For the second year in a row, the Jaguars will be on the clock to start the NFL draft. But Jacksonville needs a lot more than just one pick to get back on track, even after a spending spree in free agency. Rebuilding yet again, this time with ex-Eagles coach Doug Pederson atop the staff, they could afford to hit on multiple impact players in the 2022 rookie class.
But how, exactly, should they go about prioritizing prospects and positions in the draft? Here's how we'd craft our perfect draft-weekend strategy for the Jaguars:
No. 1 overall: Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson
There's really no need to get cute here. Maybe Georgia's Travon Walker offers higher-upside tools, and we're not saying he wouldn't be a reasonable bet at No. 1. But the Jaguars could use something of a sure thing as they embark on another rebuild, and while the draft is a notoriously unpredictable endeavor, Hutchinson has shown he can be a top-flight edge presence. Protecting Trevor Lawrence is paramount, but with Cam Robinson back at left tackle and Brandon Scherff added to the interior, they can afford to address a premium position -- one of the few spots that didn't get a notable investment in free agency. Consider Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux a smart alternative, offering a blend of Hutchinson's production and Walker's physical upside.
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Rounds 2-3: Prioritize WR, OL, DB
The Jaguars own three Day Two picks: No. 33 (second round), No. 65 (third) and No. 70 (third). If they can leave Friday with new players at receiver, corner and up front, that'd be ideal. Christian Kirk and Zay Jones may be solid, if pricey, gambles out wide, giving Lawrence more than just Marvin Jones and Laquon Treadwell to target. But if they have a chance to add another starting-caliber option in the passing game (Skyy Moore? Christian Watson? George Pickens?), they'd be wise to make it happen. Similarly, the O-line could still use depth/competition, whether it's a potential Robinson successor at tackle (e.g. Tyler Smith, Bernhard Raimann) or immediate help on the inside (e.g. Tyler Linderbaum, Zion Johnson). And corner, despite recent investments in vets Shaquill Griffin and Darious Williams, still lacks a pair of proven long-term starters.
Rounds 4-7: Add depth at TE, DB
The preface here is that nothing matters more than helping Lawrence grow into the franchise QB they drafted him to be. Adding more than Giants castoff Evan Engram, who is a solid but risky flyer, at tight end is part of the equation. Pederson utilized his TEs a lot during his heyday with the Eagles, so it wouldn't hurt if Jacksonville uses at least one of its eight Day Three picks on the position. Otherwise, it's all about finding good value, particularly in the secondary, where corner and safety both need more projects, but also on offense, like at running back, where both James Robinson and Travis Etienne are coming off injuries.