The Jaguars' 2020 draft class is going to be a major factor as to whether or not the team is competitive in the coming season. With 12 draft picks, Jags' GM Dave Caldwell went all-in on adding as much young talent as possible.
Those 12 draft picks (and the 18 undrafted free agents) reported to the Jaguars' team facility earlier this week for COVID-19 testing. With training camp right around the corner, I figured it was about time to make some stat projections for the rookie class. In this post, I'll break down the top six picks, with the final six coming in part two of this exercise.
CB CJ Henderson - I expect Henderson to start on the outside from the jump. He'll be tasked with either covering the opposing number one or two receiver every week. There will be some bumps in the road, but with Henderson's athletic ability, talent, and work ethic, I expect him to register an impressive rookie season.
STATS: 16 games, 56 tackles, 3 INTs, 16 PBUs, 1 sack, 61% completion allowed in coverage
DE/OLB K'Lavon Chaisson - Chaisson will likely work his way into the starting lineup during training camp. He'll play SAM on base downs, and if Ngakoue doesn't show up, Chaisson will kick down to DE in pass-rushing situations.
STATS: 16 games, 62 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 30 pressures, 1 INT, 3 PBUs
WR Laviska Shenault - Shenault may not earn the number two receiver job from the get-go, but he'll be on the field quite a bit, lining up in various positions. His versatile skill set should allow him to produce all season long. But his physical playing style could force him to miss some time.
STATS: 14 games, 45 catches for 563 yards and 4 TDs, 29 carries for 174 yards and 2 TDs
DT DaVon Hamilton - Hamilton will likely start the season out as a rotational defensive tackle, focusing primarily on stuffing the run. But he does have the ability to create penetration and get after opposing QBs. He should earn more playing time as the season progresses.
STATS: 16 games, 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 TFLs, 4 PBUs
OL Ben Bartch - The Jaguars seem determined to move Bartch inside to guard despite him playing left tackle in college. The move from left tackle to guard won't be easy with a shortened offseason, training camp, and no preseason action. Because of this, it'll take him a while to break into the starting lineup. But AJ Cann's struggles will force the Jags' hand down the stretch.
STATS: 16 games (6 starts), 10 QB pressures allowed, 3 sacks allowed, 4 penalties
CB Josiah Scott - DJ Hayden is one of the best nickel cornerbacks in football today. So as long as he's healthy, Scott will have some trouble finding the field. But Hayden has missed seven games in the last two seasons. If he misses time again in 2020, Scott will likely step into the starting nickel role.
STATS: 16 games (4 starts), 20 tackles, 2 INTs, 8 PBUs, 1.5 sacks, 55% completion allowed in coverage
That wraps up the first half of the Jaguars' 2020 draft class. I graded each of these picks highly, and I believe in the talent and the football character of all six of these players. Still, rookies, when asked to do too much, will make mistakes. Henderson and Chaisson will likely receive the most snaps of this group, with Shenault and Hamilton trailing behind. The two fourth-round picks we covered probably won't crack the starting lineup without injuries or poor play ahead of them on the depth chart.
Follow Jordan on Twitter for all the latest Jaguars news and analysis.