The Jacksonville Jaguars always knew they were never moving from the No. 1 overall selection, no matter the ambitious offers some of the NFL's 31 other franchises may have had. But pick No. 25 wasn't always as clear.
"We fielded some interest," Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said. "I can’t remember exactly how far back we would’ve had to go, but we would’ve possibly considered it if our player wasn’t on the board, but he was, and we felt very strongly about him. We made the pick and now we get ready for tomorrow.”
That player would end up being Clemson running back Travis Etienne, a speed demon Jacksonville is hoping can reunite with Trevor Lawrence to bring their explosive offensive fireworks from the Tigers to the Jaguars.
It was a legitimate question of whether the Jaguars should have moved down at No. 25 overall: Baalke has a long track record of making draft day trades, especially in the first round. Plus, the Jaguars had an innumerable amount of roster holes entering this week's draft. They started the draft with 10 picks, but the argument could be made that even more is needed.
With this in mind, there were zero trade-ups in general following the Jaguars pick. From pick No. 24 on, every team picked in its original slot. The Jaguars could have moved back, at least according to Baalke, but they valued the chance to draft Etienne more.
"Well, I think if you go back to his college film, I think you see he’s an explosive player, can multi-align, can detach, can come out of the backfield," Baalke said.
"So, he offers a tremendous amount of versatility in the pass game, as well as that explosive play-making ability that you covet.”
With pick No. 25 now a member of the Jaguars' backfield, the focus will shift to pick No. 33, the opening pick of the draft's second round. The Jaguars hold the keys to the second-round considering they will have their choice of every player left on the board after day one, which could make the pick all the more enticing.
With this in mind, the No. 33 pick has only been traded three times since 2010: 2011, 2015, and 2017. More often than not, teams value the ability to pick the top non-first round player. But will the Jaguars do the same?
"I think you can always expect some calls for 33 because every organization now gets to sit back for a night and look at their board and look at the value they place on different players," Baalke said on Thursday.
"There’s always a player left from day one that you want to go get on day two, so I would expect some calls. How willing we will be to move back? That remains to be seen. We feel very good about the position we’re in and very good about a few of the players that are still left on the board at that level. So, we’re going to sleep on it, we’ll let it breathe, and we’ll come back tomorrow, get refocused and go to work.”
Just because the Jaguars expect calls doesn't mean they will take them, however. What Baalke and Meyer opt to do with the first pick of tonight's second-round will be a major piece of the duo's first draft, a piece the duo has to decide if they want to keep or auction off.