The Jaguars for the second year in a row will pick first in the upcoming NFL Draft. Last year in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars picked the generational talent, quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson. A great pick up for Jacksonville who was also breaking in their new NFL head coach, Urban Myer.
Unfortunately, Urban did not last a full season as the head coach for Jacksonville because of some of his behavior issues. The Jaguars are back at the drawing board looking for a head coach, but they did solve their quarterback problem in last years draft. Who they go after in this years draft will depend on what they chose to do with the first pick. I expect the Jaguars to trade the pick down to pick up a few more draft selections.
Jacksonville is a long rebuild, so the leaders of the Jags will have to play this one smart. So let’s get started.
Round 1 (No. 5 Overall): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
They say a QB’s best friend is the offensive tackle who defends his blindside. The Jags rookie QB, Trevor Lawrence, had one heck of a season running from defenses in his first year in the NFL, but with a guy like Charles Cross that should be a thing of the past. Cross went up against some of the best defensive lines in college football week after week in the SEC West and should be able to step in and contribute for the Jags almost immediately.
At 6’5 310 lbs, Cross has just the right amount of length and size to be affective in the NFL. Cross tends to hold great leverage with his quick first step off the line. He shows great ability to prevent defenders from trying to over powering him by using his strength to lean on defenders to prevent him from getting pushed too far back into the pocket. Cross football IQ has shown itself throughout the year in situations where Cross manages to slow down defenders with his ability to use his quick hands to keep rushers at bay; stopping their momentum. Cross would be a good start to rebuilding this offensive line.
Round 2 (No.33 Overall): John Metchie, WR, Alabama
Metchie might not be here at pick 33, but if he is I don’t see why the Jaguars wouldn’t add him to the roster. The Alabama WR is one of the best in the country at creating separation, getting yards after the catch, and down field blocking. Metchie suffered a knee injury in their win against #1 Georgia in the SEC Championship game, but with modern medicine Metchie could be back by week 1 or at least by week 5 of the regular season.
Trevor Lawrence could use a go-to receiver like Metchie who can play inside or outside receiver. Alabama has become a factory for top talented receivers ever since Julio Jones entered the league. The Jaguars have to get Trevor some talent around him if they are to see his full potential. Metchie was a reliable playmaker for the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young.
Round 3 (No.65 Overall): Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
A sleeper amongst corner backs in this class to start the year has turned into one of the players to notice. Coby stands at 6’0 198 lbs from Cleveland, Ohio and has been the other locked down corner opposite of Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Coby has the size and speed to match up against some of the quicker WR in the league. His technique in man coverage is what will stand out on film. Coby is physical with receivers from start to finish which made it difficult for WR to fully catch the ball all the way to the finish. My rule of thumb for all cornerbacks is to always make sure the receiver knows you are present. Just touching the receiver to start the play can become a constant reminder that you are there.
Coby would be a solid piece for the Jaguars to add to a weak defense. Bryant’s coverage traits like playing the ball all the way to the ground can be vital in rebuilding the culture of the Jags defense which needs to play to the finish. Coby also won’t allow for receivers to bully him on any play. The Jags dropped the ball with C.J. Henderson’s evaluation and development which lead the jags to trade him to the Carolina Panthers. The Jags have been trying to replace All-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey since his departure, which has been harder to do then they thought. What Coby brings to the table could be the effort Jalen brought to the team when he was drafted back in 2016.
Round 3 (No.72 Overall): Jamaree Salyer, IOL, Georgia
In many of the games played this year Salyer is playing the left tackle position, but his body type and athleticism has him positioned to move inside at the next level. Salyer at 6’4 325 lbs brings a physical aspect to run blocking and is quick out of his stance in the passing game. As a versatile lineman who projects as a guard at the next level, Salyer could slide over to the tackle spot if the starting tackle was to unfortunately miss some time due to injury. Based off the film, it looks like Salyer is very strong at the point of attack. This unexpected attack helps Salyer get inside leverage on most of his opponents and drive them back.
The Jags will go with Salyer at pick 72 because the offensive line will need to be rebuilt because of lack of production from the 2021 group and expiring contracts. Salyer to go along with Cross on the Oline will give become pieces that the Jags can build on for the future. I expect a few veterans in free agency to be added to help the rookies transition to the NFL.
The first three picks for the Jags will include them trading back to the 5th spot in-order to get extra picks for the long rebuild. I believe the Jags will go offense with the first two picks because they need to keep their generational QB, Trevor Lawrence, upright and get him a reliable target to throw to. With that being said, the NFL is a passing league and a DB like Coby Bryant to go along with their 2021 2nd round cornerback pick Tyson Campbell will be vital. Campbell has developed nicely over the course of the season and will be a figure head to this Jags defense for years to come.
The Jaguars will have to dive heavy into free agency if they want to turn the franchise around. With a few quality veterans in free agency over the off-season to go a long with the picks in the 2022 draft, The Jags can look and be very competitive in the 2022 regular season.