Jaguars Mailbag: What Are the Pros to Selecting an Offensive Tackle at No. 25?

In this week's edition of the Jaguars mailbag, we take a look at whether the Jaguars should draft an offensive tackle at No. 25, what draft tendencies Trent Baalke may have, and more.
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Each week during this year's offseason, Jaguar Report will take Jacksonville Jaguars-related questions from our readers across social media and answer them in a question-and-answer format, giving readers a chance to have their voices heard.

You can submit your questions every week by tweeting them to the Jaguar Report Twitter handle or by submitting them here

This week we take questions on taking an offensive tackle in the first round moving up in the draft and more. 

Q: I'm starting to wonder if we should just select an OT at 25 because of the success rate of 1st round OTs. Thoughts?

A: The Jaguars are honestly in the position roster-wise that they can justify taking most positions at No. 25. The only non-specialists positions they should ignore are quarterback (they will be drafting Clemson's Trevor Lawrence at No. 1) and tight end (there is no tight end worth taking at No. 25 in this class other than Kyle Pitts, who will be a top-10 pick). 

As you noted, offensive tackle is normally a safe position to draft in round one. There will be tackles who are busts -- as the Jaguars have learned -- but the odds are in the team's favor most of the time. The Jaguars specifically could justify taking a tackle at No. 25 because there are still big questions as to whether either of their current tackles is a long-term answer.

Cam Robinson is a former second-round pick who was franchise tagged by the Jaguars in March to ensure Lawrence had a veteran left tackle blocking for his rookie season. He has flashed at times but isn't one of the top-half starting tackles in the NFL. Jawaan Taylor, the team's 2019 second-round pick, had a strong rookie season but struggled often in 2020. 

The Jaguars adding a player from one of the best offensive tackle classes in recent memory wouldn't be a bad move by any means, especially if the tackle prospect is also able to play guard as a rookie. The Jaguars need long-term answers, not just short-term team-building ideas.

Q: Why do you think Dede Westbrook hasn't been picked up by a team yet?

A: There just isn't much recent tape on him. He only played in two games last year and was targeted only once on offense. He saw only 16 snaps at receiver in 2020 because rookie receiver Collin Johnson was ahead of him on the depth chart. Add in a season-ending knee injury in Week 7 and it is just hard for a team to probably take a flier on him before the draft.

Q: Let’s say we get a guaranteed elite player in the draft, besides QB ... which position would you pick for the Jags? I say edge rusher would have the most impact right now.

A: Edge rusher would be a tough one to say no to. Wide receiver is up there since the Jaguars have a lot of good but not great players at the position. Offensive tackle would be a big boost to Trevor Lawrence, but one elite player alone doesn't boost an offensive line. So, as a result, I will probably go edge rusher. It is more important of a position than tight end and safety and the scale of potential impact frankly just isn't close. 

Q: I apologize if you have written about this earlier, but does Baalke have any draft tendencies favoring one position group over another? Or if Urban had a particular position group he targets over others while recruiting

A: Baalke had a few interesting draft tendencies that we will examine in a later article. He liked to target defensive players in early in the draft, taking two defensive backs and three defensive backs in the first round. He would target wide receivers and offensive linemen frequently on Day 3 and targeted players mostly from big programs, targeting productive players who are perhaps more popular in terms of name recognition. 

As for Meyer, he recruited defensive linemen and defensive backs more than any other position while the head coach at Ohio State. Linebackers and wide receivers were two other positions of emphasis, which makes it little surprise these are all positions the Jaguars have addressed since Meyer came on board.

Q: Do you think the Jaguars just started to solidify the roster this year to have a high baseline for next year's free agency and do a few splashy moves in free agency in 2022? Or do you think they try to build the team via draft which is likely because of Meyer's connection to college football? I’m excited to hear your opinion! 

A: I think the Jaguars are eventually going on a spending spree, but I do think Meyer wanted to get the Jaguars in his image more first. I think he ultimately wanted to get a feel for both free agency and the NFL before making such a massive move like throwing $25 million per year at a player. The Jaguars also have an abundance of draft picks to acquire players, so they won't have many limitations in terms of adding through the draft.

Q: Last draft we had all 12 of our draft picks and a few rookie UDFA's (Costin, Cottrell, Matiscik, Barcoo and Ellefson) on the roster for at least a good chunk of the season. Of the 17, who do you see still cracking the roster this year?

A: I think a lot of the players have a good chance to crack the roster but some are in tough spots. Players like Josiah Scott, Jake Luton, Tyler Davis, Chris Claybrooks, Nathan Cottrell, Luq Barcoo, and Ben Ellefson are going to have to earn their spots after the Jaguars made a lot of additions at those positions, especially at cornerback. The signing of C.J. Beathard made things hard on Luton, while Chris Claybrooks wasn't helped by the Jaguars signing Jamal Agnew to be their new return man.

Q: How far could the Jaguars move up by trading 25, 33 in the first round for an exceptional player? Using the draft point system.

A: According to Jimmy Johnson's trade chart, picks No. 25 and No. 33 equal to 1,300, which is right between No. 8 and No. 9 overall. With that said, I am not sold that a team in the top-10 takes those two picks and is content; I feel like an additional Day 3 pick would be in order.

Q: Which draft pick from 2020 could surprise in 2021? 

A: Even though the Jaguars signed Rayshawn Jenkins, I am still going to say Daniel Thomas. Thomas was really impressive in his limited snaps on defense last year and looks to be a good scheme fit in Joe Cullen's defense. Since it is harder to envision him on the field as of right now it is a bit tougher to project him stepping in and making an impact in a defense that relies on multiple safeties, but he would make the most sense in this regard. Josiah Scott could surprise if he gets a chance to prove himself in the slot, while Collin Johnson has already shown he is a quality receiver. 

Q: Why did the Jaguars sign C.J. Beathard?

A: I think to give them flexibility going into the draft when it comes to their backup quarterback position. Alex Smith is still a free agent, which indicates he is going to take his time before deciding on a team. Now that the Jaguars have Beathard on the roster, they at least have a more experienced veteran than Jake Luton to backup Trevor Lawrence in the event they do trade opt to trade Gardner Minshew II.