Jaguars' head coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke met with the media on Wednesday for their pre-draft press conference.
Here are my top takeaways.
No Official Commitment to Trevor
The Jaguars have yet to say they'll take Trevor Lawrence officially, but they've done everything except come out and say he's the pick. Urban Meyer told the media that he and Trent Baalke would be meeting with owner Shad Khan later this week and that ultimately it would be Shad's call. Baalke did talk a bit about Lawrence as a prospect. He said there are no negatives to speak of when evaluating the Clemson QB, "the stars all align." Urban Meyer didn't accept this job to pass on Trevor. No, that was part of the deal.
Urban Meyer emphasized that the first four players selected (the Jaguars' current first four picks are #1, #25, #33, #45) will need to make an IMMEDIATE impact. Obviously, Trevor Lawrence will have an early impact on the team, but which other position groups could help the Jaguars in 2021? The Jags undoubtedly need a pass-catching tight end. Perhaps a safety, interior defensive lineman, edge rusher, offensive weapon, or nickel cornerback could pay dividends early on.
Trent Baalke reiterated his philosophy is value-based. He doesn't want to reach for a position of need. Instead, he'll trust the draft board that he and the rest of the staff have compiled over the last several months. They'll "let the board speak to them" on draft day. "When you don't trust it, that's when you make mistakes," said Baalke. The Jaguars will need to tiptoe a fine line here because Urban wants players that can make an immediate impact, and sometimes that can lead to reaching for areas of need. Meyer admitted he gravitates towards team needs but has leaned on his coordinators and Trent Baalke when learning about value-based talent acquisition. The balancing act between finding players that can make an immediate impact while not reaching for positions of need will be critical.
Urban Meyer wants to add more talent to his defensive line. He sees the edge class as being deeper than the interior but says there are quality players inside as well. He likes the pieces that they have and thinks some of them will play better than they have due to maturity and coaching but made sure to say, "we're not done yet." Urban Meyer greatly values the defensive line. The Jaguars will finalize their defensive line board this afternoon. "How good is your team? ... How good is your defensive line?" perfectly summarizes Meyer's thoughts on the defensive front. Seeing the Jaguars add an edge rusher and/or defensive lineman early would not come a surprise.
I had to ask Urban if the Jaguars would continue to add speed and playmaking on offense. "That's every year. That will be a non-stop cycle of speed. Speed wins. We addressed it with Dorsett, Marvin Jones, Agnew" ... "that'll be a cycle of the Jaguars always looking for speed. Big plays were absent on offense last year here, and we have to get better — a lot of its speed. There's a lot more than speed involved with that, but yeah, speed is a big part of that," Meyer responded. With Meyer's desire to add big-play ability, an offensive weapon should be in play at every pick after number one.
Competition on the O-Line
Urban continued to publicly back his O-line group. That's nothing new. He believes in the players they have on the offensive line and trusts in coach George Warhop to get the most out of their young players and vets alike. But Meyer did say, "we will try to help bring competition to the O-Line in the draft. We plan on doing that."
Injury Red Flags
When it comes to any prospect with a red flag, the Jaguars will vet the issue (hopefully better than they did with the hiring of Chris Doyle). Meyer said a lot of times when a player has an injury history, and they don't have a successful playing career in the NFL, it's eighter due to the player not taking sports nutrition and science seriously enough or the organization's failure to do so. That will not be an issue in Jacksonville. Still, it'll be fascinating to see whether or not the Jags select any prospects with lengthy histories of injury. Trent Baalke selected a number of players with injury issues during his time in San Francisco. Will he be more cautious in Jacksonville?
That's a wrap! Next stop: the 2021 NFL Draft.
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