A new era of football has been ushered in with the hiring of Urban Meyer in Jacksonville. A new quarterback, new head coach, and a total retooling of the Jaguars roster will resemble a fresh start come Week 1.
With 11 total selections and the most cap space of any team, Jacksonville enters arguably the franchise’s most important offseason in its 27-year history. With just three playoff appearances since the turn of the millennium, Meyer, and soon to be No. 1 overall selection Trevor Lawrence, will be tasked with returning the Jaguars to relevance on the heels of three consecutive finishes in the cellar of the AFC South.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it. Using our Mock Draft Machine, I looked at which prospects Jacksonville could target this April when the annual draft rolls around. Here is my seven-round mock including scheme fit on each prospect:
Round 1 (No. 1 overall): Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
I’m going to keep it simple here. You’ve seen the tape, you’ve seen the mocks, Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke will not get tricky. Lawrence is the future of the franchise who has the potential to become one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL from the onset of his career. His name is already engraved on the draft ticket.
Round 1 (No. 25 overall): Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
Following the trade rumors surrounding Andrew Norwell, who better to add to an underwhelming front five than potentially the top interior lineman in the class. With Lawrence’s selection at No. 1 overall, Jacksonville using its second first-round pick—courtesy of the Rams (Jalen Ramsey trade)—on a stud lineman to protect its most valuable asset would be wise.
Vera-Tucker is an absolute road-grader with the ability to run both through you and around you with a nasty motor stemming from exceptional athleticism. With Cam Robinson now tagged and Jawaan Taylor expected to take a jump in his third campaign, Vera-Tucker’s addition to shore up the heart of the Jaguars line would allow the team to address larger needs elsewhere—on both sides of the football.
Round 2 (No. 33 overall): Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
You add the quarterback of your offense in the first, why not add the apex of your defense in the second? Moehrig is an immediate game-changer with the ability to change the outcome of games due to his playmaking and elite cover skills as a true centerfield athlete within an NFL defense. The duo of Josh Jones—who’s set to enter free agency—and Jarrod Wilson represent one of the weakest safety tandems in the NFL. Whether Meyer opts to line Moehrig up at free or strong safety, he’s excellent in single-high coverage patrolling centerfield with an acute eye for offensive schemes and opposing route combinations. His eyes, at times, find him in trouble as he tends to peek into the backfield, but his athleticism and open-field burst rarely have him out of position.
Round 2 (No. 45 overall): Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Both Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky) and Aaron Robinson (UCF) were available here, but Jacksonville needs immediate production on the outside. Samuel is a tad undersized at 5-foot-11, but what he lacks in vertical prowess he makes up for in elite cover skills whether it’s on the outside or in the slot. I envision him starting day one on the perimeter opposite C.J. Henderson, who flashed in his rookie year as the Jaguars’ CB1.
Round 3 (No. 65 overall): Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami (FL)
Arguably the TE1 of the class if you agree that Kyle Pitts is best viewed as a wide receiver, Jordan projects as an excellent plug-and-play weapon within Jacksonville’s offense. With Tyler Eifert expected to explore the free agent market, the dynamic threat that is Jordan would provide constant mismatches for Lawrence to exploit. At 6-foot-3, Jordan offers ideal size for the position that has become an ever-important chess piece within the best offensive units in the league. Jordan has room to improve as a blocker, but his willingness to do so brings him up my board. He would be an excellent addition for Lawrence early in the third.
Round 4 (No. 106 overall): Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
In a deep wideout class, Wallace has been severely overlooked. His tape only offers so much, as he worked just one side of the field during his time in Stillwater, but he has all the tools to produce from Week 1.
When projecting him as a true X receiver working each level of the defense on both intermediate and vertical concepts, Wallace’s skill set could allow him to develop into a team’s WR1. Baalke should be ecstatic here if Wallace slips to the fourth.
Round 4 (No. 140 overall): Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma
Much of the Jaguars’ lack of success hinged upon the secondary’s inability to do its only job: cover. Adding talent within Jacksonville’s backend, whether it be through the draft or free agency, Baalke has the necessary assets to do so, and must address the position with focus this spring.
Norwood is a true ball-hawking corner with excellent footwork and technique who shined in Mobile at this year’s Senior Bowl. He fits best as a nickel corner, but could develop into an outside press-man defender with increased development as a prospect.
Round 5 (No. 146 overall): Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
The Jaguars have expended first-round selections each of the past two years in an attempt to bolster its outside rushers in Josh Allen (2019) and K’Lavon Chiasson (2020). However, the two combined for just 3.5 sacks last fall, with much left to be desired in what Jacksonville believes to be the core of their roster.
With the addition of Weaver, who offers scheme versatility that could allow him to slide into the interior, Baalke would get a lengthy edge rusher with developmental tools to become a key contributor in the NFL. By no means would he take first-team reps from the aforementioned duo, but iron sharpens iron, and Weaver has the ability to both start and work rotationally if need be.
Round 5 (No. 171 overall): Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
James Robinson represented one of the more feel-good stories in the entire league last year, and it’s his job to lose entering 2021. Behind him, however, both talent and depth run dry, with Chris Thompson again failing to prove he can stay healthy. Dare Ogunbowale earned two starts at the end of the year, but both he and Thompson are free agents.
During his time at Virginia Tech, Herbert developed into one of the ACC’s top backs. With the skill set of a bell-cow back, Herbert and Robinson could develop into a youth-infused dynamic duo for Meyer’s backfield who will be looked upon to take pressure off of their young gun-slinger.
Round 7 (No. 223 overall): Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
A multi-versatile prospect that best projects out of the slot, Darden is a threat to go the distance each time he touches the rock. With Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, and Dede Westbrook all slated to enter the open market, adding fresh legs on the outside could be vital to Lawrence’s overall success in his rookie season. Darden would also offer value on special teams, where he thrived as a game-changer at North Texas.
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): Ben Petrula, OT, Boston College
This late in the draft, it’s a best-player-available approach from Baalke and Meyer. Petrula is a nasty blocker with a finisher's mentality touting the ability to work both at tackle and inside at all three interior positions. He consistently showed the ability to take correct angles in space, often washing out defenders to clear space in the run game. His biggest progression will come as a pass blocker, where he lacks lateral agility, but his versatility is hard to find this late in the selection process.