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.
This week we take questions on Trevor Lawrence, ranking the draft's best slot receivers, surprising picks, and more.
Q: Are there any free agents that haven't signed that you think would be an upgrade for this team?
A: I think Duke Johnson or Giovani Bernard would each be smart additions. They are two of the most productive pass-catching running backs of the past decade and offer a tone of value as change of pace backs behind Robinson and in concert with Hyde. The Jaguars don't really have a shifty running back who wins with speed or quickness on the roster, so adding one with a proven track record of production as a receiver or pass blocker would improve Jacksonville's running back room a good bit.
Q: Why not trade the number 1 pick? Gardner Minshew's QB rating was 95.9 -- the same as Baker Mayfield, higher than Joe Burrow, Big Ben, and Jimmy G to name a few. Put a better offensive line and a better defense around him and he will win some games.
A: Because the Jaguars need a truly franchise-changing prospect, not a collection of good or even great ones. Gardner Minshew has talent and the traits to lead a team to victory in the right conditions, but his skill set is too inconsistent and varies too much on a Sunday-to-Sunday basis for the Jaguars to have any confidence in building around him. Minshew got a much bigger shot than most sixth-round quarterbacks get, but it just didn't work out. He isn't the biggest reason the Jaguars went 1-15 last season, but they badly need to upgrade the quarterback position regardless of where they are picking in the draft. The team was bard around Minshew last year, but Minshew was also far from effective himself.
Q: Last year, we didn't really see the Chaisson pick happening. Is there a player chosen this year at 25 that would really shock you?
A: This is a great question. I didn't have the Jaguars selecting K'Lavon Chaisson on my radar for the Jaguars last season at all because I didn't think he was a scheme fit, but the Jaguars clearly threw that out of the window. In terms of this year though, it is a bit hard to surprise me. The Jaguars need help at so many spots on the roster that it is legitimately hard to be surprised by any direction they go at No. 25. I suppose I would be surprised by the Jaguars taking an offensive tackle at No. 25 since they have given Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor votes of confidence, but even that pick would shock me like Chaisson did last season.
Q: If the Jags don’t go after safety early on, who could be the target in round 3 or 4? Thoughts on Hamsah Nasirildeen?
A: Here are a few safeties that Grinding The Mocks has with expected drafted positions in the third to fourth round range: Syracuse's Andre Cisco, FSU's Hamsah Nasirildeen, Indiana's Jamar Johnson, USC's Talanoa Hufanga, Texas' Caden Sterns, and TCU's Ar'Darius Washington. This is a weaker safety class that could see ultimately only three go within the first two rounds, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine there are a few notable names in the third or fourth round.
Personally, I think Nasirildeen is the best of that group. He dealt with injuries at FSU, but he is an athletic safety with range, ball skills, and scheme versatility. I always thought he was an underrated defender who was stuck on some truly bad FSU teams, so there is always a chance he ends up a draft steal as a result.
Q: What do you think is the range for our record for next year?
A: I think the floor is 6-11 (that feels so weird to type out). The Jaguars would likely be a better team than that, but it needs to be remembered this is Year 1 of a rebuild from a 1-15 roster. The Jaguars are more than just adding Trevor Lawrence from becoming a competitive team, and the youth of the roster and inexperience of head coach Urban Meyer at the NFL level could make 2021 exciting but rocky at times. I think the ceiling for them is along the lines of 8-9 or 9-8. The AFC South is currently in shambles and even the two best teams have legitimate questions surrounding them. There is a real chance Lawrence is the most productive quarterback in the division next season, so the Jaguars could surprise and find themselves near a winning season. This is the best-case scenario, though.
Q: Can you rank Rondale Moore, Kadarius Toney, and Elijah Moore by skill level and fit for Jags? They seem like similar types of players.
A: Here are the grades I have on each: Elijah Moore as a first-rounder, Rondale Moore as a top-50 pick, and Kadarius Toney as a late second-rounder. I think that is likely how the three would separate in terms of fits with the Jaguars too, though an argument could be made for a reversal of sorts.
Elijah Moore is a top-notch athlete with years of production and some of the most consistent tape you will see from any receiver in this class. He is a pure slot who can be used as a gadget player if needed, but his ability to win contested catches downfield make him the best fit for the Jaguars' offense among each of these players. Rondale Moore is an elite athlete who was one of the nation's best players as a true freshman, but it will likely take him a bit to transition to the NFL game considering his lack of playing time the last two years (just seven games played) and the fact that Purdue used him purely as a gadget player and not receiver.
I am lower on Toney than the consensus and he will likely be the highest player drafted among these three. I just don't see enough refinement or upside before the catch. With that said, he is electric with the ball in his hands, has gadget potential, and has starred on special teams before. I think he is a good fit for the Jaguars, but his tape is just a bit behind each, at least in my eyes.
