Happy Friday, Duval!
Today I wanted to take a look at how a theory of mine might play out in the draft. The Jaguars signed ten defensive players in free agency, effectively shoring up their secondary and defensive front. I believe GM Trent Baalke and HC Urban Meyer may have done so, knowing that they want to surround Trevor Lawrence with even more offensive weapons early on in the draft. The roster could use more explosiveness at running back, a pass-catching tight end, and a bonafide slot receiver. While it might be controversial to draft four offensive players to start the draft, the Jaguars have committed so much to the defensive side of the ball this offseason that I wouldn't put it past them. And with the bevy of draft picks they have, it's not as if they can't add defensive talent later in the draft.
Keep in mind: this is a thought experiment — It's not what I would do given the reins of this team.
Let's take a look at how the draft could play out if the Jaguars commit to giving Trevor Lawrence an unending supply of playmakers.
This mock was run on The Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine.
#1 - QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Thank you, next.
#25 - RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
Drafting running backs in the first round is admittedly not my brand. But the Jaguars could see Travis Etienne, who has blazing speed and versatility, as an offensive weapon, not just a pure running back. Etienne averaged over 7 yards per carry throughout his college career, hauled in over 100 passes, and scored a ridiculous 78 touchdowns. He could step in as the third-down back and change of pace back from the get-go. What better to way help ease Trevor Lawrence's transition than by bringing his college running back with him to Duval?
#33 - WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Before Elijah Moore destroyed his pro day, running a 4.35 and posting impressive short shuttle and 3-cone numbers, he was already on my radar as an early day two pick. He's only 5'9" and 178 pounds, but he put up an impressive 17 bench press reps. Moore is super-smooth, super-fast, and might have the best pure hands in the entire class. Adding him to the Jaguars' wide receiver room gives them the true slot receiver that they're currently missing.
#45 - TE Brevin Jordan, Miami
While Pat Freiermuth is the consensus tight end pick to the Jaguars, Brevin Jordan might make more sense. He's a much better athlete than Freiermuth and could quickly develop into a Jonnu Smith clone, with the ability to line up anywhere on the field, being too big for slot cornerbacks and safeties, and too fast for opposing linebackers. The Jaguars group of offensive playmakers is now complete.
#65 - CB Elijah Molden, Washington
Molden is short in stature but packs a punch and plays the game with fire. He is the slot defender/safety of the future for the Jaguars. He has a nose for the ball and embraces the physical aspects of the game.
#101 - EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami
(Traded #130, #145 for #101)
There's plenty to like with the Jaguars' current group of edge rushers, but adding another talented DE/OLB to the mix makes too much sense here. Roche isn't a freak athlete and doesn't have prototypical defensive end size, but his technical refinement as a pass rusher is impressive. He should fit well in the new multiple-front defense. His pass-rush win rate of 14.5% over the last two seasons is hard to ignore. And his performance at the Senior Bowl confirmed my belief in his ability to translate to the next level.
#106 - OT D'Ante Smith, East Carolina
Smith is not a day one starter by any means. But with Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor in the fold, he doesn't need to be. Smith has impressive athleticism and had plenty of quality reps at the Senior Bowl. Depending on how Cam Robinson plays in 2021, Smith could be the backup plan for the future. At worst, he's your swing tackle for the next few seasons.
#170 - EDGE Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State
I don't believe Cooper will fall this far, but you never know what will happen come draft day. He played under Meyer at Ohio State and blossomed into an excellent pass rush specialist. You can never have enough pass rush, and you can look at Cooper as a backup plan if K'Lavon Chaisson doesn't show continued development. His pass-rush win rate of 14.8% percent jumps off the page, and he was another standout at the Senior Bowl.
#249 - WR Cade Johnson, South Dakota State
Cade Johnson is an early day three talent in my mind. He's a route running technician who was virtually uncoverable at the Senior Bowl. At this point in the draft, while the Jaguars didn't have a need at receiver, his value was too high to pass on. With Jacksonville's surplus of good receivers, they might be able to parlay one of them into a future draft pick or player at a position of need during or after training camp.
While this isn't how I'd choose to build the team, I do think a haul that looks similar to this is well within the realm of possibilities for the Jaguars. And in the end, they still added three quality defenders. Deploying James Robinson, Travis Etienne, DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr., Marvin Jones, Elijah Moore, and Brevin Jordan as top offensive weapons could make the Jaguars an immediate playoff contender.
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