Ben Bartch proving he could be Jags’ future at RG

The Jaguars may have found their answer at right guard in Bartch

Offensive injuries have certainly proven to be a challenge for this year’s Jaguars team. It’s currently down arguably its best receiver in D.J. Chark Jr., as well as two starters on the offensive line in A.J. Cann and Brandon Linder.

However, Cann was struggling significantly and was one of the worst graded offensive linemen in the league through the first few weeks, according to Pro Football Focus. Since his injury, Ben Bartch has stepped up to fill the right guard spot, and his play has been one of the team’s biggest bright spots.

Bartch, a second-year player out of Division III Saint John’s, was Jacksonville’s fourth-round pick in 2020. He appeared in 13 games as a rookie, starting one of them and totaling 220 offensive snaps.

However, with Cann’s injury this year, he has seen his role increase tremendously. He has started the last five games, and over the last three weeks, he hasn’t had lower than a 77.7 grade from PFF. His best performance came against Buffalo last week when he registered a 78.9 grade, and he followed that up with a 78.6 grade in the loss to Indianapolis on Sunday.

While his pass blocking has been solid, grading in the low 70s the last three weeks, his real strength has been run blocking. He graded at 78.0 in that regard in the Week 8 loss to Seattle and registered 76.0 run-blocking grades in each of the last two games.

After a slow start to the season, running back James Robinson is now on track for an even better season than he had as a rookie when he totaled 1,070 yards. He currently has 539 rushing yards, and he’s one touchdown shy of tying his mark of seven from last season. His average is also up to 5.4 yards per attempt from 4.5 in 2020.

A lot of that success can be attributed to the play of the offensive line and specifically Bartch’s play creating holes in the interior.

Considering Cann is in a contract year and hasn’t played very well when on the field, the Jaguars are likely to let him walk in free agency after the season. If Bartch is capable of being a long-term answer at guard, that’s one less problem this team has to solve in the coming offseason.

Bartch has a great opportunity to take this job permanently, and closing out the season on a strong note would go a long way toward making his case.

Jags place rookie OG Ben Bartch on Reserve/ COVID-19 list

The Jags are placing one of their more notable rookie contributors on Reserve/COVID-19 as they prepare for the Ravens.

Jacksonville Jaguars guard Ben Bartch will miss some time away from the team this week as the team announced that he was placed on their Reserve/ COVID-19 list Tuesday. This comes after the fourth-round rookie started in the Jags’ last game against the Tennessee Titans.

The Reserve/ COVID-19 list was made this season for players who either contracted COVID-19 or were around a person or people with it. Either category requires a period to quarantine until cleared and the list was one of many elements that’s part of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol for 2020.

Bartch’s absence will leave the Jags without one of their best pass protectors this week. Per Pro Football Focus, he especially flashed Week 14, allowing just one pressure in 57 pass block reps. As a result, he ended up winning their  “Secret Superstar of the Week” Award in PFF’s Week 14 review.

Luckily for the Jags, veteran guard Andrew Norwell appears to be on his way back from injured reserve. He was placed on IR last month with a forearm injury but the Jags designated him to return Wednesday, which means he has a chance to play Week 15 against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Jags also announced the return of offensive lineman Evan Boehm to their practice squad. He’ll rejoin the Jags with 21 starts to his name after spending time with the Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

Jags OL coach George Warhop discusses Ben Bartch’s transition into NFL so far

One of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ more interesting picks of the 2020 NFL Draft was offensive lineman Ben Bartch, who was selected in the fourth-round. With many fans believing the team needed help on the offensive line, it didn’t take long for many …

One of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ more interesting picks of the 2020 NFL Draft was offensive lineman Ben Bartch, who was selected in the fourth-round. With many fans believing the team needed help on the offensive line, it didn’t take long for many to demand him as a replacement for starting guard A.J. Cann.

However, in the early stages of camp, it appears offensive line coach George Warhop believes Bartch needs some more time to get acclimated, though he likes his potential and upside.

“I like Ben, I like him. His college tape was good, but level of play didn’t give you a great indicator of what he possibly could be. I thought when he was at the senior bowl before he got hurt, I thought he competed extremely well there,” Warhop said.

“[He] showed some things that we like in our guys, some strength. He has some tenacity. He’s a bright kid. I think it’s really just him getting comfortable. He hasn’t shied away from the competition, just technically getting used to how we want to play, making the transition from tackle to guard.”

