The 2020 NFL Draft is just about a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be the ninth team evaluated.
The Jacksonville Jaguars thought they were a quarterback away from being contenders again. The Jacksonville Jaguars have regressed since making it to the AFC Championship Game during the 2017-18 season. Many believe that was on the shoulders of quarterback Blake Bortles. That is why the Jaguars threw a four-year $88 million contract at former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Foles had been coming off his second season in a row where he had brought the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs in relief of an injured Carson Wentz. The Jaguars finished the season 6-10 and have started a major rebuild starting with the firing of Tom Coughlin, but surprisingly head coach Doug Marrone kept his job. The Jaguars have moved some extremely talented players on their roster to free salary space and rebuild the franchise.
Offensively the Jaguars seemed to have a gameplan in place. They were going to be a run-heavy team again and rely on former first-round pick Leonard Fournette. But also have Nick Foles drive down the field and use their big-play wide receivers. Coming into the year the Jaguars did not have a true number one receiver but had a talented group including Dede Westbrook, Keenan Cole, Marquise Lee, DJ Chark and Chris Conley. This dynamic worked for about half the first game, until Nick Foles broke his collarbone which forced sixth-round draft pick Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew into a starting role. Minshew thrived and his play gave Jacksonville national attention. Thus started Minshew Mania. An underrated storyline of Minshew mania was the development of former second-round pick DJ Chark into a number one receiver. Chark had over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns this season. After announcing that Minshew and Foles will compete for the starting job in 2020 the Jaguars traded Nick Foles away to the Chicago Bears. This offense will be Minshew’s to run in 2020.
The unfortunate truth is that in two seasons the Jaguars have dismantled their ‘Sacksonville’ defense that dominated the league two years ago. During the offseason, linebacker Telvin Smith announced that he will not be joining the team in 2019. Then after starting the year, slowly Jalen Ramsey put pressure on the Jaguars to trade him, saying that he would not re-sign with the team. The team responded by trading Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams for two first-round picks. Since then the Jaguars have traded away Calais Campbell and AJ Bouye away to dump their contracts. The only legit players on this defense that are still around from that elite defense are Abry Jones, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue might be the next to go after expressing that he no longer wants to be this the team and hitting him with the franchise tag. The Jaguars defense has added Joe Schobert, Rashaan Melvin and defensive tackles Al Woods and Rodney Gunter. But that is not enough to turn this defense into the force they were a few years ago.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
First Round (two picks): No. 9, 20
Second Round (one pick): No. 42
Third Round (one pick): No. 73
Fourth Round (three picks): No. 116, 118, 140
Fifth Round (two picks): No. 165, 170
Sixth Round (two picks): No. 189, 206
Seventh Round (one pick): No. 223
Cornerback- In less than a calendar year, Jacksonville went from arguably the best secondary to the worst in football after trading away AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. Jacksonville failed to close a deal with former first-round pick Darqueze Dennard who had previously agreed to sign with him. Their best cornerbacks on the roster are Rashaan Melvin and DJ Hayden
Safety- Ronnie Harrison has shown a lot of promise to be one of Jacksonville’s starting safeties, but they need to bring in another starting-caliber safety to go with him
Left tackle- Cam Robinson has not played fantastic since joining the team. In the last year of his deal, it could be time to reevaluate the position
Wide Reciever- DJ Chark showed a lot of promise this past season, but fell off later in the season. If Jacksonville falls in love with one of these year’s top receivers they might pull the trigger on bringing one of them in
Edge Rusher- Josh Allen felt like a luxury pick last year, but after trading away Calais Campbell and possibly moving Yannick Ngakoue it was smart they drafted him. Jacksonville might have to draft someone to put opposite Allen next season
Running Back- Leonard Fournette has rushed for 1,000+ yards in two out of his first three seasons, but has also dealt with a nagging ankle injury since entering the league. With his fifth-year option coming up, it is possible that Fournette becomes a casualty of this rebuild and has his option declined. If so, the Jaguars should draft a running back to have in case Fournette isn’t with the team in 2021.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 9: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Jaguars can go in many different directions with this pick. This current regime usually goes with the best player available with their first-round selection. Derrick Brown could be the best player on the board come their time to pick. He also addresses Jacksonville’ need for an impactful interior defensive lineman that they haven’t had since first trading for Marcell Darius and signing Malik Jackson. Brown is also a safe pick for a team trying to rebuild just like when the Dolphins selected Christian Wilkins in the first round to start off their rebuild last season.
Pick No. 20: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Jacksonville is about to have a huge drop off in cornerback production next year. There are very few options left for Jacksonville to sign that could be an immediate starter and upgrade at the position. Jeff Gladney is the third-best cornerback in a very talented cornerback group. He isn’t going to be a lockdown cornerback in his first year, but has the traits to develop into an elite level cornerback.
Pick No. 42: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
A player like Winfield would be a home run for Jacksonville. Their defense has seemed to lose their identity. If healthy Antoine Winfield can be one of the best players along Jacksonville’s defense. He has the versatility to play all over the secondary. His pro player comp is Tyrann Mathieu. If Winfield can reach his full potential he can be seeing Pro Bowls very early on in his career and is the type of player to be named captain early on in his career.
Pick No. 69: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
After the first round there is no certainty which tackles are going where. This would be a great landing spot for Ezra Cleveland because of the fact that he is a developmental prospect. He could compete with Cam Robinson for the starting left tackle job. If he loses, then he tries next year when Robinson is likely elsewhere. If he wins Jacksonville moves Robinson for a day three pick during final cuts. Ezra Cleveland’s ceiling is a lot higher than where Cam Robinson is playing right now.