Jacksonville Jaguars Off-season Recap and Outlook
Trevor Lawrence

   With the coveted Trevor Lawrence waiting in the 2021 NFL draft as the presumed number 1 overall pick, the Jags lost their way to a 1-15 season and secured that number 1 overall pick. After starting the season 1-10, Dave Caldwell was fired and Trent Baalke given the interim GM title. The Jaguars were the 30th ranked team offense. They had the 28th ranked rush offense, 31st ranked scoring offense, but the 21st ranked passing attack. Although there rushing attack ranked 28th they had the NFL’s 5th best rusher in James Robinson, who racked up 1070 yards and 7 touchdowns on the season. Defensively the Jags ranked 31st giving up an average of 417.7 yards/game and an average 30.8 points per game. This defense had the 30th ranked rush defense giving up 153.3 yards/game and 27th ranked passing defense giving up 264.4 yards/game and a completion % of 69.4. The Jags also ranked 27th in punt and kick returns.The Staff:With Trent Baalke shedding the interim tag, his first major move as GM was to go out and hire the long time and extremely successful college coach Urban Meyer. Meyer led 2 different teams, in the Florida Gators and the Ohio State Buckeyes, to a total of 3 national titles. Urban has had many questions raised on his integrity as a coach and as a person but no one has ever questioned his ability to coach! He is a brilliant offensive-minded coach. He is now making his way to the NFL level to see if his success can carry over on the professional level. With the infusion of the young talent over the last two years, I think this is Meyers best chance to be successful on the NFL level! To help Meyer with this feet he brought in his long time friend and assistant coach Charlie Strong as his assistant head coach. He also brought in Joe Cullen, the former Ravens defensive line coach, and Darrel Bevell as the offensive coordinator. Bevell is well known for coaching Russel Wilson and helping him start his career as well as helping Matt Stafford have one of the most efficient and best seasons of his career. He will be a very good offensive coordinator for a young and upcoming Trevor Lawrence. 

Free Agency

CAP Space: $39.5 million (most in the NFL) 

Key Free Agent Losses:Keelan Cole (WR), Al Woods (DE), Chris Conley (WR), Mike Glennon (QB), DJ Haden

Key Free Agent Additions:Shaquill Griffin (CB), Rayshawn Jenkins (S), Roy Robertson-Harris (DT), Marvin Jones (WR), Jamal Agnew (WR), Jihad Ward (DE), Chris Manhertz (TE)

   It has been clear to see that the Jags are looking for improvements across their roster.  They let Cole and Conley walk who combined had a total of 1,113 yards but signed Marvin Jones from Detroit who had 978 yards last season and 9 touchdowns on 76 receptions.  They also upgraded their punt and kick returns by adding Jamal Agnew.  They also saw an upgrade at CB adding Shaquill Griffin to the fold and letting DJ Haden walk.  They also looked to improve their defensive line by adding Robertson-Harris and Jihad Ward.  These two will be great additions to Costin, Gotsis, Hamilton, and Smoot.  On the TE side they added Manhertz who is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and they resigned O’Shaughnessy who had 262 yards and 0 touchdowns.  They will need to look to add some production at the TE position.  They may look to add an experienced back-up QB to mentor Trevor Lawrence as currently their number 2 QB is Garnder Minshew after letting Mike Glennon go.  Their main positions of need prior to the draft are QB, RB, TE, OLB and OT. 

Draft – 9 picks (5 of them in the top 65)

Round 1 Pick 1: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)   

This was a no brainer and something everyone knew was coming as soon as the Jaguars locked in the #1 overall pick.  They have been looking for their franchise QB and they have found him here.  Lawrence is widely considered to be the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck.  All Lawrence has ever done is win!  He has only lost 4 games as a starting QB since he started in high school.  I believe one of the biggest challenges he will face is learning how to overcome losing.  Jaguars are returning all 5 starters on the offensive line, a 1,000 yard rusher, and added Marvin Jones to help him begin his career.  They also brought in Darrell Bevell at the recommendation of Russel Wilson.  I believe Bevell will be great for Lawrence’s development and success in this league.

