The Jaguars and the rest of the NFL are just days away from the start of free agency. With a ton of uncertainty about the direction of the roster and plenty of needs to be filled, the Jaguars' GM, Dave Caldwell, will be a very busy man in the coming weeks. Free agency will likely inform a lot of what the Jaguars do in the draft, so doing a pre-free-agency mock draft is a bit of folly.
BUT I'M HERE FOR IT AND SO ARE YOU!
Let's get it rolling. I used TheDraftNetwork.com's mock draft machine to run this mock draft. I highly recommend trying it out if you have yet to do so.
Let's get it!
#7 Overall, Jeff Okudah, CB Ohio State
Okudah slipped past the Lions, Giants, and the rest of the teams in the top six, thanks in large part to three QBs going off the board early. Okudah fell to seven here, and the Jaguars pounced, offering the ninth overall pick and the 73rd overall pick to the Panthers. Carolina accepted, allowing the Jaguars to select the heir apparent to Jalen Ramsey. Okudah is a DAWG on the field and has ridiculous footwork. He's excellent at the catch point and extremely sticky. He should excel as a press-man corner for the Jaguars. This is a perfect example of filling a need with the best player available.
#20 Overall, Patrick Queen, LB LSU
The Jaguars desperately need a true middle linebacker. Queen isn't the biggest MIKE linebacker, but his instincts and ability to sift through the trash to find the ball carrier is unparalleled in this draft class. He's extremely athletic. Pairing Queen with Myles Jack is a home run.
#42 Overall, Tee Higgins, WR Clemson
Higgins was initially believed to be a first-round pick, and he still could be, but with an incomplete grade due to a lack of athletic testing, teams may shy away from Higgins early on. Higgins is a more nuanced route runner than many give him credit for. His ridiculously long frame and leaping ability gives him a massive catch radius. Pairing him with DJ Chark would give the Jaguars two of the best contested-catch receivers in football.
#106 Overall, Antonio Gibson, RB/WR Memphis
Getting Gardner Minshew as many toys as possible this offseason should be a top priority. Gibson could serve in the Chris Thompson role in Jay Gruden's offense. He's a big back (228-pounds), but is elusive and has jets, as evidenced by his 4.39 40-yard dash. At Memphis, he lined up all over the field and should be able to serve in the same role at the next level.
#127 Overall, Leki Fotu, DT Utah
Fotu projects to be an early contributor against the run. He plays a bit upright but has exceptional size and strength to lean on. He should help fortify the Jaguars' interior and help them slow down opposing rushing attacks.
#147 Overall, Michael Onwenwu, OG Michigan
Onwenwu locked down the right guard spot at Michigan in college projects well to a west-coast offense. He's strong in the run game and should be able to hold up long enough in pass pro to be effective in a Jay Gruden offense. Onwenwu should be able to compete with AJ Cann and/or Will Richardson at right guard early on.
#169 Overall, Antoine Brooks, S Maryland
DJ Hayden is inching closer to thirty years old and is entering the last year of his current contract. Enter Antoine Brooks, a safety from Maryland who played quite a bit in the slot during his college career. His athletic traits and experience in the role that Hayden currently mans should serve him well as he learns from the safety of the bench in year one. Brooks could also play a more traditional safety role down the road. He should be a terrific special teamer.
#186 Overall, Tyrie Cleveland, WR Florida
SPEEEEEED. Cleveland is a fantastic deep threat that needs development as a route runner. He's also seen some work as a return man, which could help the Jaguars. He'd be a bottom of the roster type receiver in year one but has all the tools to be a capable role player and field stretcher for the Jags.
#200 Overall, AJ Green, CB Oklahoma State
AJ Green has the type of length that the Jaguars covet at cornerback. He needs development in his technique but has the requisite tools to be a developmental cornerback on the back end of the Jaguars' roster. A disappointing 40-yard dash sees him fall to the bottom of the draft.
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