2020 NFL Draft: Pre-Combine 7-Round Jaguars Mock Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft is still 63 long days away, with free agency, pro days, war room discussions, and much more still set to take place before players walk across the stage in Las Vegas.
And, of course, the largest and most consequential pre-draft event is still set to unfold next week in Indianapolis as the NFL Scouting Combine takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium.
But even with the draft still a good bit down the road, there is still plenty of time to continue to make projections on how the draft could shake out for the Jacksonville Jaguars. This year's draft has the potential to be the most interesting of general manager Dave Caldwell's tenure considering the ammunition the Jaguars have in terms of picks, making the projections for the team's draft haul even more unpredictable than usual.
Jacksonville currently owns the No. 9 and No. 20 picks on the first night of the draft due to a trade that sent cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams. After that, the Jaguars hold one pick in each round, as well as an additional pick in round six that Seattle sent to the Jaguars in a trade during the 2019 NFL Draft.
For the purposes of this seven-round mock draft, we used The Draft Network's mock draft machine tool, which means we had a select pool of players to pick from for each pick instead of going with our gut on where a player may go.
So, here is our pre-NFL combine mock draft, in which we go through potential Jaguars' picks for their nine selections.
Round 1, Pick 9: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
In this scenario, there were a number of players off the board that would make sense for the Jaguars at ninth overall, such as cornerback Jeff Okudah, linebacker Isaiah Simmons, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown. South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw was still on the board, but we went with a different option to see how the scenario could potentially play out come April, opting instead to draft Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs.
Wirfs spent most of his time at right tackle for the Hawkeyes, but started a handful of games at left tackle, including several in 2019. For the Jaguars' purposes, he could slide over to the left side on a full-time basis and give the Jaguars a set of young, long, and athletic offensive tackles for the future between himself and Jawaan Taylor. The move would allow Cam Robinson to give a shot at guard, perhaps giving him a more positive long-term outlook and giving Jacksonville a boost in terms of run blocking along the interior. Jacksonville has a lot of investments made into its offensive line, but it simply hasn't gotten the job done. Wirfs could go a long way toward fixing that.
Round 1, Pick 20: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
We wrote a few weeks ago that safety should be a position the Jaguars should shy away from in the first round, but sometimes the way a draft plays out forces a team's hand. That is what happens in this scenario, as there is no great value at cornerback or interior defensive line. Instead, the Jaguars take a talented safety here, slotting Xavier McKinney next to another former Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison in the starting lineup.
Recording five interceptions, six forced fumbles, 11.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two defensive touchdowns in the last two seasons, McKinney has established himself as a versatile playmaking safety who can perform a variety of roles for any defense. For the Jaguars, he takes over for Jarrod Wilson at free safety, and offers the Jaguars more youth, speed, and overall explosiveness in a secondary that didn't make a ton of plays last season.
Round 2, Pick 42: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
The Jaguars have to wait a few picks to invest in the interior defensive line here, but they finally get their interior disrupter in Justin Madubuike. A productive 6-foot-3, 304-pound defensive tackle in the SEC the last few seasons (11 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles in last two seasons), Madubuike would give the Jaguars more youth and athleticism along the defensive front.
He is a bit undersized to play nose tackle, but the Jaguars need all the help it can get at defensive tackle after last season's results, no matter what form the help comes in. Taven Bryan has yet to establish himself as a consistent performer, while there is little depth behind him at three-technique.
Round 3, Pick 74: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
If Adam Trautman is still on the board when the Jaguars pick in the third round, they would presumably sprint to the podium and not give the pick a second thought. The small-school prospect has the look of a complete tight end — big enough to block without being at a disadvantage, while athletic enough to be a mismatch as a pass-catcher.
Jacksonville took a tight end in the third round last season with Josh Oliver, but they still need help at the position. James O'Shaughnessy was the Jaguars' only productive tight end in 2019, but an ACL injury in Week 5 ended his season and means he will have to come back from the injury to produce in 2020. Jacksonville is barren at the position, and they need to inject more talent into the group for offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who has had an affinity for using tight ends in his schemes over the years.
Round 4, Pick 116: A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars will almost assuredly invest in the cornerback position during draft due to past, and potential future, turnover at the position. The Ramsey trade left a big void in the secondary, and A.J. Bouye could find himself on the outs due to his large 2020 cap number and the Jaguars' poor cap situation.
In this scenario, the Jaguars opt to wait until round four to find another body to add to the cornerback room, but in doing so they land one who fits their physical profile for long and tall outside corners in A.J. Green. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound press corner has six touchdowns and 21 pass deflections over the last three seasons and is a good fit for the Jaguars' defensive scheme.
Round 5, Pick 166: WR Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
If the Jaguars are going to draft a wide receiver in this year's deep class, it would be advantageous for the offense for that player to be a bigger-bodied wideout who can win contested catches and become a red-zone weapon for whoever the Jaguars start at quarterback.
Chase Claypool, a 6-foot-4, 229-pound wideout who posted big numbers in 2019 (1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns), would certainly fit that billing. One of the better performers at the Reese's Senior Bowl in January, Claypool has the look of a physical specimen who has enough explosiveness to beat defenders with more than his size.
Round 6, Pick 189: Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State
Jacksonville needs to improve its linebacker depth any way it can after injuries and up[-and-down play hampered the unit in 2019. In this scenario, versatile linebacker Willie Gay Jr. is added to develop behind Myles Jack at inside linebacker.
Gay (6-foot-2, 240-pounds) played in only a few games in his junior season due to missing contests due to suspensions, but he has the athletic profile and experience playing in a variety of roles that should entice the Jaguars. Jacksonville could pursue a veteran linebacker in free agency to start while developing Gay and 2019 draftee Quincy Williams
Round 6, Pick 207: Michael Divinity Jr., DE, LSU
Even if Jacksonville resigns Yannick Ngakoue, the Jaguars will likely still need to replenish its defensive end depth as No. 3 defensive end Lerentee McCray is a projected free agent. Michael Divinity Jr. is a twitchy and undersized edge player who will need some time to grow into an NFL role, but he would give the Jaguars an injection of youth and athleticism in its No. 3 end spot, as well as give the Jaguars another young defender to develop for the future.
Round 7, Pick 224: Darius Anderson, RB, TCU
If the Jaguars are going to draft a running back, it needs to be a speedy pass-catching back who is cut from a different clothe than Leonard Fournette and Ryquell Armstead. They get that in TCU's Darrius Anderson, who demonstrated time and time again at the Senior Bowl that his quickness and hands can make him a valuable piece of an offense. Gruden has used this style of back before in Chris Thompson, and he could view Anderson as his chance to replicate Thompson's role in Jacksonville.