After becoming the surprise success story of the 2022 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have quickly become one of the top teams in the league and will be entering 2023 with high expectations. As the odds stand now, Jacksonville is a significant favorite to win the division again and has even had national radio pundits predicting they could be the no. 1 seed in the AFC by season’s end.
The excitement building for this Jaguars squad is undeniable, which is exactly why Trent Baalke and company should do anything and everything in their power to ensure the roster is as deep as possible ahead of another potential playoff run. To this point, they have done a nice job of doing just that. The additions of Calvin Ridley and Brandon McManus should pay immediate dividends while the teams’ 2023 draft class provides developmental depth at just about every level.
That’s not to say the roster is perfect. There are still several positions that could use the addition of another veteran presence. Cornerback and edge rusher are the two big ones that come to mind, but the offensive line should be another point of emphasis. When you combine their lack of depth with the durability issues across the entire line, it makes the importance of adding competition to the unit just as big of a priority as we inch closer to the 2023 season.
With that in mind, here are three potential free agents the Jacksonville Jaguars should look to add to their offensive line.
It is not very often that a young, capable offensive lineman is available this late into free agency, but that is the case for former Denver Broncos guard Dalton Risner.
The former second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft has spent the last four seasons as the starting left guard in Denver where he had his ups and downs but is still a viable starter at the position. His lack of finding a new home to this point isn’t because he isn’t talented. Risner was a steady, reliable piece to the Broncos front, and at just 27 years old, he has the potential to get even better under the right circumstance. It simply feels like a classic case of misjudging the market at his position.
If the former Kansas State Wildcat is unable to land a long-term deal elsewhere, the Jaguars could make a big move towards a potential Super Bowl run in 2023 by upgrading that left guard spot with Risner. His experience, toughness, and leadership would go a long way for a young Jaguars offensive front. A one-year “Prove It” deal with a contender could be the next best option for Risner and Jacksonville could provide exactly that.
Along the same vein as Risner, Gabe Jackson is another highly experienced player that the Jacksonville Jaguars should consider bringing in as competition for Bartch at that left guard spot. Although he is in the latter stage of his career, Jackson is still a highly competitive player that would add a welcomed physicality to the interior of that Jacksonville offensive line.
In his nine years in the NFL, Gabe Jackson has started 130 of a possible 145 games in his career, proving to be one of the most reliable and durable players at the guard position across the entire league. With Bartch coming off a knee injury that saw him miss the majority of last season and may cause him to miss the start of training camp, Jackson could be the perfect insurance plan for a team looking to stay whole ahead of a potential run at a Super Bowl.
Even with him being in the final stage of his career, Jackson would be a quality veteran piece to add to the thin depth of the interior of the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line.
This one is a bit of a wild card, as he isn’t nearly as established as the other two players listed, but Dan Skipper is another name I like as a potential depth target for the Jacksonville Jaguars when considering free agent offensive lineman.
A former undrafted free agent out of Arkansas, Skipper has been with the Detroit Lions since 2017 but didn’t see his first start until this past season when he finally got his chance to showcase his game. Filling in due to injuries at both tackle and guard throughout the season, Skipper would perform admirably in what would wind up being five total starts for Detroit.
Who gets @PSchrags' Week 2 Game Ball?— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) September 19, 2022
How about @Lions offensive lineman Dan Skipper?
Six years in the league. On and off practice squads. First career start. Dominant performance. pic.twitter.com/ugB0NOppYo
Albeit a raw player, his rare size makes him an intriguing piece to add to the mix. The team is in need of more depth at the tackle position, especially when considering Cam Robinson’s suspension, so taking a flyer on a guy like Skipper could make a lot of sense as a potential swing option.
All three of these free agent offensive linemen could come in and compete to varying degrees, which is why the Jaguars should seriously consider bringing them in. Who would you like to see in teal in 2023?