The 2021 NFL Draft is roughly three months away, meaning teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars have ample time to determine how they will use their draft ammunition.
Jacksonville is even more prepared to make an impact in the 2021 draft than most other teams. The Jaguars have 11 draft picks, including two in each of the first two rounds and five within the draft's first 65 picks.
Now that the Jaguars have a new head coach in Urban Meyer and the January 18 declaration date has passed, we have created the first of what will be several seven-round Jaguars mock drafts.
What are the Jaguars biggest needs? How will Meyer impact the draft process? We try to answer those questions below with Mock 1.0.
Round 1, No. 1: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
This one is as obvious as it gets. Until there is anything that actually suggests otherwise, we are going to lock Trevor Lawrence into the draft's top slot to the Jaguars all the way up to the actual draft. For one, Shad Khan is a businessman. He clearly knows that Lawrence would instantly give the Jaguars a national star to market and brand around. And oh by the way, he is also the best quarterback prospect in the class by a comfortable margin. So what decision is there to make here? Lawrence is the right pick for all the right reasons. Urban Meyer wouldn't be in Jacksonville if Lawrence wasn't set to be a Jaguar, so be confident in the Jaguars getting their franchise quarterback in the form of the Clemson gunslinger.
Lawrence is 34-2 as a starter, having only lost in the College Football Playoffs (as a sophomore, to LSU in the Championship and as a junior to Ohio State in the semifinals). As a freshman, Lawrence defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship. In his career, Lawrence completed 66% of his passes for 10,098 yards (8.9 yards per attempt, 9.8 adjusted yards per attempt) for 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns. Meyer knows how special he is and that is why he will be the pick.
Round 1, No. 25 (via Los Angeles Rams): Alabama DT Christian Barmore
If there is any non-Lawrence prospect that we will be banging the drum for the Jaguars to target in terms of logic, it is Alabama's Christian Barmore. He is still young with not a lot of on-field experience for the Crimson Tide (declared as a redshirt sophomore, started only in 2020), so he is essentially moldable clay for whichever NFL staff he lands with. Whatever team gets him will b getting a high-ceiling interior disruptor who played his best games against Alabama's toughest competition in 2020. In the SEC Championship, College Football Playoff Semifinal, and the National Championship, Barmore collected 15 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, and took home the Defensive MVP award from the title win over Ohio State.
Jacksonville badly needs a difference-maker in the middle of their defense. Taven Bryan was a bust of epic proportions, leaving a need at defensive tackle. DaVon Hamilton flashed a ton as a nose tackle and Doug Costin is a solid run defender, but the Jaguars need to look past "solid" and start finding "great" when it comes to the interior of the defensive line.
Round 2, No. 33: Purdue WR Rondale Moore
Urban Meyer wants his team to be fast. What better way to do that than to add Rondale Moore to the mix? Wide receiver isn't a huge need for the Jaguars considering DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Collin Johnson are a trio of solid players, but the Jaguars could always use more ammo on offense to set Trevor Lawrence up for success. With starting slot receiver Keelan Cole set to be a free agent in March, Moore could instantly step into his role on the depth chart and present a different type of wide receiver to the team. Unlike
Moore's size (listed as 5-foot-9 by Purdue) will likely keep him out of the first round, but the Jaguars don't have any truly shifty and electric open field runners like Moore. He would be the perfect toy for Meyer to scheme for. Plus ... Meyer likely remembers well what Moore did to his Buckeyes in 2018. In a 49-20 upset victory over Ohio State, Moore had 12 receptions for 170 yards (both season-highs) and two touchdowns.
Round 2, No. 45 (via Minnesota Vikings): Georgia CB Tyson Campbell
A 6-foot-2 cornerback with movement skills is exactly what the Jaguars need in the secondary entering 2021. Expect for the team to add a veteran cornerback at some point, but Georgia's Tyson Campbell is too talented and athletic to pass up at this value. Putting him across the field from CJ Henderson would give the Jaguars two young and athletic cornerbacks to build their secondary around. Jacksonville is walking into 2021 with a limited cornerback depth chart, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Jaguars target a cornerback even earlier than this pick, but Campbell provides good value here.
The question would then be how do the Jaguars align their cornerbacks. Campbell has the length and size to thrive on the outside, so it would be simply to let him and Henderson man those positions while the Jaguars look for another slot cornerback, or even let Tre Herndon have another crack at the slot.
