Jaguars to Increase Depth at Tackle?

If the Jaguars do indeed follow new general manager Gene Smith's best available player philosophy, the best available player at pick #8 may not be a left tackle. Find out what other option the team may choose to exercise.

With the Jaguars saying Aloha to starting left tackle Khalif Barnes as he left for free agency, they will have a pretty big hole to plug at the position that protects quarterback David Garrard's blind side. Although the team signed former Philadelphia Eagle Tra Thomas to be a stop-gap, he is certainly not the long-term solution.

There has been great and accurate speculation about the Jaguars being hell-bent on taking a left tackle with their first-round pick, and this is a great draft to do so, as top tackles Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher, and Jason Smith may all go in the top half of round one. Still, if the Jaguars decide to select a different position, there is a fine tackle that should be available when it's their turn to pick again at #39.

Oklahoma left tackle Phil Loadholt looks physically imposing with his 6'8", 343 lb. frame that helped him earn first team All-Big 12 honors as a senior. The scouting report on Loadholt says that he is a very dominant drive blocker, who is intimidating and plays with a mean streak. The former two-time Big 12 champion is also said to play with great leverage and possesses good lateral quickness.

We had a chance to catch up with Loadholt at Senior Bowl practice and we talked with him about the competition.

"It's a good level of competition out here, some of the best players in the country," Loadholt admitted. "It feels like an Oklahoma practice to me, because we've got some good players as well."

Loadholt walked the tight rope of confidence and cockiness, as he should as he earned third team All-America honors as a senior. Still, "Big Phil" seemed to be genuinely enjoying his time in Mobile.

"It's great to work with some of those guys, be out here with them, share this opportunity with them. It's a good feeling," Loadholt said when he was asked about his experience.

Many draft experts say that the only thing that separates Loadholt from some of the top tackles in the draft is his ability to get beat by speed rushers, as he sometimes relies on his massive size too much. Still, Loadholt is expected to be a late first-day selection.

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