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What Re-Grade Do the Jaguars Receive for the 2021 Draft Class?

Do the Jaguars get high marks for the 2021 draft class a year after the fact?

There was never any question leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft just how important the event would be for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Not only were the Jaguars picking No. 1 overall for the first time in franchise history and set to land generational quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence, but the Jaguars also had four other picks in the top-65 and enough ammo on Day 3 to make an impact to all areas of the roster. 

One year later, though, does it look like the Jaguars and general manager Trent Baalke navigated the waters well, or does it instead look like the Jaguars had more swings and misses than base hits?

While draft grades immediately following a draft are relatively useless, it is always worthwhile to take looks at how drafts play out down the road. The typical rule of thumb is to grade a draft after three years, but you can also find value in grading drafts a year or two years after the picks are made. 

In this case, Pro Football Focus took a look at the 2021 draft class and gives out grades a year later, comparing them to their initial grades. For references sake, here is the Jaguars' crop from a year ago. 

No. 1, Round 1: QB Trevor Lawrence 

No. 25, Round 1: RB Travis Etienne

No. 33, Round 2: CB Tyson Campbell

No. 45, Round 2: OT Walker Little

No. 65, Round 3: S Andre Cisco

No. 106, Round 4: DL Jay Tufele

No. 121, Round 4: EDGE Jordan Smith 

No. 145, Round 5: TE Luke Farrell 

No. 209, Round 6: WR Jalen Camp

PFF gave the Jaguars a B+ last May for the 2021 class, mostly lauding the Jaguars' selection of Lawrence at No. 1. Here is what PFF had to say about the rest of the Jaguars' draft class a year ago.

"Jacksonville hit a home run by landing Lawrence but struck out by taking Etienne with its second first-round pick. Unlike Harris, Etienne is an explosive play waiting to happen; he racked up 37 runs that resulted in a gain of 25-plus yards since 2018, nine more than any other FBS back. He also greatly improved as a receiver, grading out as the best running back in that facet last season. Still, he won’t generate the value of a true first-round pick — no running back will.

"Investing in the cornerback position is never a bad strategy, but Jacksonville is adding to a group that already has a lot more invested in the incumbent starters — specifically, 2020 first-round pick C.J. Henderson and free-agent acquisition Shaquill Griffin. Campbell is also an outside corner, which leaves him as a future option more than an early candidate to see playing time unless Henderson can feature in the slot. The elephant in the room is that Campbell was the 108th-ranked player on PFF’s Big Board."

"Little’s NFL projection requires some imagination given that he’s played just 72 total snaps over the course of the last two seasons. A 2019 injury and 2020 opt-out have kept Little from being able to show his development on a football field. This still stands out as a strong bet for the Jaguars given Little’s physical tools and an 81.2 pass-blocking grade as a true sophomore at Stanford in 2018. Little was PFF’s OT4 and a top-30 player overall on the big board."

"Cisco’s tape is a rollercoaster. He has some of the best range, size and playmaking ability in this class, tallying 26 combined pass breakups and interceptions across 24 games at Syracuse. Jacksonville will just have to live with some reads from Cisco that take him out of position, opening the door for big plays by the opposing offense. The Jaguars are clearly placing an emphasis on the secondary, with both of their Day 2 picks addressing that group.

Smith has an NFL build for the edge and was highly productive at UAB. He’s coming off back-to-back seasons with 90-plus PFF pass-rushing grades. He just doesn’t look like an NFL athlete based on his pro-day testing, namely a 7.82-second three-cone time that ranks in the third percentile at the position."

But what about a year later? With the Jaguars getting a B+ from PFF in 2021, does the grade remain the same or grow worse a year later, especially after an unproductive year from Lawrence? 

Well, according to PFF, the grade remains just as it was. Yes, there were production concerns, but there were also flashes from Lawrence and Campbell, who clearly outplayed his pre-draft ranking by PFF.

"With so many selections, the evaluation of this draft is all over the map. Trevor Lawrence is still a big TBD even though his Week 18 performance against the Colts, in which he earned an 83.8 grade, showed why he was the no-brainer at No. 1 overall," PFF said. 

"Travis Etienne missed the entire season with injury, Walker Little was always drafted to be a backup as a rookie and former head coach Urban Meyer forgot Andre Cisco even existed. Tyson Campbell had an inconsistent rookie campaign but made a handful of high-end plays, finishing with two picks and eight pass breakups."

This is a fair grade for the Jaguars at this point. Heck, a plain B or even a B- likely would have been just as fair. The Jaguars got serious flashes out of Lawrence and Campbell, but they still need both to prove they can be consistent. Cisco and Little played well when they played, but those chances came few and far in between. Etienne missed the entire year, while Tufele and Smith had redshirt years, Farrell was a non-factor, and Camp didn't make the team.