The draft is two, t-w-o, days away! I’m pumped to see how it all unfolds for the Jaguars and the rest of the teams around the league.
Last week I wrote my final “what I would do” mock draft of the season. FALSE. I ended up compiling another one, because what else am I supposed to do right now?
The most important idea to come away from this mock draft with isn’t the exact players the Jaguars land, but the philosophy used. This draft should be all about adding versatile offensive players early on to help Minshew in 2020 and beyond. The Jaguars certainly need help on defense too, but with their 12 draft picks, Dave Caldwell can be flexible, moving up and down the draft board at will.
#9 Overall - CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma
The Jaguars haven’t had a pair of star receivers on their roster since.... 2001. It’s been nearly 20 years since the Jaguars let Keenan McCardell walk. Thunder and lightning, aka Keenan and Jimmy Smith, helped propel the Jaguars to two AFC title games in their first five seasons as a franchise. Pairing Lamb, who is a polished route runner that plays with physicality at the catch point and has ridiculous YAC ability after he gets the ball in his hands, with DJ Chark, is a match made and heaven. It’s thunder and lightning 2.0. If the Jaguars are going to struggle to win games in 2020, let’s at least make it fun while building an offense that can compete at a high level in a year or two.
#20 Overall - Josh Jones, OT Houston
Jones is a marvelous pass blocker. He’s just so natural protecting the left side of the line in pass pro. His feet, hands, and head all work together to make it very difficult for opposing pass rushers. Adding Jones makes the Jaguars’ offensive line better in two ways. It gives them their starting left tackle of the future and allows them to work Cam Robinson as a guard or swing tackle, two areas the Jaguars need improvements.
#50 Overall (trade back) - Cam Akers, RB FSU
If you’ve been reading my work or following me on Twitter for any amount of time, you know my affinity for Cam Akers. He’s a complete back with explosiveness, wiggle, power, contact balance, and long speed. He’s a good pass-catcher out of the backfield and is well-versed in pass protection. He needs to clean up his ball security just a bit. But Akers is a perfect back for Jay Gruden’s offense and will be a versatile threat with workhorse potential.
#73 Overall - Bryce Hall, CB Virginia
Hall fits the mold for what the Jaguars value in a cornerback prospect. He’s long at 6’1” with 32 1/4” arms. He can jam receivers at the line, and while he doesn’t have the most fluid feet on the planet, he’s more than adequate in that area. Hall would likely be an early second-round pick but for an ankle injury that required surgery in 2019. With Hall in the mix, the Jaguars should have a cornerback room that’s competitive week in and week out. Hall and Rashaan Melvin can compete for the starting CB job opposite Tre Herndon, with DJ Hayden manning the slot. Hall should develop into a quality starter.
#85 (trade up) - Raekwon Davis, DT Alabama
Davis will provide precisely what the Jaguars need in the middle of their defense long term. A run-stuffer extraordinaire, Davis is 6’6” and has 34” arms. He uses his length to establish first contact with interior offensive lineman and has more than enough strength to hold the point. With Al Woods on the roster, Davis doesn’t have to start in year one. He can serve as a rotational DT before taking over as the starter in year two or three. While he didn’t show it much over his final two years at Alabama, Davis does have some pass-rush potential. He racked up 8.5 sacks as a sophomore but combined for just two total sacks in his final two years at BAMA.
#98 (trade up) - Van Jefferson, WR Florida
The Jaguars released Marqise Lee on Monday. With CeeDee Lamb in the fold, Jacksonville has four reliable receivers in Lamb, Chark, Westbrook, and Conley. Keelan Cole has been rumored to be available for trade. And in a Jay Gruden offense, the more weapons, the merrier. Enter Van Jefferson. The son of a coach is a master technician and is already an elite route runner. He’s long enough to play outside or in the slot and hit the fastest on-field time of any player at the Senior Bowl this year. Westbrook and Conley may not be around beyond 2020, and Jefferson can take on the role of the third WR target in year two.
#115 (trade up) - Alex Highsmith, DE Charlotte
The Jaguars could use a developmental pass rusher to take some pressure off of Josh Allen on the edge. Highsmith has a strong motor and the speed to get around the edge. He can be a rotational guy to start, and if he can get stronger, Highsmith can potentially be a three-down DE. He racked up 15 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his senior season.
#196 - Yasir Durant, OL Missouri
At 6’6” and 331 pounds, Durant is a massive human. After transferring from Arizona Western, Durant started at left tackle for Missouri in 2018 and ‘19. A quality starter for Mizzou, he’s not a great athlete, but he has some decent film moving in space. Whether he can play tackle or guard at the next level remains to be seen. But a man of his stature will be hard to maneuver around, at the very least.
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