While we continue to march through the 2020 season, we will take looks at mock drafts from throughout the football industry to reflect on what outside projections for the Jacksonville Jaguars look like.
The Jaguars currently hold the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, along with the Los Angeles Rams' first-round pick (No. 25) as a result of the Jalen Ramsey trade. As of this writing, the Jaguars have 11 picks in the upcoming draft.
We now know who will be leading the Jacksonville Jaguars on the sidelines and in the front office moving forward. Urban Meyer has been selected as head coach while Trent Baalke is the team's newest general manager. Now, the duo will have to navigate an immensely important offseason that features the Jaguars holding the draft's top selection.
How Meyer and Baalke shape the Jaguars' roster over the course of the offseason will be fascinating on all fronts. This of course means mock drafts and other projections for how the Jaguars move toward their future.
For every team other than the four still in the playoffs, attention has shifted toward the 2021 NFL Draft. This year's draft is set to be especially important for the Jaguars considering their 11 draft picks, which includes two picks in the first two rounds apiece.
To get an idea of what positions or which names could be options for the Jaguars in the first round, we take a look at some of the players selected for them in recent mock drafts from national analysts and sites. For each pick, our own analysis will be included.
In this edition, we look at NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah's early projections for the 2021 NFL Draft. Jeremiah is a former scout and one of the most respected names in the draft community, so his views and takeaways are worth reading into.
So who did Jeremiah mock to the Jaguars in the first round, and do the picks make sense? We analyze the selections here.
No. 1: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
Yes, Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars at No. 1 again. No, that will not be changing in mocks anytime soon, and clearly not in Jeremiah's first mock of the draft season.
Even with the hiring of Meyer, there is no reason to think the Jaguars won't be taking Lawrence with the top overall pick. Meyer never coached Justin Fields at Ohio State, and it isn't like Jaguars owner Shad Khan doesn't have some stake in this pick as well. Khan knows the opportunity in front of his team in terms of branding and acquiring star power, so it is near impossible to envision the Jaguars not selecting a generational prospect like Lawrence.
Then you factor in Lawrence's talent and this becomes a no-brainer. Lawrence has a cannon for an arm, great size at 6-foot-6, wins inside and outside of the pocket, and has the athleticism to extend plays and create out of structure. He is the type of franchise quarterback the Jaguars need on and off the field to grow their franchise and drag it out from the cellar of the league.
"I guess I can answer that and say that alignment [is key]. Shad has a huge say in this as well, so any decision like this I do look at it as a partnership, and alignment’s going to be the key," Meyer said on Friday when asked who would have final say during the draft if any disagreements are had.
"How you do that debate is healthy, debate is strong. I encourage debate, whether it’s when you’re game planning or you’re putting your roster [together], recruiting, whatever it may be. I know Shad and I have had great conversation and so Trent, so who will actually have it? I’m not that worried about that. I know that we are tied at the hip and alignment’s going to be the key.”
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. He isn't perfect, but there is a strong argument to make for him being the best quarterback prospect of the last decade.
As unexciting or anti-climatic as it may be to some, there shouldn't be any drama expected for the top pick this year ... even if the Jaguars have yet to come out and say that a decision has been made.
No. 25 (via Los Angeles Rams: TCU S Trevon Moehrig
Fewer teams struggled against the pass as much as the Jaguars last season, so it isn't surprising to see Jeremiah mock them one of the draft's top defensive backs with their second first-round pick.
A 6-foot-2, 202-pound safety who has the ability to play as a deep centerfield safety or in the box, Moehrig has seen his stock continue to rise throughout his college career. He has been a member of the First-Team All-Big 12 squad for the last two seasons, while also being named an AP Second-Team All-American in 2020. And most notably, he was the nation's Jim Thorpe Award winner last season, recognizing him as college football's best defensive back last season.
Over the last two seasons, Moehrig has recorded 109 tackles, six interceptions, 20 pass deflections, one fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles. He has been an impact player in the backend of TCU's defense and the school has been known for putting smart, instinctual defenders into the NFL in recent years.
Do the Jaguars have a need at safety that is great enough to invest a first-round pick into? In comparison to other positions, perhaps not. But with the Jaguars roster in its current state following a 1-15 season, the Jaguars don't have the luxury of being able to focus on needs. They need to fill their roster with the most talent possible, and that is exactly what they would be doing here with Moehrig.
Moehrig would likely slot next to Jarrod Wilson in the starting lineup, giving the Jaguars a playmaking safety to boost a defense that finished 31st in most major categories in 2020. Perhaps it isn't a glaring need, but he could be the draft's best safety. Could the Jaguars really afford to pass that up?