In what was the most thrilling Sunday evening for Jaguars' fans since January of 2018, the Big Cats ascended to the top spot in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In the early window, the Jaguars, who held the second over pick in the draft heading into Sunday, fell to the Ravens in Baltimore by a score of 40-14. That was to be expected. But when the Jets, who were in possession of the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, jumped out to a 20-3 lead over the Rams, Duval began to pay attention. You see, for the Jaguars to claim the top pick in next Aprils' draft, they needed the Jets to win a game. When the Jets held off the Rams' comeback effort and lined up in the victory formation, Jaguars fans around the globe rejoiced. And now that both clubs have one win to their name in 2020, the Jaguars have jumped the Jets based on the strength of schedule tiebreaker. The Jaguars won't be locked into the number one spot until after week 16 at the earliest. But, as it stands right now, the Jaguars possess the first overall pick in the draft for the first time in franchise history.
With a major change up at the top of the draft, it felt fitting to release an updated Jaguars seven-round mock draft.
#1 Overall - QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
A couple of weeks ago, I went on record, explaining why I believe Justin Fields, not Trevor Lawrence, is the best quarterback prospect in the class. I stand by that belief, but I also argued that both young quarterbacks are elite and have the makings of perennial Pro Bowl type players. Almost all talent evaluators rank Lawrence in front of Fields, and with that in mind, I'm mocking Lawrence to the Jaguars with the top pick in the draft. He's got the size, arm talent, and mobility that NFL clubs covet and is one of the top prospects in recent memory. Lawrence also has an unparalleled resume, starting since his freshman year at Clemson and leading his team to a National Title in 2018.
#25 Overall - LT Rashawn Slater, North Western
Cam Robinson has developed into a lower-tier starting left tackle, but if you're going to invest in an elite QB who doesn't have the thickest frame, protecting him is essential. Robinson's rookie contract expires after 2020, and if I were the Jaguars, I'd move on from the former second-round pick. Rashawn Slater opted out of the 2020 season and has less than ideal arm length at offensive tackle, but his tape does the talking for him. Slater allowed just five pressures in all of 2019 and handled Chase Young in their matchup. He may or may not be gone before this spot, but players like Christian Darrisaw, Samuel Cosmi, and Liam Eichenberg could also serve as blindside protectors for Trevor Lawrence.
#33 Overall - CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Jaycee Horn is a physical cornerback with a knack for coming up with game-changing plays. Son of former Pro Bowler Joe Horn, Jaycee projects as an above-average starter on the outside. CB may not be the biggest need for the Jaguars on paper if they retain Sidney Jones, but because Jones and CJ Henderson are oft-injured, adding a third quality cornerback to the mix makes a lot of sense, especially one of Horn's quality. Another reason for going corner here is that there should be several high-quality corners at this point in the draft, so if Horn isn't available, guys like Shaun Wade, Eric Stokes, and Derion Kendrick could still be on the board.
#46 Overall - DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
I've written about Phillips before. He's a first-round talent that took a while to develop because of some off the field issues. But during his lone year with the Hurricanes, Phillips has shown off why he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. With 42 pressures and eight sacks in 286 pass-rush snaps, he's cemented himself as an early day two pick. He's also an excellent run defender with 6'5'', 266-pound frame. As long as he gets cleared from a character standpoint, Phillips will be a home run at this point in the draft. Defensive end isn't the most glaring need for the Jags, but adding a player of this caliber at the second or third most position in the football would be huge. Having a young defensive end rotation that features Josh Allen, K'Lavon Chaisson, and Jaelan Phillips is a terrifying thought for opposing offensive play-callers in the AFC South.
#51 Overall - WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
Traded: #102, #126, and 2022 4th round pick
Our first trade up is for one of the most exciting players in the draft. Kadarius Toney has developed into a nearly unstoppable offensive weapon. Adding him to the mix in Jacksonville would be huge for an offense that already has a couple of young studs at receiver. Toney wouldn't need to come in and be the number one target. Instead, he could continue to be used as an offensive weapon as he has been at Florida. His agility, short-area burst, and surprisingly strong lower body make Toney incredibly frustrating for opposing defenders. He's also developed as a route runner and natural pass catcher. Toney has hauled in over 80% of his targets in 2020. He'll immediately take over as the starting punt returner for the Jaguars.
#60 Overall - DT Jaylen Twyman, Pitt
Traded: #65, #248
We traded up yet again to land a potential Pro Bowl caliber player here. Twyman's draft stock has taken a hit due to him opting out of the 2020 NFL Draft, but he's the type of player the Jaguars thought they were getting with Taven Bryan in 2018. Twyman has elite production, strength, and quickness. He's sturdy against the run and explosive as a pass rusher. Pairing him with DaVon Hamilton and Doug Costin makes for a solid three-man rotation on the defensive interior.
#141 Overall - iOL Alec Lindstrom, Boston College
After an 80 pick lull for the Jaguars, they're back on the clock. Lindstrom has NFL bloodlines with his dad and brother both playing in the pros. He's developed into an excellent pass blocking center and could potentially hold up at guard as well. He probably won't be forced into the starting lineup early on with Brandon Linder, Andrew Norwell, AJ Cann, and Ben Bartch already in Jacksonville. But given some time for development, Lindstrom could be a strong starter down the road.
#163 Overall - WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
There's no reason Wallace should be on the board at this point, but crazier things have happened with the depth of the receiver position in recent draft classes. Wallace is a bit slight of frame and isn't the most explosive athlete, but he's six feet tall, runs crisp routes, has elite contested-catch skills, and excels with the ball in his hands. The Jaguars already have a lot of talent at receiver, but he's simply too good to pass on at this point.
#222 - S Tariq Thompson, San Diego State
Thompson has developed into a pass coverage specialist safety for the Aztecs. He's a late-round flier that could help the Jaguars in sub-package situations. Guys that can cover will always help you in the modern NFL.
In this mock, the Jaguars get their franchise quarterback and elite left tackle to protect him. They also build upon the talent already in the front and back end of their defense, while sprinkling in offensive playmakers throughout the draft.
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