Round 1 Pick 25: Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)   

One of the top needs Meyer had on the offensive side of the ball was bringing in another RB to help take some of the load off from Robinson.  Baalke came right back to the Clemson well here and picked up Lawrence’s teammate in Etienne.  Meyer wanted to add speed and recieving skills in the backfield to compliment Robinson and they got that here.  Meyer is known for utilizing this type of skill set and talent at the college level and Etienne fits this mold.  In his senior season at Clemson he had 914 yards rushing, 14 TDs and 588 receiving yards on 48 catches.  He is a great player maker at the RB position.  The one concern here is the beating that he took over his college career.  In his 4 years at Clemson he had 821 touches.  In a NFL where RBs don’t typically play at a high level for more than a few years, they may have been able to find a good RB at a later time.  With that said, I think this will be a good pick for them especially giving Lawrence a familiar face to throw and hand the ball of to. 

Round 2 Pick 33: Tyson Campbell (CB, Georgia)   

The Jags added Shaquill Griffin in free agency and they drafted CJ Henderson 9th overall last season.  Henderson struggled a bit last season, which is expected with rookie corners as it is a huge adjustment going from CFB to NFL.  Campbell was the 6th ranked defensive back and had an overall rank of 41.  So for the Jags to take him at 33 wasn’t a huge stretch as he was the top rated corner left on the board at the time.  I do think this was a little bit of a stretch to take a corner here as it was not one of their tops needs.  Campbell does have some strengths that the Jags liked though.  He is 6‘1“ and plays a physical style.  He is a very strong tackler and does a great job blowing up blocks and setting the edge.  He also has good vision and awareness.  The major issue with Campell is he seems to lack top end speed and seems to struggle with the intermediate routes.  He also doesn’t have that killer instinct when the ball is in the air with only 1 interception in 33 games.  Overall I think the Jags could have found better value here with some of their other holes but I don’t think this pick will end up being the make-or-break on this draft class.  He will come in and compete for the starting corner opposite Griffin and the nickel corner.

Round 2 Pick 45: Walker Little (OT, Stanford)   

Offensive line was one of the stronger parts of the Jags last season.  However on the offensive line their biggest weakness was in the tackle position.  They also used the franchise tag on Cam Robinson in the off-season.  The OT position combined to allow 27 of the 44 sacks that the Jags allowed.  Little was the 7th ranked offensive tackle and the 62 overall ranked player.  Little was a left tackle for Stanford.  He suffered a knee injury that ended his season in 2019 and then opted out of the 2020 season.  Little is a massive, athletic beast of a man.  He is 6‘7“ 313lbs with great lateral movement and footwork.  He does struggle against smaller defensive lineman who can get into his chest, but this is something that he can work to improve at the NFL level.  He did have some questions to answer in the pre-draft workouts due to the amount of time it has been since he last played but his talent is too much to pass on.  I do think they may have missed out on Teven Jenkins from OKST here but this is still a good pick for the Jags here and potentially fills a whole at Tackle.  He may not come in day 1 as a starter but He will move his way in no later than 2022.

Round 3 Pick 65: Andre Cisco (S, Syracuse)   

Cisco was the 2nd rated safety and 50th overall player in this draft.  The Jags did sign Rayshawn Jenkins to play strong safety for them in the off-season but Cisco will compete for the free safety position with Jarrod Wilson.  The Jags needed play-makers at safety.  From 2018-2020 their safeties combined for 10 interceptions.  Cisco is a play-maker!  In the 2018-19 season he led the entire FBS with 12 interceptions.  He plays with very good instincts and great ball skills.  He is a solid tackler and has good overall athletic ability.  He is average size checking in at 6 foot 200 lbs so he can get pushed around.  Overall I think this was a good pick.  The Jags got good value here and filled a position of need.  He will compete for the starting spot from day one.

