2022 NFL Draft: Mocking Jaguars' Draft Haul After First Wave of Free Agency
The Jacksonville Jaguars' roster looks quite different than a week ago.
After a busy first wave of free agency that saw the Jaguars franchise tag left tackle Cam Robinson and add seven new starters in wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi, cornerback Darious Williams, right guard Brandon Scherff, and tight end Evan Engram, the Jaguars' needs have completely changed entering the 2022 NFL Draft.
"We just targeted differently. What we were looking for at each level of the defense, for instance, and what we felt was available and who could help us. On offense, getting skill position players to come in and make us a more dynamic offense. There was just a little more detail to the play because we knew the team a little bit better," Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said on Wednesday.
"We knew what we were dealing with. We’d already gone through a draft. We had a draft class behind us. Again, there’s a lot of factors that go into the plan but the coaches, the personnel people, coming together I think we did an outstanding job of coming together knowing exactly what the coaches were looking for, what they needed within the system, the scheme, on both sides of the ball. We’ve still got things to address. But we’re in a good situation with the first pick in every round and 12 picks coming up in April here.”
So, what could a potential draft haul look like for the Jaguars following Baalke's big spending spree? We try to break it down below in our post-free agency mock draft, using PFF's mock draft simulator.
The Jaguars spent big money on really every position group on the team outside of quarterback, running back and edge rusher. It is clear the Jaguars wouldn't take either of the first two at No. 1, so the only logical answer is edge rusher. Perhaps the Jaguars go for an offensive lineman here such as Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu, but Baalke has already stated his confidence in right tackle Jawaan Taylor and said he wants to sign left tackle Cam Robinson to a long-term deal. The Jaguars also still have 2021 No. 45 pick Walker Little on the roster and are encouraged after his three solid starts in 2021. This would suggest that any lineman the Jaguars select would fill in at left guard which, well, would be an unprecedented selection at No. 1 overall.
As such, Hutchinson is the pick that makes the most sense here. Baalke places a premium on pass-rushers and the Jaguars simply don't have enough of them as it stands today, especially after a free agency period where they didn't add any. Hutchinson had a monstrous senior season that saw him finish second in Heisman Trophy voting as he was named a consensus All-American. During the 2021 campaign, Hutchinson recorded 14 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and three pass deflections.
The Jaguars spent big money at wide receiver this free agency period with Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, but they still have a massive need at wide receiver. They need a young receiver who can grow and develop with Trevor Lawrence while also providing a downfield deep threat on the outside. While the Jaguars hope they get that in Jones, Pickens is the better bet and has significantly more upside. Pickens has the type of skill set Lawrence thrives with, and he would give them a much-upgraded wide receiver room both in the short- and long-term.
As a sophomore, Pickens tied the team in receiving scores with six while also recording 36 catches for 513 yards (14.3 yards per catch). Pickens was expected to have another massive role in 2021 before an ACL injury in March sidelined him for much of the season, though he did return to play in four games and catch five passes for 107 yards (21.4 yards per catch).
One of the combine's most impressive guards thanks to his well-above-average athletic testing numbers, Dylan Parham is a four-year starter with experience at both guard spots and could slot into a starting left guard role in the Jaguars' offense right away. The only truly unsettled spot on the Jaguars' offensive line is left guard, and Parham has the tape and testing to suggest he could be an immediate starter as opposed to being a young weak link.Scroll to Continue
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From our assessment of Parham at the combine: "He has the quick and efficient footwork to continue to develop as a high-upside lineman, posting good speed and agility times while also having one of the best broad jumps of any guard in the class. He didn't post any otherworldly numbers, but his performance matches the tape; tape that says he is best on the move and in space."
An undersized weak side linebacker prospect who is at his best in space, Brian Asamoah would make a lot of sense next to Foyesade Oluokun following the release of Myles Jack. He is a completely different linebacker than Shaquille Quarterman and Dylan Moses thanks to his range and coverage upside, but there is something to his lack of anchor and overall physicality against the run. Still, he fits Mike Caldwell's expected defensive scheme and adds upside at a spot the Jaguars badly need it.
The Jaguars were busy at cornerback in free agency, signing former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams to a three-year deal and re-signing long-time backup cornerback Tre Herndon. Still, the Jaguars have room to continue to add to the cornerback room after the injuries they faced last year, a year that saw Chris Claybrooks, Rudy Ford and Nevin Lawson have to play significant snaps. McCollum is an athletic marvel who had one of the most impressive combine performances in recent history and would give the Jaguars some much-needed upside to develop for the long-term future.
TRADE: Jaguars send Giants No. 157 and No. 197 overall for No. 147
With Brandon Linder's tenure in Jacksonville looking like it has reached its end, the Jaguars need to add another center. They don't need to add a starter due to the return of veteran backup Tyler Shatley -- who has plenty of starting experience -- but the need for a long-term answer is still big enough to warrant a trade-up. Cam Jurgens had one of the best combine performances of any offensive lineman and fits what Doug Pederson has had at center in past years, making him an obvious fit behind Shatley for 2022 and a potential starter beyond that.
The Jaguars want to add a running back after injuries to James Robinson and Travis Etienne, but they so far have been unable to do so in free agency. It makes more sense for the Jaguars to look at Day 3 options as opposed to Day 2 considering the resources and talent the Jaguars already have at running back. Zonovan Knight doesn't have a ton of upside, but he has a high floor as a pass-catcher and has NFL size.
One of the combine's most athletic safeties, JT Woods could give the Jaguars a much-needed boost on special teams to go along with the rest of their safety room. The Jaguars did tender safety Andrew Wingard, a 2021 starter and core special teamer, but the Jaguars need to continue to add athletes at safety to raise the ceiling of the room, especially with the importance of the position in Mike Caldwell's expected scheme.
Another athletic linebacker who can provide immediate depth on special teams and defense, Jeremiah Moon isn't a player the Jaguars could expect to step in and make an impact on defensive but he would give them a plus-athlete who can fill some key needs closer to the bottom of the roster. With the addition of Moon, the Jaguars will have added three athletic linebackers after a season where their linebackers looked too slow in all phases.
The Jaguars would be smart to add some competition for Matthew Wright, and spending a seventh-round pick means the Jaguars wouldn't have to ensure a roster spot to either player. Jordan Stout made a 57-yard field goal last season, going 16-of-23 on field goals and displaying a big leg on kickoffs -- something the Jaguars didn't have last season.
A 6-foot-3 receiver with clear physical traits, Malachi Carter would be a lot like the Jalen Camp pick last season. He wouldn't be a lock to make the roster, but he would add size to the receiver room and have a chance to make a name for himself in training camp and the preseason.