cann, who was an excellent value pick that many expected to go at the top of the second round, will be thrust into the competition at the guard position.
"Probably left guard or right guard. In time, he could be a center," Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell told reporters when asked about where Cann would be playing for the Jaguars. "I know he hasn’t done that, I know he’s practiced at it. Other than that, he hasn’t had any game time at it."
One would think that the right guard position is set with Brandon Linder, which means it's likely Cann will be competing with Zane Beadles at left guard. Beadles, who the Jaguars signed last offseason to a 5-year, $30 million deal. The season started rough for Beadles, but he became more steady as the season went on. Many, including myself, thought he'd at least be adequate for another year, but it's clear that the Jaguars weren't happy with his play.
"It’s a sign that we need to always keep in mind that we have to protect the quarterback and run the ball. This game is won in the trenches, offensively and defensively," Caldwell told reporters when asked if the pick was a sign they were not happy with Beadles. "If there’s a player of value there, we’re always going to make it a priority of building this offensive line. We have a first-round pick in Luke Joeckel, a third-round pick in Brandon Linder and a third-round pick in A.J. You can never have enough offensive linemen."
The Jaguars took a risk giving Beadles such a big deal in free agency, but it was setup in a way they can get out of it with minimal dead cap money. If Beadles loses his starting position this season to Cann, he'd be an expensive backup to the tune of $5 million. The team can cut Beadles however, for a $3 million cap savings in 2015 with just $2 million in dead money.
I'm hesitant to call Beadles getting cut this early, but it will be a battle to watch in training camp and the preseason. I think it's safe to say Beadles roster spot is tenuous at best.