Thursday, June 01, 2023

How Jaguars’ 1st Rounder Anton Harrison Is Transitioning to Right Tackle


The 21-year-old is impressing coaches and teammates early on in his transition to the right side.


14 HOURS AGO (May 31, 2023)


When Anton Harrison took his first collegiate start at right tackle, he did it with zero practice reps at the spot. 

His first NFL start on the right side will be a complete 180, with the Jaguars preparing Harrison months in advance for his switch to the right side. 

"It's going good, just taking it day by day, like you said, just being in one spot. So I'm at right tackle every day just getting better at it, perfecting my craft. Just taking it day by day," Harrison told Jaguar Report after practice on Tuesday. "It is going good."

Harrison started 23 games at left tackle for Oklahoma over the last two seasons, standing out as one of the nation's top pass protectors at an early age. His first reps with the Jaguars will be at a position he has just one start under his belt, starting at right tackle opposite of veteran left tackles Walker Little and Cam Robinson.

But it is a transition Harrison and the Jaguars have been confident about from Day One. Harrison is a player the Jaguars fell in love with during the draft process thanks to his athleticism, makeup, and long-term potential as a versatile and efficient pass-blocker. 

And through Harrison's first month as a full-time right tackle, he hasn't disappointed. 

"Anton's a smart guy. He's really, I listened to Coach Rausher in his meetings and he'll call on Anton, he's got the answers, he spits it out and now it's just a matter of just speeding it up on the field," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday. It's the NFL and things happen a little bit faster. So he's done a nice job."

"It is big I say just to be able to come on here and play ball. Having the mental part and playbook part down just staying my books, staying ready when my number's called, being out there and be able to perform," Harrison said. 

"So that's big for me to keep doing that so I'm just gonna play ball and do what I do."

The youngest member of the Jaguars' starting offensive line, Harrison has no shortage of valuable resources inside the offensive line room. And so far, the No. 27 overall pick has been the kind of willing learner the Jaguars need him to be if he is to be a rookie starter in Week 1.

"Coach is always saying ask anything. No question is a bad question. So just always going to them if any questions I have just trying to get everything down," Harrison said. 

Among the veterans Harrison will be able to pick up tools of the trade from are Robinson, Little, and Josh Wells. Among them, the three have started 111 games at offensive tackle. Those are years of experience Harrison can draw from throughout the offseason, something the rookie seems more than willing to do.

"They have been great. They are always just harping on me, teaching me things, helping me like get the playbook down really," Harrison said. 

"Just teaching me the little things to help me be my best on the field. So those guys I lean on, try to get everything from them, because I see them on Sundays and doing what they do. So I'm just trying to get where they are."

Then there is the Brandon Scherff factor. Scherff was one of the most important pieces to Luke Fortner's success as a rookie, offering a reliable and steady presence on and off the field at right guard.

A year later, the Jaguars hope Scherff's presence will do the same for Harrison and his switch to right tackle.

"It's huge. I mean it's huge. It's critical. It's a lot of communication that goes on up front as you know. And Brandon really kind of can help calm him down just a little bit and kind of point him in the right direction," Pederson said.

"Brandon's done a nice job working next to him and that'll be a really good combination to continue to work.”

"It has been big. Growing up watching him, an All-Pro. Great person off the field, on the field, a great person to lean on and learn from. Always talking, always getting knowledge for you," Harrison said. "So that is big for me, just coming in playing next to a guy like that is definitely just a huge bonus."

When Week 1 comes around, the Jaguars will need Harrison to be ready to start at right tackle. And if his preparation in May and the veteran presence around him mean anything, then their rookie tackle is in good hands. 

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