Movement is not an uncommon enemy for Jaguars offensive lineman Will Richardson.
He has played every position besides center along the Jaguars’ offensive line since being drafted as a right tackle in 2018, and 2020 will be no different as the team and head coach Doug Marrone is set to move Richardson to left tackle next season.
Last year, Richardson played both left tackle and right guard for the Jaguars, starting two games at tackle in place of a recovering Cam Robinson, before shifting into split-duty at right guard with incumbent right guard A.J. Cann, something Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone says he is still not opposed to doing in 2020 from a philosophical standpoint.
With the Jaguars selecting offensive lineman Ben Bartch in the fourth round of this year’s draft, it created some flexibility for the Jaguars to use Richardson at another position, slotting Bartch in at right guard. Although Bartch did not play guard in college, his arm-length is the likely determining factor for his transition to the position. Considering his ability to adapt to a new position quickly, this shouldn’t be a problem moving forward.
For Richardson, a transition from one side of the offensive line to the other is not an easy task. Having to completely change his techniques and footwork to suit the other side, it’s almost like writing with your left hand as a right-handed person or vice versa. Marrone feels Richardson moving to one position is a good thing, however.
“The one thing about Will is he’s shown progress and shown the ability to play and shown consistency when we kept him in one position,” Marrone said on Friday, “so I want to be real cognizant of, of what we do with him because I think if we stick in one position, he has the ability to grow and get better.”
This move is important for a couple of reasons. Earlier this offseason, the Jaguars opted not to retain swing-tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, ultimately allowing him to sign a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks, forcing the team to be without a swing tackle. Now, Richardson can assume those duties as he has worked at both positions in the past.
Due to the uncertainty regarding the health of starting left tackle Cam Robinson moving forward, the Jaguars needed to find a player who could assume those duties if need be. Regardless, with Robinson entering the final year of his contract, getting a good look at Richardson at left tackle will not only help the player, but the team as well.
“He has the traits to be a starter, you know, somewhere on that line, but we’ve got to put him in a spot and we put him at left tackle right now.”