It's Draft Day, folks. And with that, comes my final "predictive" mock draft of the season. Here, I'll predict precisely what the Jaguars will do in the draft over the next three days.
Keep in mind: the Jaguars are still working on a Yannick Ngakoue trade and could have some movement on Leonard Fournette by days end too. All these picks are subject to change, and I'll do my best to update them as needed throughout the day.
Don't forget: this is not how I would run the draft if I were in Dave Caldwell's shoes. This is simply my prediction for what the Jaguars will do. To see how I'd run things, here's my final "what I would do" mock draft.
#9 Overall - Isaiah Simmons, S/LB Clemson
Dave Caldwell is not one to pass on elite talent when it falls into his lap. Simmons is a generational defender that can play free safety, nickel, outside linebacker, and even rush the passer. He's the ultimate chess piece in the modern NFL. He'll be too much for the Jaguars to pass on when he slides to nine. In front of him, I see the Bengals taking Burrow, the Redskins taking Chase Young, the Chargers trading up for Tua, the Giants selecting Jedrick Wills, the Dolphins nabbing Justin Herbert, the Lions adding Jeff Okudah, the Panthers taking Derrick Brown, and finally, the Cardinals rolling with Tristan Wirfs.
#20 Overall - AJ Epenesa, DE Iowa
The Jaguars loved Calais Campbell. Here's his clone. With similar college production, size, and athletic testing, the Jaguars will be getting a long-term replacement for the Mayor of Sacksonville. Epenesa will be a dominant force against the run and possesses a motor that will allow him to contribute as a pass rusher. He won't be an elite rusher off the edge, but he'll be a three-down player that will help the Jaguars' defense for the next decade (if they can sign him to a second contract *rolls eyes*).
#33 Overall (trade up) - Jaylon Johnson, CB Utah
Jaylon Johnson plays a physical brand of football but may lack the athleticism to play in off coverage on a regular basis. Still, he's a dynamo in press-man and should work well in the Jaguars' system, as long as Todd Wash allows him to play to his strengths. His ball skills are excellent, and so are his instincts. He shows flashes of brilliance against the run, but far too often looks uninspired in run support. Johnson projects to start for the Jaguars early on in his first season, if not from day one.
#73 Overall - Cam Akers, RB Florida State
I've written about Akers quite a bit this year. He can do it all. He's got vision, contact balance, explosion through the hole, wiggle, long speed, hands, and experience in pass protection. He's only minor flaw is that he fumbled a total of ten times at FSU. But he saw a lot of usage throughout his career, and his actual fumble rate isn't alarming. The Jaguars get a three-down back that can hit home runs from anywhere on the field and always seems to fall forward. After suffering behind a porous offensive line in college, Cam Akers has his best football in front of him.
#81 Overall (trade up) - Bryan Edwards, WR South Carolina
The Jaguars need a running mate for ascending wide receiver DJ Chark. Bryan Edwards has all the makings of an impact rookie receiver. He's strong, tall, and shows plenty of athleticism and impressive ball skills on tape. He can serve as a versatile offensive weapon, succeeding in a variety of ways. With some polish, Edwards could develop into an above-average number two receiver in the league. Keenan McCardell will be anxious to get to work with this young thoroughbred.
#116 Overall - Anthony Gordon, QB Washington State
Hailing from the same college and offensive system as their current starting QB, Anthony Gordon would be an ideal backup for Gardner Minshew. He has a strong arm and can make plays off-script, two qualities the Jaguars have looked for in recent years. His decision making will need to be reigned in to develop into a quality backup, but the tools are there. He'll compete with Josh Dobbs for the number two spot on the depth chart.
#127 Overall - Hakeem Adeniji, OL Kansa
Adeniji was a four-year starter at Kansas that displayed proper technique with his hands. He'll need to be developed from a footwork standpoint, but could potentially be the Jaguars' swing tackle or a backup guard. The Jaguars need quality depth on their offensive line, and they're hoping Adeniji can provide just that.
#170 Overall - Joe Reed, WR Virginia
The Jaguars will want to capitalize on the supreme depth of this wide receiver class. In doing so, they'll land a kick return superstar and developmental wide receiver prospect. Reed returned five kicks for touchdowns in college and has plenty of promise as a project at receiver. The only Jaguars' receivers under contract past the 2020 season in this scenario are DJ Chark and Bryan Edwards, so having a plan in place at receiver will be crucial.
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