Free Agency has been a full-sprint since the beginning of the legal tampering period a week and a half ago. While some teams have spent quite a bit more than the Jaguars, not many clubs have signed as many players as the Jags. They've added LB Joe Schobert, CB Darqueze Dennard, DE/DT Rodney Gunter, G/C Tyler Shatley, DE Lerentee McCray, DT Al Woods, DE/OLB Cassius Marsh, CB Rashaan Melvin, and TE Tyler Eifert.
Outside of Joe Schobert, Tyler Eifert, and Rodney Gunter, the Jaguars' front office elected not to pay big money for any of their incoming free agents — and even with those three players, their contracts are well within reason. While Schobert, Eifert, and Gunter will immediately slot in as the starters at middle linebacker, tight end, and defensive end, respectively, the rest of the free-agent additions may have to compete for their jobs. The Jaguars won't likely be signing any more impact players this offseason.
Because I am who I am, I've turned my eyes back towards the draft.
Round 1 #9 Overall, Mechi Becton, OT Louisville
Some might argue that left tackle isn't the most glaring need for the Jaguars, and it might not be. But by adding Mechi Becton to the offensive line, you immediately get a mauling run blocker, with INSANE size, strength, and athleticism. While he needs to develop his technique as a pass protector, he's more than ready to start from day one. This also gives you a chance to see what Cam Robinson can do on the inside. So you could potentially be upgrading two positions on the offensive line for the price of one.
Round 1 #25 Overall, Tee Higgings, WR Clemson
Trade back a couple of spots to acquire more trade-up potential from the Vikings? Yes, please. In exchange for the 20th pick, the Jaguars get the 25th pick and the 132nd pick. Higgins is faster than you think and runs better routes than you think. With the said, he's the best deep ball receiver in the country and is a bigger, slightly less speedy version of DJ Chark. Intrigued? Me too. Higgins and Chark on the edges of the offense will make the Jaguars incredibly tricky to game plan for, especially with Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and company, also testing you. The Jaguars' offense needs a legit starter opposite Chark, and now they've got one.
Round 2 #42 Overall, Grant Delpit, S LSU
The Jaguars should be trying to upgrade their safety group, especially at free safety, where Jarrod Wilson struggled when inserted into the starting lineup last season. Delpit has the highest upside of any safety in this class. He has natural ball skills, big-time playmaking ability, and range. If he can sure up his tackling just a bit, Delpit becomes a home run type pick.
Round 2 #58 Overall, Cam Akers, RB FSU
Back in business with the Vikings? Sure thing. Trade three of your four fourth-round picks to move up and get your Leonard Fournette replacement. Cam Akers is a do-it-all back out of Tallahassee. In college, he routinely had to overcome his offensive line. In Jacksonville, with Becton and Taylor on the outside and Linder, Norwell, and Robinson(?) on the inside, Akers should have more room to work with. Leonard Fournette is entering the final year of his contract and hasn't been explosive enough to warrant a mega RB contract, which he'll likely desire.
Round 3 #73 Overall, Bryce Hall, CB Virginia
But for a 2019 ankle injury, Bryce Hall could go much higher. At six-foot-one with 32-inch arms, he is LOOOOOOONG. Hall fits the thresholds the Jaguars look for when drafting cornerbacks and should be able to compete for a starting job sooner in year one.
Round 3 #91 Overall, Davon Hamilton, DT Ohio State
In order to land their long term nose tackle of the future (and potentially the present), the Jaguars trade a fourth and a fifth-round pick to acquire Davon Hamilton. Hamilton will make it difficult for Al Woods to hold him off in the starting lineup at nose tackle. He's big, strong, athletic, and plays with 100% effort on every play. While his main task will be to slow down the run, Hamilton has more than enough juice to create interior pressure.
Round 3 #103 Overall, Jabari Zuniga, EDGE Florida
The Jaguars trade the remaining two sixth-round picks and their lone seventh-round pick to the Eagles in order to move up and land the last defensive end they feel has starter traits. Zuniga missed all but five games in 2019. But in the three seasons prior, he picked up at least five sacks and eight tackles per loss each year. Zuniga has size, some bend, and is physical at the point of attack. He could develop into a starting 4-3 end for the Jaguars but should serve as a strong rotational pass rusher early on.
In this mock draft, the Jaguars added seven players that project to start at some point in year one or by year two. You can't ask for much more than that. Becton, Higgins, and Akers make Gardner Minshew's life a whole lot easier from the get-go. Delpit and Hall help revamp the Jaguars' secondary, while Hamilton and Zuniga add depth and talent to a defensive line that needed it. The one area I missed out on here was tight end. But if one or two of Tyler Eifert, James O'Shaughnessy, and Josh Oliver can stay healthy in 2020, the Jaguars will be fine there.
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