Q: Why is the team treating Gardner Minshew so badly? Did they bring in Beathard because of a preexisting relationship with a coach because he doesn't look like an upgrade on Minshew? Even if they had good reason to pick up Beathard, the timing is poor because it damages Minshew's trade value.
A: I don't think I would say they are treating him badly. Every player on the Jaguars' roster is going to have to do something to prove their worth to Urban Meyer and his coaching staff; Minshew doesn't get protected from competition just because he won six games as a rookie in 2019. Minshew hasn't earned that kind of right yet, so it is logical for the Jaguars to bring in players to push him for his spot on the roster. The Jaguars also give themselves some flexibility with Minshew by signing Beathard; this way they can shop Minshew while knowing they have an experienced backup on the roster who could replace him as the No. 2 quarterback.
Q: Between Wilson, Jones, Thomas, Wingard, Ford, and Jenkins, it appears we have at least one or two safeties too many. Whose out?
A: Right now, I would have to assume Rudy Ford and Josh Jones are safe since the Jaguars' new staff signed one and re-signed the other. Then, of course, Rayshawn Jenkins is one of the team's highest-paid defenders. He will be a starter.
That leaves Jarrod Wilson, Andrew Wingard, and Daniel Thomas to sort out among the other spots. Wilson has starting experience and is a consistent leader and performer but is heading into the final year of his contract. Wingard is a solid special teamer who has flashed in coverage but is also too inconsistent to give major snaps too. Then there is Thomas, the youngest of the group. Thomas may be the most talented of the bunch but his lack of experience and game tape in 2020 could make him the odd man out, while Wilson's spot could potentially be up in the air as well due to his expiring deal.
Q: During free agency the Jags went and filled the roster with key depth and special teams aces. With ten picks, does it make sense to trade up to picks 30-32 and send a late-round pick for the extra year of a player?
A: I think it makes a lot of sense. The Jaguars need to fill as many holes as possible, but they also need to add some top-tier talent to their roster. The bottom and middle of the roster have already been adjusted by Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke, so I think moving up for a first-round player as opposed to adding a few more backups makes sense. Moving up would also give the Jaguars a chance to give that player a fifth-year option in the event they pan out down the road, though it doesn't guarantee said effectiveness.
Q: Every year there is at least one pick in the first round that shocks everyone. Who will it be this year and what team will do it?
A: I think the surprise first-round pick this year will be North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz. This year's offensive tackle group is deep, especially at the top, but this could learn to blind side protectors flying off the board at a rapid rate. Radunz has a ton of potential as both a pass and run blocker but he isn't a name most see as a first-rounder. I think he goes to the Kansas City Chiefs, who will have to make a bold move to ensure they can field a serviceable offensive line in 2021 for Patrick Mahomes.
Q: Are you concerned that Trevor Lawrence has looked relatively thin in recent pictures?
A: No. Lawrence is already a tall and somewhat thin player just because of his elongated frame, but you should also remember that he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and has likely spent more time rehabbing than trying to add to his frame.
Q: Will Ryquell Armstead be on the roster next year?
A: I don't think so, at least not after the signing of Carlos Hyde. Ryquell Armstead will have gone a year without appearing in a game and the current Jaguars' regime has zero ties to him, both in terms of the front office and coaching staff. Armstead isn't a speed back and is more of a power runner who can catch, so it is hard to see the Jaguars keeping a runner of his style to sit behind James Robinson and Hyde. He should at least be given a chance to compete, however.
Q: If Caleb Farley is still available at No. 25, do the Jags take him over Moehrig/Baramore/Toney?
A: This is tough. He would be by far the top player on the board from a talent perspective -- he has the tape of a top-10 pick and elite measurables. He is dealing with health questions about his back, however, and the Jaguars did already sign one starting cornerback and re-sign two key backups in Sidney Jones and Tre Herndon. I think the Jaguars would consider him but ultimately pass on him.
Q: What would you consider a success for year 1 of the Urban/Trevor era? I think 6 wins and just looking more cohesive as a team would be a huge step in the right direction.
A: I would agree with you. I think just seeing the team look competitive and like they belong more often than not would be the biggest sign of improvement. There were times the last two years where the Jaguars just looked like they were playing a different sport; eliminate those games, and the Jaguars will be much closer to winning.
Q: Assuming the defense is improved and Lawrence is what we all think he is, what's stopping the Jags from winning the division in 2021?
A: Youth. The Jaguars need to learn how to win on every level -- on the field, on the sidelines, in the front office. They have people in the building who have won at past stops, but the two most important people in the franchise are about to be a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. It is hard to bet all of your chips on a dual-rookie combo, but the Jaguars do at least have the comfort of knowing the AFC South should be taking a big step back this year.