Round 3, No. 65: Miami TE Brevin Jordan
Jacksonville currently needs a young tight end to add some athleticism and pass-catching ability to the position following Josh Oliver's season being lost due to injury. As of today, no position on Jacksonville's roster outside of quarterback is as limited in terms of talent as the tight end position. Considering how much of an emphasis Meyer has placed on tight ends throughout his coaching career, it wouldn't be surprising to see him push for the Jaguars to add a dynamic player at that spot sooner than later.
Tyler Eifert isn't an answer and it is unlikely that James O'Shaughnessy is either, leading to a big need for a tight end to serve as the rookie quarterback's safety blanket. Brevin Jordan has terrific athleticism and yards after catch ability and would function as a truly explosive weapon at all levels of the field. His skill set would pair well with Trevor Lawrence, too, who is adept at attacking the seams and finding tight winds in the red zone.
Round 4, No. 97: FSU FS Hamsah Nasirildeen
Considering the giant holes the Jaguars have elsewhere on the roster, it may be a tough sell to say that safety is a priority. Jarrod Wilson is a solid, albeit unspectacular, starter while Daniel Thomas was extremely promising in limited snaps. With that said, the Jaguars could look at add more playmaking ability to the position group via the draft. Thomas has the talent to be that kind of safety, but there are questions after him. As a result, a player like Hamsah Nasirildeen makes a lot of sense for the Jaguars.
While Florida State was a mess for the entirety of Nasirildeen's time there, the athletic and rangy defensive back was one of their brightest stars. An ACL in 2019 may create some injury questions, but he has a track record of turnovers and consistent tackling ability that should appeal to teams like the Jaguars.
Round 4, No. 121 (via Los Angeles Rams): Ohio State RB Trey Sermon
We can't do a mock without at least one former Buckeye joining the team, right? Meyer didn't land Trey Sermon out of high school since he committed to Oklahoma, but Meyer is still extremely close to the Buckeyes program and knows just how much Sermon impacted their offense. Meyer also coached against Sermon in 2017 when he was with the Sooners, a game in which the Buckeyes lost to Oklahoma, so Meyer has seen him up close quite a few times and has even talked about the respect he has for him, listing him as college football's No. 5 running back before the season.
The Jaguars simply need a quality depth option for James Robinson. Robinson is an excellent running back and should be the unquestioned starter after his record-breaking rookie season, but even the best running backs get some help. If the Jaguars are to keep Robinson both healthy and effective, they need to invest in a RB2.
Round 5, No. 129: Notre Dame OL Robert Hainsey
A two-time team captain and an All-ACC Second Team selection in 2020, there is a good argument to make that Robert Hainsey was Notre Dame's best offensive lineman this past season. He may fall down the boards a bit as teams will likely project him as an interior lineman as opposed to a right tackle, but he has the strength, technique, and attitude to eventually develop into a starter at the next level. He gives the Jaguars depth and toughness with this pick.
Round 5, No. 154 (via Cleveland Browns): Wisconsin OT Cole Van Lanen
Pro Football Focus's top-rated offensive tackle in 2018, Cole Van Lanen doesn't have the ceiling of other offensive tackles in this class but he brings a ton of experience to the table. He played in 45 games at Wisconsin and was an anchor to what is always one of the country's best offensive lines. As of right now he is a better run-blocker than pass blocker, but Meyer will likely be comfortable with his skill set due to the Big 10 pedigree and the fact that he was a consistent starter for a good unit.
Round 7, No. 193: USF CB Mike Hampton
A player who didn't have a strong 2020, Mike Hampton has the frame (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) that Meyer's programs have always emphasized at cornerback. This is simply taking a swing on an experienced and athletic cornerback with the hope that the coaching staff could turn him into quality depth. He could compete with Chris Claybrooks for a spot on the depth chart early on. He has 34 starts over the last three seasons.
Round 7, No. 214 (via Tennessee Titans): Buffalo EDGE Taylor Riggins
Taylor Riggins didn't play in 2020 due to injury but had 13.5 sacks from 2018-2019, including 8.5 sacks in 2019. The Jaguars need more bodies at defensive end, especially if Dawuane Smoot is not re-signed to a new contract. Riggins isn't a high-ceiling prospect but at this point in the draft it is about fits from a scheme and cultural standpoint.