2021 NFL Draft: Who Does Mel Kiper Slot to the Jaguars After Free Agency?

With the Jaguars filling a number of holes in free agency, where does ESPN's Mel Kiper have them going in the first round of April's NFL Draft?
Author:
Publish date:

With free agency now over, the official final countdown to April's NFL Draft has begun. Until then, 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 10 picks in the upcoming draft.

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.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 in the NFL, attention has shifted toward the 2021 NFL Draft. This year's draft is set to be especially important for the Jaguars considering their 10 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 Mel Kiper, one of the most well-known and established voices in the draft industry. How does Kiper mock the Jaguars' first-round selections after they added 12 new players last week, and what do we make of his projections?

No. 1: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

Kiper makes no surprise in his mock for the first over pick. There is no real point in assuming this pick will be anyone but Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. This was true in December when the Jaguars officially locked up the No. 1 overall pick and it has become even more true since Urban Meyer became the most influential voice at TIAA Bank Field in January. 

For starters, the simple logic is that Meyer likely wouldn't have finally made a jump to the NFL unless the Jaguars had the top pick and the chance to pick Lawrence. Meyer was extremely hands-on during Lawrence's pro day last month, both in the preparation of the event and in the simple fact that he stood just yards away from Lawrence for the entirety of his workout. 

“It couldn’t have gone better. I think I made the comment we had high expectations going into it, like really high," Meyer said about Lawrence's pro day on March 9. 

"I’ve seen him throw before. I really wanted [Offensive Coordinator] Darrell Bevell and [Passing Game Coordinator] Brian Schottenheimer to witness it. Watching a guy throw, especially throw, on video tape, it’s not the same. I made the comment you want to hear it leave his hand, listen to it go by you, and to me, I don’t know how you evaluate a quarterback without doing that. So, I thought he did great. We’ve had a couple Zoom calls with him and he’s been great, and we like where we’re at with him.”

Lawrence is the top player in the draft and would give the Jaguars a face to build the future of their franchise around. He is the smart pick for every reason on and off the field, and it is highly unlikely either of these facts has been lost upon the Jaguars.

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.

No. 25: TCU S Trevon Moehrig

While some may raise their eyebrows at safety being a first round projection since the Jaguars made fifth-year safety Rayshawn Jenkins one of their highest-paid free agents, it makes a ton of sense for Kiper to add another quality defensive back to Jacksonville's defense.

Moehrig was already considered by many in the draft industry to be one of the favorites to be the Jaguars' pick at No. 25 overall before free agency, and none of this changed with the team's 12 additions last week. For starters, Jenkins is best suited as a strong safety, whereas Moehrig has the ability to function as a free safety in every sense of the word. 

Then there is the fact the Jaguars will likely need to lean on the safety position much more this season than under past regimes. The Baltimore Ravens used three safeties more than any other defense in the NFL in recent years and it is widely expected for Jacksonville's scheme under Joe Cullen to look a lot like Baltimore's, a scheme he spent the last five years coaching in. 

The Jaguars need to add more talent to their secondary in any way they can. Jarrod Wilson is a serviceable starter, but he isn't the type of player who eliminates a team from looking for an upgrade. Moehrig is the best safety in the class and is a top-notch athlete on top of it. 

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 who the Jaguars should draft within seconds if he is there at No. 25.