12 picks later, the Jacksonville Jaguars have finally put together their 2020 NFL Draft class. 12 new men have had their dreams realized and are now a part of Jaguars' lore forever.
The Jaguars' draft took several twists and turns over the course of seven rounds. In total, the Jaguars selected five offensive players (two wide receivers, a quarterback, a tight end, and an offensive lineman) and seven defensive players (three cornerbacks, a defensive tackle, a defensive end, a safety, and a linebacker).
We broke down each of the Jaguars' picks here, but what about our own takeaways from the largest draft class in Jaguars' history? From what moves the Jaguars did and didn't make, we walked away with a few observations of what the Jaguars aimed to do with their draft and why they made the moves they did.
1) Jaguars went all-in on athleticism and character
All throughout the Jaguars' draft class, you can find a few constants. Each of the 12 picks had what the Jaguars described as team-first mindsets, but a vast majority of them were above average to elite athletes in terms of their measurables. C.J. Henderson is one of the best athletes in the entire draft class, while K'Lavon Chaisson's speed is obvious on tape. Laviska Shenault wins with surprising explosion for his size, while Davon Hamilton is a better than expected athlete at the nose tackle position. Then you add in guys like Tyler Davis, Josiah Scott, and Daniel Thomas and the Jaguars took some day three guys who can scoot, too. Chaisson, Shenault, Collin Johnson, and Ben Bartch didn't test at the combine, but the athleticism is clear as day for all of them on tape.
Each of the Jaguars' draft picks is also clearly someone the Jaguars think will have a positive influence on the locker room. Head coach Doug Marrone banged the drum all season long that he wanted hungry guys who loved football and put the team ahead of individual success, and it seems like those are the exact kind of personalities the Jaguars targeted. Drafted a lot of captains and players who were regarded as leaders in their collegiate locker rooms, which is big for a young team.
Ultimately, picks like Henderson, Chaisson, Shenault, and a good bit of their day three selections are players who have extremely high ceilings because they are terrific athletes. They need to be developed like any rookies, but the upside of the class is through the roof. Now, the Jaguars just need to get them there.
2) Ben Bartch could end up being one of the steals of the draft if he is developed
I will lead this takeaway with one point: I am likely biased toward Ben Bartch because I was present all week at the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile. I watched his tape as well, but what he did in person against big-school competition left a definite mark on me. With that said, Bartch has all of the traits to invest in if you have an offensive line that you don't want to shake up right away, which is the situation the Jaguars find themselves in.
After the first round passed and the Jaguars opted not to take an offensive tackle, it was clear the Jaguars would enter 2020 with their six core offensive linemen they had in 2019. Whether that was the right decision can be debated, but in the event no lineman the Jaguars drafted in the fourth round would have started off of the bat, it is worth the game on a D-III product like Bartch. He has foot quickness, strength, smarts, and plays to the whistle. There is definite risk there, but there is also loads of potential. If he develops and becomes a starter anywhere along the Jaguars' line in 2021, he could be talked about as one of the draft's biggest steals, much like Ali Marpet was for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they drafted him in 2015.
3) Wide receiver room is crowded, but Jaguars made sensible additions
The Jaguars needed to two do things at wide receiver this season: add explosiveness and possession ability. With the additions of Colorado's Laviska Shenault and Texas' Collin Johnson, they did just that. The rookies may not put up huge numbers early on because the Jaguars already have four veterans in front of them, but that doesn't mean the picks aren't logical.
Shenault has plenty of question marks about his durability and route running skills, but he has a blend of size, power, and explosiveness that only Chris Conley can match out of the Jaguars' current group of receivers, but he has better hands and deep ability than Conley. He adds a different element than any other receiver on the roster, and that is a big reason why he will likely play several roles for the team in 2020.
As for Johnson, it will be more difficult for him to find the field than it will be for Shenault, but the Jaguars at least made sure they targeted another receiver who passed a skill set their receiver room lacked. At 6-foot-6, Johnson is far from the shifty burner a lot of the Jaguars' other receivers are, but he is a jump ball specialist who could realistically be a decent possession option.
4) It makes sense why the Jaguars didn't add a running back
After the third round went by, it was hard to envision the Jaguars adding a running back. Why? Because only backs like De'Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, and others were obvious upgrades to Jacksonville's current backfield, which consists of Leonard Fournette and two second-year backs in Devine Ozigbo and Ryquell Armstead. Once it became clear the Jaguars wouldn't be able to trade Fournette for any 2020 picks, it began to make sense why the Jaguars would eventually ignore the running back position with their 12 picks.
"I think maybe it's misunderstood of how we feel about the other guys we have in our room besides Leonard and Roc(quell Armstead) and Devine (Ozigbo). And those are two guys that as you look down, you start to get into the fourth, fifth round, and you're like, ‘Do we like these guys better than Rock and Devine?’ And the answer is really no," general manager Dave Caldwell said Saturday. "So we felt like we had some guys that can make the team at other positions and come in and help right away and knowing that we have those two guys that we really like.”
Caldwell makes valid points here. Sure, the Jaguars could have taken a late-round flier on a speed back, but there is a good chance that back would have been No. 4 on the roster entering the season. Instead, the Jaguars targeted to build depth at other positions of need, each of which has more players on the field on any given down the running back position.
5) No trades was a shocker, but should it have been?
It was widely believed the Jaguars would be active in trades when the 2020 NFL Draft began. And while the team had discussions throughout the seven rounds, the Jaguars ultimately made zero trades, opting to stick at all 12 of their original draft spots. No trading up for a target, and no trading back to gain more picks.
On the surface, this was surprising since Caldwell has a history of making trades on day two and three of the draft. But should it have been expected the team would make any deals to begin with?
In a big picture sense, not really. Jacksonville's roster is currently undergoing a massive transition, and we already saw the lack of depth across the board in 2019. Most teams can't draft 12 players with the expectations of rostering most of them, but the Jaguars aren't one of those teams right now. There are enough spots across the roster that needed reinforcements to justify taking 12 players, even if it was a bit surprising at the jump.