As pointed out by Warhop, Bartch’s name began to garner some attention at the Senior Bowl as he was on an all-star roster practicing against notables like Javon Kinlaw, Jabari Zuniga, and Jonathan Greenard to name a few. He held his own in the process and it Cleary was a key in the Jags drafting him No. 116th overall.

As for the strength and tenacity Warhop spoke on, that was on display this week for Bartch as the pads went on. There were times where the media was able to catch him on video holding his own against some of the Jags potential starters like Taven Bryan and Timmy Jernigan.

While it’s unclear if Bartch could overtake Cann as a starter, there is time for Bartch to make progress as the regular season is three weeks away. With no preseason games, it might be an uphill battle if he has a chance to start but clearly the talent is there for him to develop.

Jaguars draft class ranked sixth in NFL, third in AFC

Once again, the Jags have earned high marks on their draft class of 2020 headlined by SEC standouts C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to need significant contributions from their 2020 NFL Draft class if they are to improve their record. After utilizing all 12 of their draft picks, they certainly got the heavy-hitters to get it done.

Many gave the Jags good grades for their class back in April and fans now can add Rotoworld to the list. In a recent look at each team’s 2020 hauls, analyst Thor Nystrom slotted them with the sixth-best class in the league and the third-best in the AFC.

Just a well-rounded process for the Jaguars overall. Jacksonville finished No. 6 in both Draft Score and in the UDFA class rankings and naturally checked in No. 6 in the NFL (and No. 3 in the AFC) in the overall Draft Haul rankings. I was higher on Jacksonville’s draft than the media at large, which ranked the Jags No. 11 in GPA. CB C.J. Henderson and EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson were no-doubt picks at positions of need. WR Laviska Shenault was grand theft in the second-round, while OT Ben Bartch and CB Josiah Scott were both big-time fourth-round values.

The Jags have already come out to say they expect both C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson to make an immediate impact Week 1.

Henderson will undoubtedly start after the Jags lost Jalen Ramsey in the 2019 season and A.J. Bouye this March. Chaisson, on the other hand, should see significant snaps, too, though Yannick Ngakoue’s status could impact his play-time.

Nystrom calling Laviska Shenault Jr. a steal isn’t shocking either. The Jags somewhat referred to him in the same light, stating that he basically would’ve gone much higher in 2019’s draft. He unfortunately had some injuries that hindered his 2020 stock, but the front office was still happy to land him nonetheless.

As for Ben Bartch and Josiah Scott, both could end up being the Jags’ starting right guard and nickelback in 2021 with A.J. Cann not meeting expectations and D.J. Hayden on the last year of his contract. Another player who was drafted in the fourth round that Nystrom didn’t mention was linebacker Shaq Quarterman, who has great developmental tools, too.

When looking at the contributions the Jags got from their 2019 class between Gardner Minshew, Josh Allen, and Jawaan Taylor, Nystrom isn’t wrong to be high on their newest class. Ultimately, if 2020’s class can live up to the high praise they’ve received, Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone should be able to keep their jobs heading into next year.

Jags depth chart prediction: Offensive line

Jags fans entered 2020 with a lot of concerns about the OL and with the team only drafting one player on the unit, it may not change.

We started our depth chart predictions around this time last week and have previewed the quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, and receivers so far. That leaves just one unit on the offensive side: the offensive line. Here are our predictions for how the unit could turn out in the trenches:

Left tackle Left guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
No. 1 Cam Robinson Andrew Norwell Brandon Linder A.J. Cann Jawaan Taylor
No. 2 Will Richardson KC McDermott Tyler Shatley Ben Bartch* Ryan Pope
No. 3 Blake Hance Tyler Gauthier Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms* Steven Nielsen*

Left tackle

Cam Robinson will enter 2020 as the starter and will be on a contract year. It appears he might also have some competition to remain a starter as the Jags will be letting Will Richardson settle in at left tackle, too. Right now, I’d say the edge goes to Robinson, but it’s probably not a certainty as he’s been up and down on the blindside.

Behind them could be Blake Hance, who will be entering his second season but has no starts to his name. When looking at his background, however, he was a starter for multiple years at left tackle in college at Northwestern University.

Left guard

Andrew Norwell has been underwhelming since joining the Jags in 2018 via free agency. The team renegotiated his deal this offseason but he still will come with a $9 million (all guaranteed) price tag, so he’ll be starting.

It’s unknown who will be a reserve behind Norwell at left guard, so I slotted KC McDermott there for the time being. He’s been developing on the team’s practice squad for two seasons and it’s about time he enters the season on the final roster as he played at a variety of offensive line spots in college at Miami.

Center

There aren’t many who would disagree that Brandon Linder is the best offensive lineman on the team. As one of the team’s generals, he’ll enter 2020 with another solid season behind him as he registered a 75.3 Pro Football Focus grade, good for the best on the offensive line.

Behind him will be the Jags’ most experienced reserve offensive lineman in Tyler Shatley. He’ll enter 2020 with 16 starts, and like Linder, he possesses the ability to play both guard and center if the team has to do some shuffling.

Tyler Gauthier joined the team in early December of last year as a reserve. He previously played guard and center during the preseason process with the New England Patriots but was designated to their practice squad in the regular season. With a solid preseason, he has a small shot to make the roster on the back end, but if not, he’s a perfect candidate for practice squad.

Right guard

While it hasn’t always been pretty, A.J. Cann will come into the 2020 season as one of the team’s most experienced players, with 75 career starts to his name. He’ll have some competition from fourth-round rookie selection, Ben Bartch, who the team believes is a developmental project for now.

Behind those two could be the massive Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms (6-foot-5, 330-pounds), who went undrafted in April’s draft. He could be a sleeper to make the team after being a starter for Missouri since 2017 and earning all-conference honors in 2018.

Right tackle

Rookie Jawaan Taylor started in every game for the Jags a right tackle and finished strong after struggling mightily with penalties earlier in the season. He’ should only get better with more experience and fans should be encouraged about his future.

Behind him on the depth chart could be Ryan Pope, who joined the Jags’ practice squad last year as an undrafted free agent. Before that, he spent time on the Detroit Lions’ and San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad so he’s unproven on the NFL level. He’ll get an opportunity to prove himself as a practice squad candidate in the preseason and it will likely come at the right or left tackle positions when considering his background at San Diego State.

As for undrafted free agent Steven Nielsen, a majority of his collegiate starts at Eastern Michigan came at right guard, which makes him a candidate to battle Pope for a practice squad spot this offseason.

What the nation’s top analysts said about the 2020 Jaguars’ draft class

For the most part it looks like the nation’s journalists like what the Jags did in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 2020 NFL Draft is in the books and it certainly has been one for the ages.

This year provided an interesting spin on the draft. Due to the social distancing guidelines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the draft was done virtually with the coaches and player personnel of all 32 teams making their selections from their respective homes. Once the picks were in NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell would then read them off from his home and the rest is history.

The new format didn’t deter viewers as the 2020 NFL Draft would go on to be the highest watched in history as Day 1 and Day 2 would go on to average 11.6 million views, according to Grant Gordon of NFL.com.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were a part of this historic affair as they put together a solid draft that could see them build very well towards the future. While some teams missed the mark with their selections, here is how the nation’s best draft analysts viewed the Jags draft.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com

Overall grade: A

“Jacksonville picked up two star SEC defenders (Henderson and Chaisson) to meet critical needs in the first round, then selected worthwhile prospects in the second (Shenault) and third rounds (Hamilton) to sew up a nice first two days of the draft. They started Day 3 with Bartch, who I thought was worthy of a top-75 selection. He plays with a nasty demeanor, and should be able to line up at tackle or, eventually, slide inside if needed. Scott provides more depth in the secondary. Quarterman’s just a great football player who will start in the middle at some point in his pro career (with the Jags or someone else). Thomas is a better athlete than football player at this point, and is likely a special teamer. Johnson is a nice outside complement to Shenault. Luton will compete for playing time if Gardner Minshew falters in 2020 and should at least be a solid backup in the league for a few years.”

Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post

Grade: A-

“Tear-down-and-rebuild of an elite defense starts with the two first-rounders. Shenault is a creative play-caller’s dream and Bartch is a high-ceiling developmental project.”

Mark Maske,  Washington Post

Grade: B+

“The Jaguars seem firmly in rebuilding mode, and they pushed that process along. They landed the draft’s second-best CB, CJ Henderson, and its second-best pass rusher, K’Lavon Chaisson, in the first round. They participated in the run on WRs with the second-round choice of Laviska Shenault Jr. About all that went wrong is that the Jaguars did not find a team willing to trade for RB Leonard Fournette or pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.

Justin Leger of Yahoo Sports writes


Grade: B

 “Henderson is a perfect pick for Jacksonville after parting ways with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Combine that with Chaisson at No. 20, and those are two huge additions to the Jags defense. Taking Shenault on Day 2 filled another need at wide receiver, and Hamilton bolsters their run defense. One of the better picks for Jacksonville on Day 3 was Scott, another nice addition to the secondary. Overall, a busy and effective draft for a rebuilding Jaguars squad.”

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com (grade on Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson)

Jacksonville Jaguars: B+

“I love him because he can cover. There are so many guys in the NFL that I talked to leading up to the draft that thought he was better than Okudah.”

Nate Davis, USA TODAY

Grade: C+

“Seems they’re building toward 2021 – Trevor Lawrence? – but nevertheless picked reputable players, including first-round CB C.J. Henderson, who should address a glaring need following Ramsey’s departure. Pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson (Round 1) – taken with a pick obtained for Ramsey – and WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (Round 2) could need a transition year, which isn’t a knock but adds to the feel that this club is in a weird limbo. Speaking of which, disgruntled DE Yannick Ngakoue remains.”

Overall, the media received the Jaguars selections very well which could be an encouraging sign for things to come. It has been a tumultuous few weeks in Jacksonville with disgruntled defensive end Yannick Ngakoue battling with management and numerous accusations of the organization tanking for current Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

However, the Jaguars can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they did a solid job putting together a good, young team that could potentially compete sooner than people may think.

Highlights of every Jaguars selection in 2020 NFL draft

With the 2020 NFL Draft wrapped up, here are highlights of each selection.

Seven draftees on defense and five on offense. That’s the ratio the Jacksonville Jaguars finished with when all of their 2020 NFL Draft selections were made.

To open the draft on Day 1, the Jags selected two Southeastern Conference defenders in C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson. On Day 2 they finally went offense by taking receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. but ended the day by going back to the defensive side with defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton.

In round four the acquired some help on the offensive line by selecting Ben Bartch, then closed the round with two more defensive selections in linebacker Shaq Quarterman and cornerback Josiah Scott. In round five they added a player on each side of the ball by taking safety Daniel Thomas, then receiver Collin Johnson.

In the sixth round, they finally went all offense by snagging quarterback Jake Luton and tight end Tyler Davis and their last selection, taking in round seven, was another defensive back in Chris Claybrooks.

Here’s a set of highlights for all 12 picks made by general manager Dave Caldwell on Thursday and the weekend:

1.9: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida


1.20: EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, Louisiana State


2.42: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado


3.72: DT DaVon Hamilton, Ohio State


4.116: OL Ben Bartch, St. John


WATCH: Here’s Ben Bartch’s strange smoothie recipe he concocted to add weight

Senior Bowl standout Ben Bartch of Saint John’s University is known for a bizarre smoothie recipe that he used to gain weight.

With the first of the Jaguars three fourth-round selections, the team selected offensive tackle Ben Bartch out of Saint John’s University in Minnesota. Bartch was a Senior Bowl winner in January, proving he could keep up with the big boys at the annual All-Star game as a Division 3 product.

At 6-foot-6, 309 pounds, Bartch brings nice size and athleticism to the position. If he has a good showing in the offseason, some even feel he may can compete for a starting job, but ultimately we’ll have to see how he transitions from the collegiate level.

Bartch didn’t only game popularity by his performance at the Senior Bowl but he also became a popular figure on the web for a strange routine he used to add weight to play on the blindside. That routine was concocting a smoothie recipe that would help him pack on 60 pounds in just a few months.

During the NFL scouting combine, he shared the recipe with NFL Network, which includes a mixture of seven scrambled eggs, a tub of cottage cheese, peanut butter, a banana, a cup of grits, and some good old thirst quenching Gatorade.

Yeah, I know, it’s a disgusting concoction but at the same time it shows Bartch’s commitment to success. Bartch claimed that on many occasions his breakfast smoothie would cause him to gag, but he just plugged his nose and downed the beverage anyway.

Evidently, the nastiness of Bartch’s concoction also translated to the field as he had his way with defenders while at Saint John’s. Simply put, his selection is one Jags fans could really end up liking down the road because he has great potential.