Post-NFL Draft Jaguars Mailbag: How Would We Grade the Jaguars' Draft?

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new-look team entering the 2021 season after nine picks in last week's draft. Now, we take questions on how the Jaguars' roster could shape up moving forward.
Publish date:

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 Tim Tebow, grading the 2021 draft haul, Trevor Lawrence's fit, and more. 

Q: Do you really believe they’ll use Etienne as a legit slot option? In my opinion, utilizing him as a WR about 80% of the time he’s on the field is the only way this pick makes any sense.

A: As a legit slot option? Eh. I think he will see some snaps there from time to time, perhaps even a few times a game, but I don't envision that is where he will spend the bulk of his time. I think he will be fed targets in the passing game, but I don't think that means he will be lined up out wide. Alvin Kamara, for example, lined up at wide receiver 144 times in 661 offensive snaps last year, according to Pro Football Focus. I would guess Etienne plays receiver at a slightly lower rate than that and more often than not is in the backfield. 

Q: Would Trevon Moehrig or Christian Barmore at 25 have been acceptable?

A: It depends. I personally had both players graded as first-rounders, and each fit a big need on the Jaguars' roster. With that said, Barmore wasn't selected until No. 38 and Moehrig wasn't picked until No. 43. If you are judging value strictly on how the NFL evaluates the class, then each would have been a slight reach at No. 25. I personally would have still selected Barmore, however. 

Q: Pre-draft, the front office said "We want 5-6 starters." Do you think they achieved that? Post-draft, the Jags' media team said "it's great they didn't get too focused on next year, it's a long-term build." which doesn't quite mesh with the 5-6 starters pre-draft comment to my mind. Any thoughts on the difference between the pre and post-draft tone from the team?

A: Here is what Meyer said a week or so before the draft when it came to finding "starters" early in the draft: "Absolutely. I see that we not only have to make those picks, [but] we have to add immediate value to our team. That’s the way Trent, myself and our coaching staff look at it. That’s how important these picks are, so we’re looking at these picks to make instant impact, especially those first four picks.”

I don't think the Jaguars have changed their messaging since then. I think asking to get five to six starters out of any draft is a big ask, especially as rookies, so even four is a bit ambitious. With that said, I do think the Jaguars got three players in Lawrence, Etienne, and Campbell who will play starter snaps early on. Andre Cisco and Jay Tufele have chances to as well, while Walker Little should at least be given a chance to compete for a starting role at either left or right tackle. I think the Jaguars believe they got instant impact guys, ultimately.

 Q: Urban Meyer was always going to have a strong voice in the draft room, but just how much say did he have in your opinion?

A: A lot. Many of the Jaguars' picks were players that Meyer has previous relationships with, such as Tyson Campbell, Jay Tufele, and Luke Farrell. Farrell himself is a player who was recruited by Meyer and played under him at Ohio State, so it is hard to imagine the Jaguars pick him when they did unless Meyer had a big voice. The selection at Etienne at No. 25 also screams of Meyer-influenced pick considering Meyer's desire for speed and dual-threats on offense. 

Q: On an A to F scale, how would you grade the Jaguars' draft haul? 

A: I would give it a B. 

The selection of Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 is always going to skew this, obviously, but I thought the Jaguars still made some smart moves throughout the weekend. I wasn't especially high on Tyson Campbell as a prospect, but he was the best scheme fit left at cornerback at No. 33. Walker Little has legitimate Pro Bowl potential as a left tackle, and Andre Cisco and Jay Tufele are both players who stood out to me on tape. 

The biggest mistakes the Jaguars made, in my opinion, were taking a running back at No. 25 and the Farrell selection. Etienne was my No. 1 running back in the class, and he is by far the best fit of all 2021 running backs for the Jaguars' needs on offense, but it is hard to say running back at No. 25 overall is good value for a team that just went 1-15 and already has a starting running back. If the Jaguars wanted an offensive weapon there, I would have gone with Elijah Moore and looked at running back on Day 3. As for Farrell, I think the Jaguars would have been better off adding a player like Trey Smith. Farrell is low upside as both a blocker and receiver, so that negates some of the high marks.

Q: What are we going to do at TE?

A: Not much is my guess. I believe the Tim Tebow interest is genuine, even if it is a bit odd for a number of reasons. My gut guess right now is he signs with the team sometime before OTAs. 

The Jaguars' other options are to trade for Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who could very well end up released by Philadelphia instead. Trading for Ertz would likely mean having to also give him a new deal, a deal that would be hard to justify considering what he has produced in recent years. 

The Jaguars have more or less made their bed at tight end and they did so when they didn't land any of free agency's top tight ends. The only tight end in this draft class who would have made a major impact in 2021 would have been Kyle Pitts; once the Jaguars saw Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith sign with the Patriots, the Jaguars' tight end room more or less became guaranteed to be deprived of pass-catchers for the upcoming season.

Q: How do you grade the other 3 AFC South rivals' drafts?

A: I wasn't a fan of the Colts' draft outside of round one. Kwity Paye was my favorite EDGE prospect in the draft and I think he will give the Jaguars problems for years, but I don't think they did much more. They didn't take a left tackle, burned another pick on a day three quarterback, and took Dayo Odeyingbo in the second-round even though he had an achilies tear in January. 

The Titans came away with a tremendous player and athlete in Caleb Farley, but he is one of the biggest risks in the draft due to his injury history. With that said, I am not sure Dillon Radunz has the strength to start in Year 1, while Monty Rice seems like a big reach in the top-100. Elijah Molden was good value, however. 

Houston had one of the most bizarre drafts I can remember. They took a middling quarterback prospect with their first pick, then traded multiple picks to move up in the third round to select a raw and unproductive wide receiver in Michigan's Nico Collins.

All in all, it is hard to say the Jaguars' rivals had a weekend that is impressive on the surface. Perhaps they develop the classes into groups of strong performers, but I don't think any of the three teams hit it out of the park. 

Q: Who is the one Jaguars' pick outside of Trevor Lawrence that you are most confident in working out? 

A: Hmm.... I am going to go with Jay Tufele. I think Walker Little is going to be a good left tackle, but I would be a bold man to be that confident in someone who has hardly played in two years. I think Tufele will be essentially a lock to outperform his draft slot thanks to his high floor as a run defender and untapped potential as a pass-rusher. He is a safe pick here, but I am confident in him becoming a good NFL player. 

Q: Why was Tyson Campbell the pick over Asante Samuel Jr.?

A: My honest guess? Because Campbell has several inches of height on Samuel Jr. Samuel is one of my favorite cornerbacks in the entire class, but it has always been clear that his lack of size wouldn't make him a fit for each team. He fits great with the Chargers since head coach Brandon Staley has proven his zone scheme can help smaller cornerbacks thrive, but the Jaguars seem to place more of an emphasis on pure size and length. 

Q: Best position group on the roster now?

A: The Jaguars didn't add to the position other than a flier on Jalen Camp, but I still say wide receiver. DJ Chark/Marvin Jones/Laviska Shenault would be a strong starting receiver room for any team, and then the Jaguars have some high-ceiling depth options in Camp, Collin Johnson, Tim Jones, and Josh Imatorbhebhe. Cornerback has the most potential if Tyson Campbell and CJ Henderson hit and become solid starters, but there is more of a wait-and-see approach there than compared to wide receiver.