NFL.com Ranks Jaguars’ 2019 Draft Class Third-Best in the League
It was no secret in Jacksonville last year that the Jaguars' 2019 draft class was one of the best in the league last year after the early returns gave the club one of the most encouraging classes in the franchise's recent history.
From top pick Josh Allen (selected seventh overall) leading all rookies in sacks with 10.5, to second-round selection Jawaan Taylor playing every single snap on offense, to the excitement that quarterback Gardner Minshew II brought to the team from Week 1 until the end of the season, the Jaguars had copious success stories from their rookie class.
- Round 1: (No. 7 overall) DE Josh Allen
- Round 2: (No. 35 overall) OT Jawaan Taylor
- Round 3: (No. 69 overall) TE Josh Oliver
- Round 3: (No. 98 overall) LB Quincy Williams
- Round 5: (No. 140 overall) RB Ryquell Armstead
- Round 6: (No. 178 overall) QB Gardner Minshew
- Round 7: (No. 235 overall) DT Dontavius Russell
The positivity surrounding last year's draft haul isn't only found in Jacksonville, either. In a ranking of all 32 draft classes from 2019, NFL.com has listed the Jaguars' group as the third-best in the league, behind only the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jacksonville was given an A- grade, one of only eight A's handed out.
"The Jock Strap King posted a 21:6 TD-to-INT ratio and went 6-6 as a rookie starter for a team that finished the season at 6-10. Fumbles were an issue, but overall, he clearly outplayed prized free-agent signee Nick Foles. Pretty nice return on the 178th overall selection, no?" Gennaro Filice wrote.
"Five rounds and 171 picks prior, the Jags had Allen fall right into their lap, and the no-brainer selection paid off in a major way, racking up 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Resident draft guru Daniel Jeremiah ranked Allen as his No. 5 overall rookie (second on defense, behind only Nick Bosa) and offered this enticing appraisal: 'He has the potential to eventually lead the league in sacks.'
Allen and Minshew are the clear highlights of the draft class for obvious reasons. They play the two most prominent positions in football and were among the most high profile of all rookies in 2019, with Minshew's personality, aesthetic, and play catching the attention of the league, and Allen making the Pro Bowl after leading rookies and sacks and setting a Jaguars' rookie sack record.
Oliver, Williams, and Russell didn't have great success, with Oliver and Russell combining for only seven appearances and Williams ending his season on injured reserve. But the Jaguars' other picks, Taylor and Armstead, were encouraging. Taylor was the only offensive rookie to play 100% of his team's snaps, while Armstead scored two touchdowns, only one fewer than starting running back Ryquell Armstead.
If the rest of the Jaguars' draft class produced better year one results, they likely would have had the consensus best class. But hitting on your first two picks in addition to finding a serviceable starting quarterback in the sixth-round is a draft scenario most teams would be head over heels for.
Allen and Taylor are entrenched as starters moving forward, while Minshew's designation as the starting quarterback for 2020 is still up in the air. Oliver and Williams are going to have to earn starting spots in training camp, while Armstead is the favorite to enter 2020 as the primary backup running back. Russell's spot on the roster is far from secure after he failed to crack a lineup that had defensive tackle issues all season long.
Overall, the Jaguars' rookie class appeared in 69 games, starting 34. At the end of the day, the Jaguars drafted a quarterback, defensive end, and offensive tackle who were among the best rookies at their positions in 2019, the signs of a home run draft class.