Wow, a lot has changed for the Jacksonville Jaguars in a short span of time. Just three years after a run to the AFC championship, the Jaguars are looking to start their rebuild on the right foot by capitalizing on the draft on Thursday.
A flurry of trades in the past year, including All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, has armed Jacksonville with 12 selections in the 2020 draft, including two first-rounders at No. 9 and No. 20.
Twelve picks is a lot. That number only trails the Miami Dolphins in terms of draft capital. However, the organization is in a position to land even more if they decide to trade Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue.
Both could land high picks, even after Ngakoue’s public feud with Jaguars co-owner Tony Khan.
Ngakoue has made it known that he wants out of Jacksonville, but it looks like the Jaguars’ front office will hold onto him until a team can reach their price tag.
Assuming the Jaguars stay put and don’t trade Ngakoue or Fournette, what options do they have with their first-round picks?
Round 1 options
A good thing about a rebuild is that talent may be more important than fit for Jacksonville. What that means is, the organization could be in a position to take the best player available regardless of position.
Many experts predict the jags to look at either defensive tackle, cornerback and maybe wide receiver or offensive line early in the draft. With so much uncertainty in front of them, the Jags can hope that one of their targets falls to them at No.9. Maybe an Isiah Simmons or a Jeff Okudah, but those seem unlikely.
One player to watch here is Derrick Brown. Brown, at 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds is an exceptional athlete. A projected top-5 pick all year, Brown may be a victim to the trading that teams are projected to do for a quarterback. This could be a huge get for the Jags.
Brown is big enough to stuff the run and explosive enough to give teams an interior pass rush. With the ability to play any gap along the front, Brown can free up space for Josh Allen and other rushers, while also creating havoc himself. Just look at the athleticism Brown shows against Florida this past fall.
Derrick Brown. pic.twitter.com/waZMyf2qgI
— John Ellis (@OnePantherPlace) April 17, 2020
Another direction Jacksonville can go is to take the best receiver available. After the team released Marquise Lee this week, it wouldn’t hurt to grab a weapon for Gardner Minshew.
Now, the question is who Jacksonville has as their top wide receiver. Experts seem to be mixed on Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy or Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. Jeudy is widely considered as the most complete prospect, while Lamb is seen as the most explosive. It really depends on what the organization sees.
The organization may also consider drafting the replacement for the traded Ramsey, and that could be Florida cornerback CJ Henderson. Henderson’s draft stock is tough to read. Some have him going in the top 10, while others have him dropping to the Jaguars at No. 20.
One thing that’s for certain is that Henderson fits the physical mold the Jaguars like. At 6-foot-1 and 4.39 speed, the lanky corner has all the tools needed to be an elite cover man in the league.
If Henderson can clean up the mental mistakes that have plagued him throughout his college career, he has the chance to have the most productive career of all the cornerbacks taken in this draft.
The Jaguars are tough to predict on what they will do because they have needed all over the place. Fans will have to wait and see what happens in the 8 picks before them to see who is available.