Take a look at which major news networks have the Jags winning with the 17th pick.
With the Super Bowl now behind us, all eyes in the NFL are turning to the combine and the draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars remain at the 17th overall pick with no major changes in the order yet. No one seems entirely sure who the team will take, but it’s no secret that this upcoming draft is incredibly important for a whole host of reasons.
Here are the latest predictions for the Jags in the draft.
Starting with world leader Matt Miller of ESPN sees the Jags on defense in Round 1. Miller scoffs at the Jags acquiring Missouri cornerback Eric Rakestraw Jr. assuming the team re-signs Calvin Ridley.
Jacksonville could go in so many directions, but I expect the team to re-sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley, so let’s look at the secondary. Rakestraw is a feisty, fierce competitor at the line of scrimmage. While he’s not a bulky defender at 175 pounds, he will test wide receivers and ball carriers with his physical style. The Jaguars’ veteran cornerbacks Darious Williams and Tyson Campbell are entering the final years of their contracts.
CBS’ Chris Trapasso looks to solidify his lead and mocks the Jags to tackle Alabama’s offensive line against JC Latham. Trapasso has Latham as the third-best tackle prospect.
Latham would be a smart choice for a Jaguars team that needs to get the best out of Trevor Lawrence.
Back to the defensive side: Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic likes Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy at No. 17. Murphy has been a returning player in mocks for the team.
Jacksonville needs trench help on both sides of the ball, and Murphy was a major problem for almost every team Texas faced last season. The 6-1, 308-pounder plays with outstanding explosion off the snap and has the grip strength/power to throw to guards and centers. He would improve Jacksonville’s other young defensive pieces.
Another mainstay in Jags’ mocks is Alabama corner Kool-Aid McKinstry. Sports Illustrated’s Luke Easterling sees the Jags getting rolling with McKinstry as their third cornerback.
NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund goes on defense and keeps things somewhat local. Frelund believes the Jags will acquire FSU EDGE Jared Verse.
Verse is the Power Rusher prototype. He wins straight-ahead leverage matchups against O-linemen at a high rate of 25 percent. The utility in the run game is huge here, as the combination with Josh Allen and Co. creates a lot of value (this assessment assumes Allen, an impending free agent, will return).
Pro Football Network
PFN’s James Fragoza is taking a completely different route than most, bringing Washington receiver Rome Odunze to Jacksonville at 17 years old.
There are a lot of “F it, Rome Odunze is down there” plays on the Washington WR’s film, but he played them regularly. He puts more passes into his body than you’d like, but he has the combination of size, weight and speed to be an X-receiver the Jags need alongside Christian Kirk and Calvin Ridley.
Professional football focus
Another player who is often mocked for the Jags is senior bowl star Jackson Powers-Johnson. According to Trevor Sikkema, the Oregon center goes to the Jags at 17.
Powers-Johnson is coming off a dominant few days in Senior Bowl practice. He has only been the Ducks’ full-time starting center for a season, but in Mobile he showed he can be dominant at both center and guard. That flexibility means he will start somewhere in Jacksonville’s first week if they recruit him.
Bleacher Report’s scouting department wants the Jags to pursue a corner, but instead of McKinstry, they’re choosing Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell. Mitchell also had a strong Senior Bowl and was mocked several times by the Jags.
No single junior player helped his stock more at this year’s Senior Bowl than Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell. Granted, the two-time first-team All-MAC selection has been a rising star for nearly two years.
“Mitchell continued to improve his draft stock from the start of the season through Senior Bowl week,” Giddings said. “He has good length with versatility and top-notch movement skills.
“During the Senior Bowl, Mitchell showed the consistency and competitiveness to rank among the top cornerback prospects. With the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary and inconsistency, he could upgrade the unit and potentially provide some stability.”
The Jaguars have already made significant investments in their secondary, with cornerbacks Tyson Campbell being a 2021 second-round pick and Darious Williams joining the roster after signing a three-year, $30 million free agent contract ahead of the 2022 season. Still, Jacksonville finished in the bottom seven in pass defense last season.
Mitchell’s rise depended on how he could perform in an All-Star matchup against top competition while also being asked to set targets in man coverage. He thrived when asked to do so, demonstrating a well-rounded skill set with his ability to control the football in zone coverage after 44 passes defended over the past two seasons.
The Draft Network
Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network has another FSU prospect on his list, but this time receiver Keon Coleman is coming to Duval County.
Just when we thought Trevor Lawrence was going to be an All-Pro player, there was a step back. Some blame his offensive line, others blame his receivers. With this pick, the Jaguars decide to upgrade the WR room with a player who should be one of the best athletes in the entire draft.