Jags OT Walker Little placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list

The Jag will be without Walker Little for at least a few days as he was placed on their Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they place rookie left tackle Walker Little on their Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday. His addition to the list makes him the lone player on it at the moment, and he’s the first to go on it this regular season.

Little heading to the Reserve/COVID-19 list means he either tested positive for COVID-19 or came in close contact with someone that did. If he’s vaccinated, he could return within a matter of days at the earliest as it takes two negative tests that are 24 hours apart to return. If he’s unvaccinated, he will have to isolate himself for at least 10 days.

Little has yet to make his regular season debut, and the Jags have elected to make him inactive in Weeks 1-2. If Little is unvaccinated, he’d be guaranteed to miss their next game, too, which will be against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Jags selected Little with the 45th pick in the draft this April, and he’s a player they have high hopes for despite him being inactive this regular season. He at least received significant playtime in the preseason where he got multiple starts with Jags left tackle Cam Robinson temporarily out.

Urban Meyer explains Andre Cisco’s lack of snaps, Walker Little’s healthy scratch

Meyer explained the decisions to limit Cisco and scratch Little from the active roster.

While Jacksonville made a number of major upgrades in free agency, it also had 10 picks in the 2021 NFL draft, and those selections were expected to play a major role in helping turn the franchise around this season. But in a 37-21 loss to Houston in Week 1, a couple of the expected playmakers were afterthoughts.

Many expected that third-round pick Andre Cisco would become a starter at safety sooner rather than later. But in a relatively surprising move, Andrew Wingard made the final roster and was given the start in Week 1.

He didn’t play well, and Cisco eventually got some action later in the game. But he only played on 23 snaps, and coach Urban Meyer said that Cisco was limited by a “pitch count” heading into this season.

“Yeah, [Andre] Cisco is really coming on,” he said. “You know, he’s a guy that we were told when we drafted him—we really thought highly of him, we still do—is that he had that ACL, so he’s still—was a little bit on that pitch count during training camp. [Andrew] Wingard was the most consistent throughout, missed a tackle, had a chance to make a couple plays. We’re still, we’re not throwing anybody under the bus yet, but Cisco is a guy that we believe has a great future and he played pretty well when he was in there.”

Given the fact that Cisco is coming off knee surgery just under a calendar year ago, this is an understandable approach. But based on the way Wingard played, the Jags need Cisco on the field playing starting reps as soon as possible.

The approach with second-round offensive tackle Walker Little is a little more concerning. Little struggled during the preseason, and he was a healthy scratch on Sunday. Meyer said that Will Richardson gave the team a better chance as a reserve tackle.

“…well, I think it’s eight linemen,” Meyer said about the approximate number of offensive linemen who should be active. “And we just felt like [Will] Richardson has been more consistent than Walker [Little] right now.”

Both of Jacksonville’s starting tackles were just average on Sunday, with some penalties hindering otherwise solid play. But Little was drafted to eventually succeed Cam Robinson on the left side, and it seems he has a long way to go if that’s going to be the case.

Stock up, stock down following the Jags’ preseason loss to the Saints

The Jags’ second preseason game against the Saints wasn’t pretty at all, but nonetheless we were able to put together a stock report after the 23-21 loss.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have wrapped up stop No. 2 of their preseason tour after sustaining another loss, but this time it was to the New Orleans Saints in the form of a 23-21 final score.

It was a game where the starters on offense and defense didn’t exactly come out how fans wanted, leaving several concerns as the preseason heads into its final week. As always, though, there also were a few good things to take away from the process, too.

Here’s a stock report of both members on the team who are ascending and some who are descending as the Jags have passed the mid-way point of their 2021 preseason:

Jaguars OT position battle is worth watching

After a strong training camp, Walker Little could be pushing for a starting tackle spot.

Heading into the offseason, many expected that one of Jacksonville’s top priorities would be bringing in an offensive tackle, either in free agency or the draft. Left tackle Cam Robinson’s rookie contract had expired, and right tackle Jawaan Taylor has been a bit more of a project player than the team had hoped when it drafted him.

However, such a move never materialized, and Jacksonville instead decided to franchise tag Cam Robinson, making him the team’s biggest cap hit in 2021. It’s hard to put a player being paid nearly $14 million on the bench, but that’s exactly the situation the Jaguars could find themselves in with Robinson.

