The first season of the Urban Meyer era didn't even last, well, a season. Meyer is out after 11 months, and the Jaguars will head in a bold (hopefully) new direction following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. It's widely expected that Shad Khan will clean house in the front office and coaching staff. While we don't know who will head the scouting department, front office, and coaching staff, we do know that group will need to nail the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Surrounding 2021 first overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, with talent, should be priority number one for the next regime in Jacksonville.
With that in mind, I'm putting on the GM cap today and mocking the first four rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft for the Jaguars. After falling to the Texans on Sunday, and the Lions shocking upset over the Cardinals, the Jaguars hold the number one spot in the draft heading into Week 16. Before we start, I'm assuming I've taken care of some of my offensive line and receiver needs in free agency with my $70 million in salary-cap space. Let's say we've shored up the interior of the offensive line, brought Cam Robinson back for another year under the franchise tag, and signed either Chris Godwin (torn ACL) or Michael Gallup. Godwin wins more from the slot, while Gallup wins on the outside as the X or Z. Let's say we've also re-signed X receiver DJ Chark to a prove-it deal.
I simulated this mock draft over on The Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine, so don't yell at me about x player still being on the board at x spot. Or about the trade value charts. And mind you, I was on the receiving end of these trade offers; I didn't instigate in that regard.
Let's get to it!
#5 Overall — OT Evan Neal, Alabama
6'7", 360-pounds, Junior
TRADED: #1 to NYG for #5, #6, #70
Another offensive tackle? But you just drafted Walker Little in the second round and still have Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor on the roster! Yep, all of this is true. But with questions about just how good Walker Little will become, and Jawaan Taylor regressing before our very eyes, we've still got major questions on the right side of the offensive line. My good buddy T-Wigg, brought up a great point yesterday. Would either of the top two edge rushers make a big impact if tasked with lining up against Evan Neal one-on-one? I lean towards Neal, but we might just get a shot to see Aidan Hutchinson and Evan Neal face off in the CFP National Championship if Bama and Michigan take care of business in the semi-finals. Here, we get the opportunity to trade down, acquiring two top-ten picks from the Giants. Having played guard, right tackle, and left tackle at Alabama, Neal's versatility is desirable. Even more alluring, his massive frame that has incredible flexibility and athleticism. Neal has feet to mirror, excellent punch timing and placement, and the strength and flexibility to stick with just about anyone. A self-motivated mountain of a man that moves well, can play anywhere, and excels in pass pro and the running game? Sign me up. We've now ensured that Trevor Lawrence will have the protection he needs to find his receivers down the field. If Walker Little shows development at right tackle throughout the offseason, you can start Little at tackle and stick Evan Neal at one of the guard spots for 2021. If that experiment goes well, you can let Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor walk following the season and then start Little and Neal at whichever tackle spot suites them best long-term.
#6 Overall — WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
6'2", 190-pounds, Junior
I'm going ultra-aggressive on offense here. Trevor Lawrence needs a receiver that can separate and catch the ball cleanly. Enter Jameson Williams, who has the best combination of straight-line speed, quick twitch, route-running savvy, and catch radius in the draft. He'll run a 40 in the 4.3s but has the ability to stop and a dime and explode in a different direction, putting defenders in a bind. He'll win at all levels of the field and has experience at X, Z, and in the slot. He's a demon with the ball in his hands thanks to his speed, quickness, slipperiness, and vision. He can burn you over the top, take slants and digs to the house, and pick up easy chunks in the screen game. He's Trevor Lawrence's new best friend.
#22 Overall — EDGE Jermaine Johnson, FSU
6'5", 265-pounds, RS Senior
TRADED: #33, #105, 2023 3rd Rounder
We passed on the opportunity to land one of the top two edge rushers in the class when we traded down from one. Jermaine Johnson at 22 is the consolation prize. And what a prize he is! Transferring from Georgia to FSU due to a crowded defensive line room and a scheme that didn't exactly emphasize edge-rushing production, Johnson burst onto the scene for the Noles in 2021. He has power and length to work through offensive tackles as a bull rusher. He can effectively rush around the outside hip of offensive tackles thanks to his explosiveness and ankle flexion, even if he isn't the most flexible edge rusher on the planet. His hands are constantly working to improve his position and gain an advantage against pass protectors. He does well to set the edge against the run and should translate to a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme at the next level. Pairing him with Josh Allen makes the defensive line much more dangerous against opposing passing attacks.
#45 Overall — iDL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
6'3", 315-pounds, Senior
TRADED: #65, #157, #182 for #45
The Jaguars have used plenty of resources to improve the interior of their defensive line over the last couple of seasons; still, they lack a consistent interior penetrator. Enter Devonte Wyatt, the 315-pound dancing bear plays with good leverage and has remarkable athleticism, fluidity, and later agility for a man his size. Wyatt has violent hands and an arsenal of moves at his disposal, including a devastating post-contact spin move. He moves well in space to track ball carriers and finishes off plays with regularity. Has some versatility as he can likely fill multiple roles along the defensive line at the next level and is at his best lining up anywhere in between center and tackle. He should provide the Jaguars some juice when it comes to getting off the field on third down.
#70 Overall — TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
6'4", 260-pounds, Senior
Versatility is the name of Trey McBride's game. He can win from the slot, in-line, and in the backfield. He has strong hands to attack the ball away from his body. McBride is a smooth route runner with good, not great, straight-line speed. With the ball in his hands, he possesses devastating power and above-average contact balance, making him a threat to pick up extra yards every time he catches the ball. A quality run blocker that won't need to leave the field. Comfortable getting the ball in a variety of ways, including on shovel passes, quick outs, sticks, digs, and corners. McBride will be the do-it-all tight end the Jaguars have lacked for decades and should be a reliable safety valve for Trevor Lawrence. Transitioning to being a third, fourth, or even fifth option in an NFL offense could also help take some pressure off of him, as he's been the focal point at Colorado State.
#71 Overall — LB Chad Muma, Wyoming
6'3", 242-pounds, Senior
The Jaguars have lacked consistency at the linebacker position since the retirement of Paul Posluszny. Chad Muma is a model of consistency for the Cowboys' defense. He makes all the calls and is comfortable attacking downhill, dropping into shallow zones, and even covering running backs out of the backfield. He's not going to excel turning his back to the quarterback and carrying vertically, but then again, most linebackers in his mold are going to struggle in that area. Muma has fantastic instincts, lateral agility, and explosiveness, combined with strong, active hands to deconstruct blocks and attack. While you're not going to want him deep down the field in man coverage, Muma has good instincts in shallow to intermediate zones and in short to medium man coverage. He has good hands, too, as evidenced by his three interceptions during his senior season. Jaguars' starter Damien Wilson is on an expiring contract, and Muma appears to be a quality replacement. Testing will be key for Muma, but he looks the part from the eye test.
That's it for this four-round mock. Trading out of the top spot allowed us to land two instant impact offensive players to help support Trevor Lawrence. Getting back into the first and landing Jermaine Johnson gives us a three-down EDGE with Pro Bowl potential. Wyatt adds some juice to the interior of the defensive line. McBride adds versatility and playmaking to the tight end room. And Muma provides a smart, well-rounded replacement for Damien Wilson.
Let me know what you think on Twitter!
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