2021 NFL Draft: McShay Projects Lawrence, Defensive Playmaker to Jaguars

Todd McShay doesn't have many surprises for the Jaguars in his latest first round mock, giving them the long-annointed franchise quarterback and arguably the draft's top safety.
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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 analyze the latest first-round projections from ESPN's Todd McShay, who is releasing his third official mock of the draft season. Who does he mock to the Jaguars with this at-bat, however? We break down his picks here.

No. 1: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

Todd McShay was on-hand at Clemson to see Jaguars' head coach Urban Meyer personally evaluate Trevor Lawrence from just a few yards away at his Pro Day. Mocking Lawrence to the Jaguars would be a no-brainer even if this wasn't the case, but McShay has even more incentive to believe in the pick in this mock.

Lawrence isn't perfect, but his blend of size, arm talent, play-making ability, and high-level processing skills make a genuinely great quarterback prospect. He is widely considered the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012, or is at the very least in the conversation. PFF recently revealed Lawrence is their top overall graded prospect of the last seven drafts as well.

"We didn’t get to grade Andrew Luck during his time at Stanford, but any choice between the two signal-callers would be splitting hairs," PFF's Michael Renner wrote. "In my opinion, the underrated thing about Lawrence is that even though he came to Clemson as the most college-ready freshman of all time, he still showed improvement throughout his career. He earned a career-best 91.2 overall grade in 2020 despite playing with the worst receiving group and offensive line of his career.

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. 

Yes, there has been momentum on social media and national television networks for Zach Wilson to push Lawrence as the top quarterback, but there is nothing that suggests the Jaguars aren't just doing their due diligence. Lawrence is still the strong, strong favorite to be Jacksonville's pick and this won't change. 

No. 25: TCU S Trevon Moehrig

One of the most frequently mocked players to the Jaguars in round one, TCU's Trevon Moehrig makes a strong argument as the draft's top safety and lands with Jacksonville in McShay's mock draft. The Jaguars do have one solid veteran in Jarrod Wilson and one promising young player in Daniel Thomas at safety, but an injection of playmaking is needed and Moehrig would be just that.

McShay actually has Moehrig coming off the board as the draft's top safety and only first-round player at the position. It is considered a deep position this year, and Moehrig does have legitimate competition for the top spot, but all signs point to him being the first safety selected in April. 

Moehrig's final season at TCU featured him becoming a team for each game in 2020. He finished the season with two interceptions, nine pass deflections, and two sacks in his second season as a starter. Overall he contributed to 10 takeaways for TCU, recorded six interceptions the last two years, won a Jim Thorpe Award, was a team captain, and even won TCU's Most Valuable Special Teams Player award in 2018 as a true freshman. He is an extremely clean prospect. 

If the Jaguars will be in the safety market at picks No. 25 or No. 33 likely depends on how they attack free agency. This year's crop of free agents features a deep group at safety, so the Jaguars could want to add an established veteran to an already extremely youthful secondary as opposed to just another young safety. 

Moehrig has the talent to justify taking him at No. 25, however. It just depends on how the board falls and what the Jaguars' pressing needs are after March.