In the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, Jacksonville took Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little, a player who at one point was considered an elite prospect before missing nearly the entire 2019 season with an injury and opting out in 2020. Little wasn’t expected to be an impact player in Year 1, but after a very impressive training camp, that may be changing.

ESPN’s Mike DiRocco listed the offensive tackle position battle as the most interesting to watch on the team.

Second-round pick Walker Little has been very impressive in camp, so much so that right tackle Jawaan Taylor and left tackle Cam Robinson better be on notice. Coach Urban Meyer said both players needed to be better in 2021 than they were last season (per ESPN Stats & Information, Taylor gave up 18 sacks and Robinson nine). Even though the Jaguars picked up the fifth-year option on Robinson and will pay him $13.75 million in 2021, he’s not a lock to start if Little, who played left tackle at Stanford and has begun cross-training at right tackle this past week, continues to impress.

Little could push for a starting job at either tackle spot, though he has the most familiarity playing on the left side. That would also make more sense, considering Taylor likely projects to be a part of this team’s future longer than Robinson.

But considering the fact that the team is cross-training Little, it seems Meyer and his staff are at least keeping their options open on the right side. If Taylor doesn’t take a major step up in 2021, his job could be on the line, as well.

On Wednesday, Robinson was asked about his relationship with Little. Though he said the two have a solid relationship, it was stated with some clear edge. Perhaps the race for a starting tackle job is even more neck-and-neck than was first thought.

Only time will tell how the battle will shake out, but the preseason should be a good opportunity for Little to demonstrate what he’s shown in practice in a real-game atmosphere. Though it seems unlikely that the team will use a rookie to protect Lawrence’s blindside, it’s clear that the job is far from being won.

Jags rookie OT Walker Little signs rookie contract, Travis Etienne also makes significant official

The Jags wrapped up their rookie signings Tuesday and OT Walker Little was among them.

With rookies reporting for camp Tuesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed their full 2021 draft class by getting second-round picks Tyson Campbell (who we’ve already discussed) and Walker Little under contract. They also made the signing of Travis Etienne official after he had agreed to terms Monday. 

Little, 22, was the Jags’ second Round 2 selection in April’s draft and was the  45th pick of Day 2 of the process. The left tackle attended Stanford from 2017−20 and played in 22 career games. In 2018, he also was able to become a first-team, All-Pac 12 honoree. 

Little will be a key player to watch in camp and the preseason as he’s only played in a game since 2019. The reason for that is because he tore his ACL in 2019 and opted out in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite his lack of time on the field, though, Jags offensive line coach George Warhop praised Little for being prepared in organized team activities and minicamp.

At 6-foot-7, 309 pounds, Little appears to be the Jags’ left tackle of the future. It was speculated the Jags would select an offensive tackle in the draft, though they signed Cam Robinson to a one-year deal through the franchise tag. With the tag being just under $14 million, it appears Robinson will start, which will give Little a year to learn the ropes (unless he changes positions) and fill in if an injury occurs.

Per Over the Cap, the total value on Little’s contract will be around an estimated total of $7,621,716. His signing bonus is estimated to be around the amount of $2,903,064.

As for Etienne, he was taken in the first-round with the No. 25 overall selection out of Clemson. He’ll be joining his former teammate Trevor Lawrence in the process of his rookie campaign and is expected to contribute as a “slash” player according to coach Urban Meyer. The details on his signing can be read here.

George Warhop speaks highly of Walker Little’s preparedness as a rookie

George Warhop liked how ready Walker Little was for OTAs and minicamp, which could carry over into camp and help him eventually start.

Trevor Lawrence was no doubt the most significant addition the Jacksonville Jaguars made in the 2021 NFL Draft, but the addition of Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little could end up being the next most important. With the Jags taking him with the 45th overall pick, chances are they view him as the left tackle of the future and Lawrence’s long-term blindside protector.

However, one of the concerns with Little is that he took a very limited amount of snaps within the past two seasons, suffering an ACL tear in 2019, then opting out in 2020. Despite that, Jags offensive line coach George Warhop said he was impressed by the young tackle’s preparation as he came into organized team activities and minicamp ready to roll.

“I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’ve had multiple tackles drafted in the first or second round and [Walker Little] came in as prepared or more prepared than any of those guys; in terms of movement skills, in terms of intellect, in terms of communication,” Warhop said. “We ask guys to do things differently than they do in college, so there’s a learning curve there. But in terms of how he came in, the fact that he didn’t play for two years, you really couldn’t notice that.”

