The 2021 NFL Draft season is finally upon us. Football, for now, is over. All eyes will turn to the offseason as 32 franchises attempt to build their teams up to championship-caliber squads.
Among those teams will be the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold 11 picks in this season’s draft -- including the No. 1 overall pick. The Jaguars are entering a new era under Head Coach Urban Meyer, and the 2021 draft will serve as a catalyst to the Jaguars’ rebuild moving into the future.
As we march closer and closer to April’s draft, we will look at individual draft prospects and how they would potentially fit with the Jaguars. Instead of looking at any negatives, we are going to look at what the players do well and if they could match what the Jaguars need at the specific role or position.
In this edition, we look at one of the highest-ranked safeties in this year's draft class in TCU's Trevon Moehrig. After a productive college career, Moehrig now has the chance to be among the first safeties off the board -- but how high should the Jaguars consider taking him in April?
One of the most decorated defensive backs in this year's draft, Trevon Moehrig is the next in a long line of TCU defenders to hit the NFL. A four-star cornerback recruit out of college, Moehrig was an impact player for TCU as a freshman, earning TCU's Special Teams Most Valuable Player award. Then as a sophomore starter on defense in 2019, he forced seven takeaways (four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery) and 11 pass deflections.
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, winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.
Over the last two years, Moehrig has been named to four different first-team All-Big 12 lists. In 2020, he was an AP second-team All-American and a Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalist. He enters the draft with a large trophy case and plenty of stats and experience to his name.
What Trevon Moehrig Does Well
TCU wasn't afraid to let Moehrig do it all for their defense. Gary Patterson has often crafted the crux of his defense around his secondary, and this was no different with Moehrig over the last two seasons.
Moehrig, listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, was asked to wear multiple hats for the TCU defense. He thrived as a deep safety, whether asked to cover the deeper half of the field in Cover 2 or Cover 3. His range and smooth acceleration are clear when he is asked to break on a pass downfield, giving him the potential to make plays at each level of the field.
Where Moehrig especially shines is at the catch point, however. While he has impressive speed as a free-flowing safety, it is his work in one-on-one coverage that will likely help him get drafted highly. He can be caught a bit flat-footed when asked to defend routes that break to the outside, but he is a lockdown defender downfield and in the intermediate areas of the field. He knows exactly when to time a jump or a punch on the ball, frequently forcing incompletions on contested catches.
Moehrig's smoothness in space and change of direction allows him to keep up with defenders when asked to defend deep routes or double moves, Meanwhile, his explosive downhill acceleration and quick diagnosing skills make him an adept defender on underneath or curl routes thatforce him to drive on the ball.
There is also the aspect of play-making. Moehrig was a part of 10 turnovers in three seasons, with nine of those takeaways coming in the last two seasons alone. He has natural ball skills, as evidenced by a one-handed interception he made against the No. 15 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys to clinch a victory.
Moehrig is also an impactful defender against screens. While he wasn't asked to step into the box and be an enforcer against the run very often, he didn't show many issues as a tackler in space or when forced to shift through blocks on the perimeter. He is so quick and aggressive when crashing to the line of scrimmage on screens that it seemed like his success rate of forcing a tackle for loss or a short gain was astronomical.
How Trevon Moehrig Would Fit With the Jaguars
This is an easy one. After watching Moehrig, it isn't hard to envision the Jaguars valuing him a great deal in April. They have a legitimate need at safety, both in terms of depth and in terms of finding a starter. Daniel Thomas flashed as a rookie and Jarrod Wilson has been a consistently serviceable player, but the Jaguars' scheme and today's NFL in general calls for multiple safeties to be game day ready.
Moehrig could ideally fit with the Jaguars' defense as a starter from day one. The Jaguars' primary starter alongside Wilson at safety in 2020, Josh Jones, was one of the NFL's worst coverage safeties in the league last season. Thanks to his athleticism and clearly top-tier instincts and recognition ability, Moehrig
Considering the extensive responsibilities placed on safeties in Baltimore's scheme, which is likely extremely similar to what the Jaguars will run under Joe Cullen, Moehrig appears to be a natural fit. He has experience handling multiple roles in a defense and has spent time as a single-high safety, in the slot, and in the box.
Moehrig also has a background that should impress a Jaguars' staff that will likely place high value on special teams and athleticism. Not only was Moehrig a star special teams player for TCU as a true freshman, but he was also featured on Bruce Feldman's 2020 'Freaks List' as one of college football's top athletes.
"At 6-2, 208, Moehrig is a super strong DB, bench pressing 400 pounds, squatting 600 and power cleaning 420. He also vertical jumps 38 inches," Feldman wrote.
For a Jaguars' defense that badly needs an injection of youth, athleticism, and play-making ability, Moehrig is a logical fit and projection for either pick No. 25 or pick No. 33. Safety may not be as pressing of a need as cornerback, but the Jaguars and Moehrig are a good match.
This one is a bit hard to predict before free agency. If the Jaguars don't address the position in free agency, then Moehrig is a relatively easy sell at No. 25 overall. He has the pedigree of production, was a team captain, made big plays in big games, and is a fantastic athlete.
Moehrig has continued to see his name featured late in the first round in mock drafts in recent weeks. It stands to reason that he may be the first safety off the board. At which point, taking him at No. 25 is a reasonable proposition. In most recent classes, the mid-20s is where the run on safeties begins after all.
Ultimately, the Jaguars should make Moehrig a key target after their first pick in the event they still need a safety. Debating between him and a defensive or offensive tackle would be a difficult question to answer, but one the Jaguars could benefit from asking.