Round 4 Pick 106: Jay Tufele (DT, USC)   

The Jags have made adding talent to the defensive line a priority this off-season.  This was not one of their top needs but they did need to add some depth and competition here.  Tufele is another one who opted out of the 2020 season.  In his previous season he was a All-Pac-12 first team selection as a sophomore.  He has the size and versatility to play inside and outside on the line at 6-3 315 lbs.  He has a nose for the ball and is a good tackler.  He has good foot speed, low leverage, and pretty good hands.  He is a high motor type guy.  The biggest downfall for him is he isn’t the greatest pash rusher and he lacks athleticism.  He has a high floor but a low ceiling.  Tufele was the 90th ranked prospect in the draft, so the Jags again got value here.  He will be a good addition for beefing up the Jags run defense that was in desperate need of improvement.

Round 4 Pick 121: Jordan Smith (OLB, UAB)   

The Jags needed to improve their LB core.  They do have Myles Jack but he had a horrible season last year.  Some of this can be contributed to the struggles they had on the defensive line as well.  Smith was the 8th ranked OLB and had an overall rank of 161.  The Jags again got some very good value here.  Smith is a physical mismatch coming in at 6‘7“ 264 pounds.  He is further evidence that the Jags will be looking to play a 4-3 defense mostly.  He has a great first step and good hands.  His length will give him an advantage on the pass rush.  He is weak against the run and can get knocked off the ball at times.  I expect him to be a developmental pass rusher who will be a depth guy this season on obvious passing situations.  There are some concerns with Smith’s off field issues, but this has never been a concern for Meyer!

Round 5 Pick 145: Luke Farrell (TE, Ohio State)   

The Jags needed to add some talent and depth at TE in this draft.  They do not have much for production from the current TEs on their roster.  O’Shaughnessy is their only receiving TE worth anything.  They did add Manhertz in the off-season but he is known as one of the best blocking TEs in the league, he is not known for his receiving abilities.  Farrell is a big strong TE who has lots of experience in the run and pass game.  He was not used a lot as a receiver in the passing game but when he was he was effective.  For his 4 year career at OSU he had 380 yards on 34 receptions and 4 touchdowns.  He is pretty athletic so he could prove to be a decent receiving threat as well as a good blocker.  He played for Urban Meyer for 2 years so there is familiarity here.  He will be used mainly as a run game blocker especially in 2 TE sets and on special teams.  Overall this is not a bad pick in the 5th round.  Again, they got some pretty good value here being the 313 ranked prospect.

Round 6 Pick 209: Jalen Camp (WR, Georgia Tech)   

Meyer is known for his “speed in space“ style play.  One of the priorities he had for this draft was to add some speed to the Jags team.  They get that with Camp.  He ran a 4.43 40 at Georgia Tech’s pro day.  This dude is a BEAST. He did 225-pounds on the bench 30 times which would have been a Combine record if he was there.  Last season he had 29 catches for 439 yards and 4 touchdowns for a Georgia Tech team that is known for running the triple option.  He is 6‘2“ 220 lbs. Look for him to be used on special teams as well as potentially a redzone threat for Trevor Lawrence with his size and good hands. 

Draft Summary

Overall, I think the Jags had a pretty good draft.  They addressed several holes they had and improved their depth.  The only real issue I had with their draft was I think they could have looked at taking an OT, S, or a CB with that second 1st round pick. With that said I still think it was a good pick due to his skill and familiarity with Lawrence. Lawrence was a no-brainer and a home run for the Jags here. 

Draft Grade: A-

Biggest Remaining Need

The most glaring need that the Jags still have follow the draft and what they have already done in free agency is a receiving TE.  The production they currently have on the roster is not good enough especially with a rookie QB.  They did address the need of a TE in the draft but Farrell is a unproven pass catcher.  There are 2 potential TEs I could see filling this need.  The first one is Robert Tonyan.  He is an RFA and GB just put a second-round tender on him giving them the ability to match any offer made.  He would be a good fit but this is extremely unlikely GB will let him go.  This may change if GB trades Rodgers though.  The only other good option here now is Trey Burton out of IND.  He is no Kelce but he had 28 receptions last season for 250 yards and 3 TDs.  He also had a 54 catch season in CHI in 2018 with 569 yards and 6 TDs.  He could be there best option to improve that production at the TE spot.  I do not see them spending big on another TE after spending potentially $7.25 million on a 2 year contract.