To say it’s a big day for the Jacksonville Jaguars would be an underestimate. The future is bright, anticipating is buzzing and it feels like a game day. That’s how new head coach Urban Meyer described the feeling just mere hours before the opening of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jaguars own the No. 1 overall pick and 10 picks in total draft capital.
“This is a transformational moment for 904 and for the Jags. I saw [Owner] Shad [Khan] earlier today and I can feel it with him too.” Meyer told J.P. Shadrick of Jaguars.com
Meyer has always leaned into his antsy side and told Shadrick he’s nervous about everything. Naturally, that would extend to the draft and a potential franchise-changing class. But the first time NFL coach also received a valuable lesson when he arrived at the facilities this morning.
“I probably shouldn't watch the darn mock drafts,” Meyer joked.
“The whole idea that you get your eyes and your heart set on a player and they might be gone. That's what I gotta—because I got my heart set on a handful players, and that's the biggest thing I got to prepare myself for and if that player is gone, where do we go? But I feel like we've got our work [ready].”
Because of Meyer’s attachment for certain players, the head coach admitted to ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this week that he’s pushed General Manager Trent Baalke to trade up in the first round (the Jaguars currently own two picks in the final round; No. 1 and No. 25). That’s easier said than done, as Baalke explained to Meyer.
“I watch the videotape and I keep going after our GM [Trent Baalke], ‘how do we get this guy? Move up in the draft.’ And you can see the value of those top 5, 6, 7 picks, I get it now,” Meyer explained to Schefter in Monday’s episode of The Adam Schefter Podcast.
“I never quite understood because I didn't have time, I didn't study like I have. But I am, that mesmerizes me right now is how you—because I can’t, after the draft, we can talk about it. But there's some people in this draft that, you know, I'm looking at my GM saying 'move us up, man, let's get there.’ And he's like, ‘it's not that easy.’
“You'd have to mortgage—some of these picks I want, you’d to have to give away your next few years of draft choices. And that's obviously, that's not business smart.”
Still, Meyer revealed to Shadrick that some trades could still be on the table.
“I met with our staff a couple of times and we actually are just—well there’s a couple guys, even trade opportunities might surface. I’m having our staff watch some guys.”
There were no further details from the coach, but he explained it’s a trust between those making the decisions that could allow any changes on draft night.
“Right now I'm listening and learning. The cooperation—which I think is, in my 30 years, especially the last 15 in college, I've really studied how these teams, because they all come into Ohio State or Florida, want to see this great players—and when you have great cooperation between the coach and the personnel office, or general manager, and I'm telling you now that I can't imagine the last three months being any better for Trent myself and our staff.”
It’s been no secret for a while the Jags will take Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall. The real fun starts with the Jags (current) pick at No. 25 and then Friday night’s second and third round. No matter what happens—trade-wise or not—tonight, Meyer feels confident the plan in place for Thursday’s first-round is solid.
“It’s going to be successful. You know we have a good idea of the number one pick. The 25 is the one we got about four names; that depends how the draft goes but we have them vertically ranked that if they're there, we'll take them. So, it will be, we'll win today. So gotta make sure [we] win tomorrow.