The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
The Jaguars secured the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after winning their first matchup of the 2020 season, then losing 15 in a row. Their season was fraught with blow-outs, quarterback changes and the firings of both head coach Doug Marrone and general manager David Caldwell. In short, 2020 was so catastrophic, it set them up for a total and comprehensive rebuild.
Their offseason is the more interesting story. Jacksonville hired two-time CFB National Champion Urban Meyer to be their head coach and former 49ers GM and PFWA Executive of the Year winner Trent Baalke to take over as general manager.
The Jaguars have also been aggressive in free agency, as they had the most cap space in the NFL. They have added a swath of free agents including cornerback Shaquil Griffin and wide receiver Marvin Jones. With five picks in the first three rounds, including the first overall selection, the Jags are poised to take a big step forward with a new regime in 2021
2021 NFL Draft Picks
The Jaguars have five picks in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick) – Nos. 1 & 25
Second Round (one pick) – Nos. 33 & 45
Third Round (one pick) – No. 65
Quarterback- Gardner Minshew may be a fan favorite, but the Jaguars need a sure-fire franchise quarterback. With the first overall pick in the draft, there is no better time to take their pick of the litter and start building around him.
Defensive back- Shaquil Griffin is a nice pickup, but Jacksonville needs more help on the back end of the defense. Do not be surprised if they address both cornerback and safety in the 2021 draft, or even duplicate their efforts at one or both of the defensive back positions.
Defensive line– While Josh Allen has the end of the defensive line all sewn up, the Jaguars need a lot of help on the inside of the line. Jacksonville was in the bottom three against the run in 2020, so defensive tackle should be a big priority.
Left Tackle/Offensive Line– Since the Jags are getting a brand new quarterback, it would make a lot of sense to invest in protecting him. They re-signed Cam Robinson, but depth on the offensive line to keep their new man upright is a smart move.
Pass Catchers- This may be a lesser need, but a new offense needs new blood when it comes to pass catching talent. Jacksonville can wait a year on high-level talent, but if a highly rated prospect falls to them, it would behoove them to grab a new receiver or tight end for their new QB.
2021 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 1: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This one is beyond a no-brainer.
Trevor Lawrence is the most highly-touted prospect in a very long time. He is the premiere quarterback talent in a draft that is relatively replete with options at the position. Lawrence is tall, has an incredible arm and has does nothing but win at Clemson. What else is there to say about the first overall pick? The Jaguars need a quarterback and it is a virtual certainty that they will grab the most sure-fire prospect since Andrew Luck.
Do not be fooled if in the coming weeks Jacksonville releases a statement intimating that “their options are open” regarding the first pick. They are not. Lawrence will be a Jaguar on April 29.
Pick No. 25: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Barmore is one of the best defensive tackle talents in the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, he has the perfect size for a player who can be a dual threat run-stopper and pass-rusher from the interior offensive line.
Even though his college career was short, he made his presence felt on every snap. With eight sacks in 2020 alone, his swim moves are perfect for rushing the passer. And Barmore’s size alone lets him eat up enough space between the tackles to improve the Jaguars run defense.
Pick No. 33: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
If the Jaguars are going to take a tackle, the top of the second round is the time to do so. Free agency was replete with offensive linemen and the only move of note the Jaguars made was to resign their own, Cam Robinson
Liam Eichenberg was the replacement for Mike McGlinchey at Notre Dame and he did not disappoint. In fact, he filled those shoes flawlessly. That is very much saying something, as McGlinchey was an incredible college talent and has carried that momentum onto the 49ers line.
Other tackles, like Texas’ Samuel Cosmi, will be available here. But, if the Jaguars want to start a competition to protect Lawrence or shuffle some pieces around and experiment with multiple talented linemen, Eichenberg is the favorite. Teams can almost never go wrong when they pick from offensive line factories like Notre Dame and Iowa.
Pick No. 45: Asante Samuel, Jr., CB, FSU
Here is where things get interesting. Undervalued players that represent needs for Jacksonville will be all over the board in the middle of the second round. Players like WR Kadarius Toney, TE Pat Freiermuth, OL Dillon Radunz and DT Jay Tufele could all very much be available here.
Unfortunately though, their defensive back need has not been addressed according to this profile and drafting one here may be a reach. A trade down may be necessary here to not reach too far and get an overvalued corner.
With that being said, Asante Samuel, Jr. is a safe pick. He is the son of a former NFL cornerback, so he clearly has the built-in pedigree of an NFL talent. He a noticeable rise in production in 2020 and was even an ACC First Team selection. With three interceptions, a forced fumble and a top-70 showing in passes defended during a pandemic-ravaged 2020 season, Samuel proved he is worth a second round choice.
Pick No. 65: Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
Sure-fire safeties are hard to come by in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jacksonville may want to avoid the position in the first three rounds completely, but the drop off in terms of talent is steep after the top-10.
Washington’s tackle numbers in 2020 were nothing impressive at all. His 2019 season, however was highlighted by five interceptions and a career high in tackles. Assuming the Jaguars would give him the benefit of the doubt for his 2020 campaign (due to the aforementioned pandemic), there is reason to believe he can make a difference right away on the back end of the defense.
Featured Image courtesy of Logos World
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