2020 NFL Draft: 7-Round Jaguars Mock Draft
'Tis the season. With the Jacksonville Jaguars sitting at a 4-8 record, they are once again on track for a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft and after this season has revealed a number of holes on the roster, the 2020 NFL Draft has become monumental for the Jaguars' future.
Along with their need for an influx of talent, Jacksonville has some additional ammo ahead of the draft thanks to trading cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams in October. In return for Ramsey, the Rams sent Jacksonville first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, along with a fourth-round selection in 2021. In addition, the Rams also traded with Jacksonville in 2018, swapping a 202 fifth-round pick for defensive end Dante Fowler.
Thanks to those two trades with the Rams, and another draft pick swap with the Seattle Seahawks (Seattle gave Jacksonville a 2020 sixth-round pick for a 2019 seventh-round pick), Jacksonville has 10 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
So, with all of that draft ammo and a plethora of needs, which directions should Jacksonville go in once April rolls around?
Round 1, Pick 8: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The most noticeable thing about the Jaguars' poor defense this year, which has allowed 136.6 rushing yards per game (fifth-worst in NFL) and 5.1 yards per rush (second-worst in NFL) has been the lack of size and strength up front. Once starting nose tackle Marcell Dareus went on IR with a core muscle injury after Week 7, the defense has fallen off a cliff. Jacksonville has tried to find several different combinations of interior lineups with Abry Jones, Taven Bryan, Calais Campbell, Akeem Spence, Dontavius Russell, and Carl Davis. But so far, nothing has worked and both the front four and the linebackers have been unable to produce at a high level vs. the run because of it.
This is where Derrick Brown comes in. The 6'5", 315-plus pound defensive tackle is the rare nose tackle prospect worth taking in the top ten. He has a unique blend of size and quickness that allows him to be a dominating force vs. both the run and the pass. He would instantly provide stability to the middle of Jacksonville's defense and elevate the play of everyone around him, especially the linebackers.
Round 1, Pick 20 (via Rams): Alex Leatherwood, OT/OG, Alabama
Junior Crimson Tide offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood is a behemoth of a man who has spent time at both left tackle and right guard, giving him a lot of flexibility as he moves to the NFL. The 6'6", 310 pound Leatherwood spent 2018 at guard before switching to left tackle on a full-time basis in 2019 to replace Jonah Williams, but he also spent time at tackle in place of an injured Williams as a freshman in 2017 and impressed in a big way.
Jacksonville has spent valuable resources into each of its five current starting offensive linemen, but positive results have yet to be found in each of the past two seasons as inconsistencies blocking and issues with penalties have doomed the unit. Left tackle, left guard, and right guard could all realistically be upgraded and, at the very least, deserve some competition. Leatherwood could step in from day one and slot in at any of these spots as Jacksonville looks for the best five linemen. His ability to mirror pass rushers with terrific footwork at his size is enticing to put him at the blindside, but his anchor makes him a realistic option on the interior too.
Jacksonville shouldn't worry about where to play Leatherwood on draft night. Simply get him in camp and put him in the spot that needs him the most.
Round 2, Pick 43: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
The 6'1" Hall was on his way to another good season for the Virginia secondary before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury after six starts. Despite the injury, Hall is still a terrific corner prospect thanks to his size and fluidity in both man and zone coverage. He led the nation in pass breakups in 2018 and has five career interceptions, so he has a knack for getting near the football which is something Jacksonville desperately needs in its secondary.
Neither of Jacksonville's current starting corners in 2019 are liabilities or top reasons why the defense has struggled, but the group could use a boost in talent after Ramsey departed. A.J. Bouye is a solid No. 1 corner but it is hard to tell how long he will be in Jacksonville due to his bloated contract. Tre Herndon has played well enough to enter the 2020 training camp as a starter but competition can only be a good thing. The worst-case scenario is Hall provides much-needed depth early on and then slots in as a starter when Bouye departs. Going from Breon Borders to Bryce Hall as your top corner depth would be a sizeable upgrade.
Round 3, Pick 74: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Jacksonville desperately needs a receiving threat across from DJ Chark after it has become clear that Dede Westbrook is just a solid No. 3 and Chris Conley is not a serviceable starter in the NFL. Smith, 6'1", 175 pounds, has been a dynamite vertical threat for the Crimson Tide but has flown under the radar at times thanks to the fact that he plays with likely first-round picks Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs.
In Jacksonville, Smith would once again be asked to be a running mate instead of the top guy, something that fits his skillset. His ability to stretch the field matches Gardner Minshew II's tendency to test defenses deep and he would give Jacksonville a more consistent playmaking threat across from Chark, allowing Westbrook to continue to produce in the slot.
Round 4, Pick 117: David Woodward, LB, Utah State
Jacksonville needs linebacker help badly, but there are more pressing needs first in the trenches and along the perimeter. Instead, they get an athletic and productive linebacker early on in Day 3 in this mock in Woodward. Woodward's season ended in November with an unspecified injury, but when healthy he flies around the field and has the instincts and range to contribute early on with both the defense and special teams.
Round 5, Pick 154: Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M
Working under the assumption that Keelan Cole, Marqise Lee and potentially Chris Conley are all off of the roster in 2020, Jacksonville takes another receiver in this mock. Davis does a ton of things well, whether it is running routes, getting yards after the catch or making the physical grab. He is the perfect depth receiver who can step in as the No. 4 early on and potentially grow into more moving forward.
Round 5, Pick 166 (via Rams): Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Bryant, a Mackey Award finalist, has excelled as a pass catcher in Lane Kiffin's offense and would offer a nice compliment to 2019 third-round pick Josh Oliver in the tight end room. Jacksonville has had a black hole at the position since Marcedes Lewis was released in 2018, so adding more high-ceiling pass catchers is never a bad thing. The 6'5", 240 pound Bryant also has enough size to play inline if needed, so he is not purely a slot tight end.
Round 6, Pick 192: Richie Grant, S, UCF
What the 6'0", 194 pound Grant lacks in size, he makes up for in playmaking ability. In 37 career games for the Knights, Grant has totaled six interceptions, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and eight tackles for loss. He could be a special teams ace early on while also providing an upgrade as the team's No. 3 safety early on, but he has the talent to eventually become a starter if developed correctly.
Round 6, Pick 209 (via Seahawks): Erroll Thompson, LB, Mississippi State
Want a thumper at inside linebacker? At 6'1", 250 pounds, Erroll Thompson is your guy. A team captain at Miss. State, Thompson has the strength and instincts that Jacksonville's smaller linebacker group is currently missing. He doesn't have great speed, but he has been productive and he plays with a lot of power and passion.
Round 7, Pick 226: Jason Strowbridge, DL, UNC
Strowbridge is the intriguing type of tweener prospect who is worth taking when it comes to the end of Day 3. He has played mostly defensive tackle for UNC, but he has a lot of traits to success he could find success on the edge, specifically his body type and flexibility Jacksonville has depth issues at both spots, so getting him into the building and figuring out a plan from there for the athletic disruptor isn't a bad idea. Personally think he fits well on the edge, though, and he could become a nice replacement for the often-injured Lerentee McCray.