The Jaguars selected two Clemson Tigers on the first night (Thursday) of the 2021 NFL Draft — transcendent quarterback Trevor Lawrence (#1 overall) and dynamic offensive weapon/running back Travis Etienne (#25 overall).
Jacksonville then selected three prospects on day two (Friday) that represent massive upside but come with legitimate question marks. At 33, they nabbed N/CB Tyson Campbell, who is sticky in coverage with length and speed, but struggles to make plays once the ball is in the air. At 45, Walker Little was the pick. The former Stanford Cardinal hasn't played a down since week one of the 2019 season when he suffered a torn ACL. Prior to that, he showed flashes of strong play but struggled with consistency, especially in the run game. But Little is healthy now and has some of the best traits of any offensive tackle in the class — his flexibility pops off the tape. And at 65, the Jaguars took Andre Cisco, a Syracuse safety who is currently recovering from a torn ACL but has the best range and ball skills of any free safety in the class.
And on the final day of the draft (Saturday), the Big cats added four more players to the roster. They started the day off with Jay Tufele, a 2020 opt-out. Meyer recruited the powerful defensive tackle out of high school. Tufele likely should've been a day two pick as a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Due to his lack of length and speed, Tufele won't be a dominant interior penetrator, but he'll use his strength, effort, and instincts to eat up blockers and make plays around the line of scrimmage. He joins an already impressive group of interior run stuffers in Jacksonville and helps ensure that the Jags won't have as much trouble on early downs as they did in 2020.
"Put on the film," Jaguars' GM Trent Baalke said. "He's a plus two guy all the way, great effort player, has the type of mindset that we're looking for. Coach [Urban Meyer] was very familiar with him based on the recruiting process coming out. Quality guy and quality football player."
Next, the Jaguars traded up, sending picks 130, 170, and 249 to the Rams in exchange for 121 and 209. With their newly acquired 121st pick, the Jags selected UAB EDGE Jordan Smith. Smith is a long edge player with some potential at the position. But his lack of athleticism and modest production against lesser competition leaves a bit to be desired. From my perch, there were several higher quality defensive ends available on the board, suggesting the Jaguars should've let the board fall to them instead of trading up for a raw, unathletic edge from a smaller school.
"Well, when you look at the board, again, our board is based on value and at that point in time, he was clearly the highest rated guy on our board, and we just didn't feel comfortable with what we may possibly get if we weren't able to get him," Baalke shared. "So, we just made the decision to move up and be aggressive."
At 145, the Jaguars used their Ohio State connection, adding tight end Luke Farrell to their group. Farrell was somewhat underutilized at Ohio State and will come in as a Y-tight end or a primary blocker. He has strong hands and excellent athleticism for the position to go along with his blocking prowess, so Farrell could earn a role as a contributor early on. While Brevin Jordan, one of the top receiving tight end in the class, was still available, the Jaguars passed in favor of Farrell.
"Again, we had some guys in line," Baalke told the media. "You can't control the board, the board kind of controls you at times. But we feel very good and fortunate to pick up Luke [Farrell] when we did. Again, filling that room is going to be an ongoing process, just like it is at every room. We're going to try to make each room as competitive as we can. We feel we made great strides in doing that this weekend, but we're far from finished."
With their final pick in 2021, Urban Meyer and the Jaguars selected the athletic and underutilized Georgia Tech receiver Jalen Camp. He's legitimately one of the most well-rounded athletes you'll find at the position and has excellent size, standing nearly 6'2" and weighing in at 226. He generally displays soft hands and impressive ball tracking. He'll have a chance to make an impact down the road but will need to compete on special teams early on.
"For a big man, his vertical, his linear stealth was excellent," said Baalke. "His change of direction stuff was very good for a player that size. So, across the board, his numbers stood out, just another big guy with traits that did some nice things at the position and some things that our receivers coach and offensive coordinator feel very strongly they can develop."
The Big Cats also signed six undrafted free agents. LB Dylan Moses (Alabama) and WR Josh Imatorbhebe (Illinois) headlined the group that also included WR Tim Jones (Southern Miss), CB DJ Daniel (Georgia), DT Kenny Randall (Charleston), and CB Corey Straughter (Lousiana Monroe).
Moses struggled in 2020 while he was still recovering from a season-ending knee injury from 2019. If he can regain his pre-injury form, Moses could find a long-term home in Jacksonville.
Imatorbhebe, like Jalen Camp, is a freaky athlete at the receiver position. He leaped 46.5" at his pro day and showed off strength and explosiveness in the bench press and broad jump. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash.
DJ Daniel was overshadowed by early-round picks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell at Georgia, but he performed at a high level in coverage and has good length and athleticism for the position. Daniel performed well during Senior Bowl week.
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