This is the division which contains the most woeful team in the NFL from last season. That would be the JAGUARS, which means this division will add the consensus best overall player in this Draft in TREVOR LAWRENCE/QB, once the Draft gets underway. With football sage URBAN MEYER now at the helm, this team has a solid chance to experience a reversal of fortune and this Draft will be a big part of that turnaround. The JAGS possess 10 Draft Picks and have already landed a solid VFA group. Worst to first? I doubt it. But they may escape the basement, which could be owned by the TEXANS, given that QB WATSON wants out, and is also embroiled in a massive list of civil lawsuits. Stay tuned to that soap opera folks.
Round 3, Pick 67 IFEATU MELIFONWU CB Syracuse
Round 4, Pick 109 TAMORRION TERRY WR Florida State
Round 5, Pick 147 BOBBY BROWN DT Texas A&M
Round 5, Pick 158 BEN CLEVELAND OG Georgia
Round 6, Pick 195 NOAH GRAY TE Duke
Round 6, Pick 203 JONATHAN MARSHALL DT Arkansas
Round 6, Pick 212 DARRICK FORREST S Cincinnati
Round 7, Pick 233 KENE NWANGWU RB Iowa State
This crew was hard to project for 2 basic reasons. New GM NICK CASERIO was a busy guy signing and dealing for over 30 roster additions during the VFA period. Which, given the sorry personnel scenario he inherited, was the right thing to do. In addition, the team also has the sorry state of having no Picks until Round 3. I found it difficult to identify what to pick next. So in the end, I did pick players I thought were of good value at the Pick. TERRY has appeal because their top 3 vet wideouts are all under 6′ tall. TERRY is a solid 6’3/207 with good athleticism. The heart of their secondary is fairly solid, but a big, athletic DB like MELIFONWU could possibly make a solid S in time. CLEVELAND is a huge, but fairly athletic guy who might make a push for a starting OG slot, sooner rather than later. The sleeper of the group could well be RB NGWANGU, who played behind a star in BREECE HALL at Iowa St, but showed flashes of some serious speed and balance in limited touches.
Round 1, Pick 21 ALIJAH VERA-TUCKER OL Southern Cal
Round 2, Pick 54 KELVIN JOSEPH CB Kentucky
Round 4, Pick 127 JEROME JOHNSON DT Indiana
Round 5, Pick 165 TONY POLJAN TE Virginia
Round 6, Pick 206 DANIEL MOORE OT Texas A&M
Round 7, Pick 248 JOSHUAH BLEDSOE S Missouri
Retire PHILIP RIVERS, enter CARSON WENTZ via trade. So much for the early excitement. Now what’s up with the group above? Their 2nd best OL CASTONZO retired. The drafting of VERA-TUCKER may or may not have filled that void. Most seem to feel that he’s best inside at OG, but he looked great at LT last season for the Trojans. My guess is that he gets an early Training Camp audition in CASTONZO’s LT slot, but if his short arms (32 1/8″) are too challenging, then they will slide him inside and look for OT help elsewhere. KELVIN JOSEPH had an excellent season at Kentucky, after transferring from LSU. Maturity and technique may be lacking a bit, but talent is not. JOHNSON, in Round 4, was underrated in college, but is a difference maker that dominated in the Big Ten showdown with Ohio State. POLJAN is a very large man (6’7/263) with high end potential, but underachieved in college, overall.
Round 1, Pick 1 TREVOR LAWRENCE QB Clemson
Round 1, Pick 25 CHRISTIAN DARRISAW OT Virginia Tech
Round 2, Pick 33 JAYSON OWEH DE Penn State
Round 2, Pick 45 RASHOD BATEMAN WR Minnesota
Round 3, Pick 65 RICHIE GRANT S UCF
Round 4, Pick 106 PAYTON TURNER DE Houston
Round 4, Pick 130 TREY SERMON RB Ohio State
Round 5, Pick 145 KENNY YEBOAH TE Ole Miss
Round 5, Pick 170 MONTY RICE LB Georgia
Round 7, Pick 249 ZECH McPHEARSON CB Texas Tech
With 4 Picks in the first 44 of the Draft, they ended up with 4 of my Top 50 players for their rebuilding roster. Of course, they began with LAWRENCE who we have been in luv with since his freshman season. KIPER refers to him as his 4th highest ranked QB in his 40+ years of ranking pro prospects, behind only ELWAY, ANDREW LUCK, PEYTON… in that order. Then they got DARRISAW to man an OT spot and protect him. BATEMAN will upgrade their receiving corps immediately, YEBOAH at TE a bit later. OWEH may be the best overall athlete in this Draft, but they will have to figure out how to best utilize his freakish size and athleticism. He’s another CLOWNEY in my eyes. SERMON will add solid depth to their RB room. The rest of their Draftees are all defenders that should be better than the guys on the vet roster that they are about to replace. And that is important when you look at the team’s defensive stats for 2010. Nice start, Mr. MEYER. Maybe this team will excite the fans enough to fill the stadium, and Owner SHAD KHAN can stop thinking about moving the team to England.
Round 1, Pick 22 KADARIUS TONEY WR/RS Florida
Round 2, Pick 53 ALEX LEATHERWOOD OL Alabama
Round 3, Pick 85 AARON ROBINSON CB UCF
Round 3, Pick 100 DAYO ODEYINGBO DL Vanderbilt
Round 4, Pick 126 TRE BROWN NB Oklahoma
Round 5, Pick 166 TRE’ McKITTY TE Georgia
Round 6, Pick 205 EVAN McPHERSON K Florida
Round 6, Pick 215 DREW DALMAN OC Stanford
Round 7, Pick 232 TEDARRELL SLATON DT Florida
Every selection for this team was important this year. They lost quite a few significant starters to VFA this off-season. However, the biggest loss may be that of their Offensive Coordinator ARTHUR SMITH. Perhaps their biggest addition defensively, ODEYINGBO, will spend 2021 as a Redshirt year after tearing his Achilles in a Performance Camp. TONEY should be a big boost to their offense, as will LEATHERWOOD, whether he plays OT, or more likely, OG. DALMAN has NFL genes from his dad, Chris, and had a 2-year starter’s job at OC for the Cardinal, and he’s a smart player. Their TE group looks a bit feeble, and they hope the physical attributes of McKITTY can be refined as an all-around TE. After a disastrous adventure at Kicker last season, the highly touted McPHERSON will be counted on to shore things up. ROBINSON could start on one outside CB spot, while the feisty and quick TRE BROWN may grab the Nickel Back role in a rebuilding secondary. SLATON is monstrous physically, at 6’4/330, and just needs to be immovable on the Nose to contribute greatly to defensive improvement. This is the most important Draft of VRABEL’s 3-year stint as the TITANS Head Coach.
Some nice draft work here for some teams that really needed to get help from the 2021 Draft. The division got 6 of my Top 50 prospects, with 4, rightly so, going to Jacksonville. If LAWRENCE indeed improves the Jags QB spot immediately, the team from North Florida could be the most improved in the NFL. Going from 1 Win, to say 6, could be doable for URBAN upon his return to the Sunshine State. He will want more, and that’s what JAGS fans want to hear, but the Draft is a bit more limiting than recruiting high school kids to your campus.
Next up the NFC North!