We're going to have a rookie report each week from now until the end of the Jacksonville Jaguars' 2021 campaign. We'll be taking a look at each of the Jaguars' draft picks from the 2021 class and how they performed.
The Browns handed the Jaguars a decisive 23-13 L in week one of the preseason, but the Jaguars' rookies played well as a whole.
1st Overall Pick QB Trevor Lawrence
Here's a full breakdown of Lawrence's performance.
Trevor held on to the ball for too long a couple of times, had one overthrow and one misunderstanding with his intended target. All that, and he still completed 6/9 passes for 71 yards and got the job done on 2/3 third-down attempts (yes, I'm giving him credit for the completion to Marvin Jones because Jones should've been able to get the first down). Moving forward, we'll look for Lawrence to show off his athleticism a bit more, speed up the internal clock, and continue to play smart, turnover-free football. It was a good start with an extremely vanilla game plan and a minimal sample size.
25th Overall Pick RB/WR Travis Etienne
Of all the rookies, Etienne had the most frustrating outing. Not because he didn't play well, but because he wasn't given many opportunities to make an impact. Gardner Minshew overshot Etienne, who was wide open in the flat on the rookie playmaker's lone target. On his one rushing attempt, he picked up a couple of tough yards. The Jaguars need to find a way to get Etienne, who has game-breaking ability, more involved moving forward.
33rd Overall Pick CB Tyson Campbell
Campbell didn't pick up any pass breakups, but he was sticky in coverage and allowed a completion % of only 50 in coverage. For most of his snaps, he looked the part and stayed attached to the hip of receivers. But the same issue that plagued him at Georgia — his inability to play the ball in the air — crept up late in the second quarter. He had receiver Davion Davis locked up in tight coverage in the endzone, but as the ball came in high, Campbell didn't get close to making the play. It was an encouraging start overall, but Campbell showed he still needs to improve when it comes to making plays deep down the field.
45th Overall Pick OT Walker Little
After cross-training on the left and right side during training camp, Little worked only at left tackle in the preseason opener. For a guy that hadn't played a down of competitive football since week one of the 2019 season, I've got to say, he looked damn good. His technique wasn't perfect; there was some lunging and poor hand placement at times, but you can tell Little has the physical ability. He allowed two total pressures on 41 pass pro snaps, but there were a couple more that were close. Still, Little didn't allow a sack and at times looked dominant from a strength and athleticism standpoint. I was really impressed with his toughness in the run game and liked his mobility to get to the second level. He looks like he could be a major factor in the running game and passing game sooner rather than later.
65th Overall Pick S Andre Cisco
Cisco had the best performance of all the Jaguars' rookies on Saturday. He played 46 snaps, lining up in the box, in single-high, in the slot, and just about everywhere else. Cisco was a sure tackler, picking up a total of four tackles, and he was in the area of several more. He showed off his instincts in coverage, allowing only two of four targets in primary coverage for 22 yards. Against the run, Cisco filled his gaps and played stout football. Perhaps the most impressive part of his performance is that there were no blemishes to speak of. The only tackle he wasn't able to make was on a screen. Cisco was the only Jaguar that read the play correctly and ended up trying to take on the entire Browns' offensive line alone, which didn't end well for the young safety. Nevertheless, he was always where he was supposed to be, despite being tasked with playing several different positions.
105th Overall Pick DT Jay Tufele
Another 2020 opt-out, Tufele hadn't played live ball since 2019. But the USC standout performed well in the 25 snaps he was on the field for the defense. He picked up a couple of quarterback pressures and made a stop right around the line of scrimmage. With the Jaguars' current depth at defensive tackle, Tufele will play a small role early and get more time as he earns it. But he played his part in helping the Jaguars' run defense surrender less than two yards per carry. He displayed good leverage, active hands, and high energy.
121st Overall Pick EDGE Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith played primarily in the second half of this one, but he was genuinely impressive. He set the edge against the run, flowed to the ball, and picked up three tackles. On several occasions, he looked comfortable dropping into shallow zones. He also picked up a batted pass at the line of scrimmage on a critical down with the Jags backed up against the goal line. If Smith continues to play the way he did on Saturday, he'll have no problem playing in the league for a long time, but to find his way onto the field for the Jaguars during the regular season, he'll need to show he can do it against a higher level of competition.
145th Overall Pick TE Luke Farrell
Farrell wasn't super involved in this one, logging only 18 offensive snaps, but he performed well as a run blocker in his limited opportunities. Considering that was a strength of his game in college, it shouldn't come as a surprise. He was targeted once in the passing game and came down with a short gain. As long as Farrell continues to block well and show reliable hands, he'll be in line to take over as the Jaguars' primary blocking tight end down the road.
209th Overall Pick WR Jalen Camp
The Jaguars' final draft pick of 2021 wasn't asked to do much in this contest. Jacksonville has so much depth at receiver that it might be a challenge for Camp to stand out during the preseason. He played 17 snaps on offense and four on special teams. Camp caught his only target on the day, picking up nine yards on a comeback route. He showed some route-running chops with deliberate, well-timed movements. Camp took four reps on special teams. Without more impact in the third phase of the game, it's going to be tough for the rookie to make the active roster in year one.
This Jaguar's rookie class played exceptionally well during their preseason opener. The Browns rested nearly all of their starters, so it wasn't against the highest level of competition, but it was a solid start. The offensive game plan needs to feature Travis Etienne more, but other than that, it looked like the Jaguars had a well-thought-out plan for the rest of their draft picks.
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