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Jaguars rookie Anton Harrison looking the part of right tackle of the future
National Football League

Jaguars rookie Anton Harrison looking the part of right tackle of the future

Published Aug. 15, 2023 4:19 p.m. ET

Anton Harrison seems unbothered by the spotlight of the NFL stage, like he's ready for his moment. 

Asked last week if he's had any welcome-to-the-NFL moments in training camp, the No. 27 overall pick said "not really." He referenced learning the Jaguars' playbook, more complex than the one he had at Oklahoma, as an "easy transition." The league has been pretty much what he expected to this point. 

That comfort showed up in his preseason debut. 

Playing 22 snaps in Jacksonville's 28-23 victory Saturday at Dallas, including 12 as a pass blocker, Harrison gave up no pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. The Cowboys didn't play most of their starters, but the performance was the latest sign that his acclimation as the Jaguars' hopeful right tackle of the future has been smooth. 


"There's a reason we took him in the first round," coach Doug Pederson said in April. "His skill set, how he fits, how he moves. …. His ability to not only pass block, but come off the ball and have that mean streak in him as an offensive lineman in the run game. That's what you see with him."

Harrison has big shoes to fill. He's replacing the starter of the past four seasons, Jawaan Taylor, who signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the Chiefs in free agency. 

Taylor was a big reason why the Jaguars had one of the best pass-protecting offensive lines in the NFL last season, helping Trevor Lawrence in his breakout season. They ranked No. 3 in adjusted sack rate per pass attempt at 4.7%, according to Football Outsiders. Of the offensive tackles who played at least 951 snaps last season, Taylor allowed the second-fewest pressures (16), trailing only Eagles All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, per Pro Football Focus. 

The 21-year-old Harrison, who played primarily left tackle at Oklahoma (23 starts at left tackle, one start at right tackle) has the upside to be a productive NFL starter. Of the Power 5 offensive tackles who played at least 553 snaps, he tied for sixth with just six pressures allowed, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Harrison could also develop into a plus-player in the run game. In the same sample size of Power 5 offensive tackles, he ranked 44th of 115 — inside the top 39% — with a run-blocking grade of 66.7, per PFF. 

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Taylor had a league-worst PFF run-blocking grade of 39.7 among NFL offensive tackles who played more than 950 snaps. Run-blocking was an issue overall for the Jaguars last season. Despite the success in pass protection, they ranked fourth-worst in adjusted line yards, which quantifies offensive-line responsibility on running back carries, according to Football Outsiders. 

Harrison measured 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds at the combine and received a 6.27 prospect grade (out of 8) from Next Gen Stats.

"He's very quick off the snap and smooth adjusting to speed rushers and counters in pass protection," FOX Sports draft analyst Rob Rang said. "And his relatively compact frame and tenacity make him much more forceful in the running game that his undersized frame would suggest. 

"I believe he can be a frontline starter immediately at either tackle or guard spot, making him one of the more versatile and therefore valuable offensive linemen in his class. The fact that he's also among the youngest only raises his value." 

Jacksonville's environment should help Harrison's development. He plays next to veteran right guard Brandon Scherff, a former All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler who Harrison grew up watching in Washington, D.C. Scherff played for the Commanders from 2015 to 2021. 

"I'm always asking questions," Harrison said last week of learning from the veteran offensive linemen. "They've always got an answer for me and they're always open to it. So I'm never going to hold anything back. If I have a question, I'm going to ask it. That's been big and they've been supporting 100 percent."

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Harrison also gets put to the test in practice. 

Outside linebacker Josh Allen ranked fourth in the NFL last season with 64 pressures, according to Next Gen Stats. Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, is expected to make a big jump in Year 2. 

Allen believes Harrison will be a "special player" for the Jaguars. 

"Just from the tape, he kind of stands out," Allen said in June. "Good feet. That's one thing you want to look at in a tackle. … And he's real good with his feet. Once he gets comfortable in the scheme and comfortable working with all four of the other guys up front, I think he's going to be a heckuva player."

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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