These comments make things interesting as the Jags head into their break before training camp. The team franchised tagged their starting left tackle of the past four years in Cam Robinson, who they will pay almost $14 million over the course of a year. However, it seems like Little is ready to give him a fight next month, which will give fans a key storyline to watch.

Ultimately, it feels like Robinson should be given the edge as the preseason could prove to be a hurdle for a player who last played in a game in August of 2019. But even if the rookie beat in the preseason, it will be on Robinson to remain healthy through the regular season, as that could give Little the opportunity he needs to claim the job and hang on to it.

New CBS 2022 mock draft has Jags addressing OL in Round 1

Zion Nelson has been a bit inconsistent over his first two seasons at Miami, but the junior seems poised for a breakout year in 2021.

Though many expected the Jacksonville Jaguars to make a splashy addition at offensive tackle this offseason, nothing of the sort ever materialized. Instead, the team franchise tagged Cam Robinson and drafted Walker Little from Stanford in the second round with the 45th pick, a high-risk/reward player who hasn’t played since suffering a season-ending injury in the first week of the season in 2019.

With Robinson not likely to remain on the roster after the 2021 season (barring a huge year), the Jaguars could enter next offseason with tackle at the top of their list of needs regardless of how the season plays out. That would especially be the case of right tackle Jawaan Taylor struggled, too.

That’s why in this CBS Sports 2022 NFL mock draft, the Jags (who are projected to have another disappointing season next year, netting the fifth pick) target an offensive tackle in Miami’s Zion Nelson.

Zion Nelson is already a really good prospect, and I think the sky is the limit for him. His movement skills and physical profile are top of the line.

Nelson is expected to have a big junior year for Miami. A three-star recruit and just the No. 114 offensive tackle in the country coming out of high school in Sumter, South Carolina, Nelson’s only FBS offers before Miami got in the mix were Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Western Kentucky and Appalachian State (where he was originally committed). He came out of nowhere to win the Hurricanes’ starting left tackle job before his true freshman season in 2019.

He started every game for Miami that season, and as a true sophomore in 2020, he appeared in 10 games and started seven (including the final six). At 6-foot-5, 316 pounds, Nelson has fairly ideal size to play the position in the NFL. But he’s had to overcome his share of struggles, as well.

According to Pro Football Focus, Nelson allowed 12 sacks as a true freshman (the most in the country). But over the last six games of the 2020 season — after he had fought to earn his starting job back — he allowed just five pressures and two sacks. His play during that span earned him the 12th-highest pass-blocking grade from PFF among Power Five left tackles.

This mock draft has him as the first offensive lineman off the board, but he’ll need to continue to improve to solidify his case. He has a good number of believers, though, as ESPN’s Todd McShay also projected that Nelson would be the fifth pick in the 2022 draft.

His run-blocking still has a bit of a way to go, but much of that can be attributed to being undersized for a tackle in the past, especially as a freshman. Now up to 316 pounds, he should improve upon his below-average to average run-blocking grades from the last two seasons. If he can, someone will likely pull the trigger on him early in the first round of next year’s draft.

WATCH: Here are some highlights of the Jags’ new OT Walker Little

The Jags want to protect their new franchise QB Trevor Lawrence and drafted Walker Little to help with that in Round 2 of the draft.

When it became clear that the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to be able to acquire Trevor Lawrence, many fans immediately started to hope for more help on the offensive line. They were able to add just that by selecting Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little with the No. 45 overall pick.

While Jags coach Urban Meyer has come out to say he liked the Jags’ starting group of offensive linemen from last season, Walker’s addition certainly does make the unit stronger in terms of depth and it will make camp more interesting. The 6-foot-7, 313 pounder, had first round type potential in 2019 and before, however, he had a season-ending knee injury that caused him to miss the year.

Afterward, in 2020, he opted out, leaving a very limited (but impressive) amount of tape for scouts to evaluate.

Little’s selection didn’t address an immediate need, but the Jags did get a player who excelled in keeping the quarterback upright. Per Pro Football Focus, he only allowed four quarterback hits in 680 snaps. That’s certainly a trend the Jags will hope he continues in the league, but they also have to do their part to develop the former five-star recruit, while he will have to stay healthy on the professional level.

All of that said, here are some highlights of Little when he was with the Cardinals: