After a stunning late-season comeback plus a shocking Wild Card round win, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a ton of momentum on their side heading into the offseason. Trevor Lawrence looked great in his first year under head coach Doug Pederson, and all remnants of the type of team Urban Meyer once led have finally been gotten rid of.
Playing in the AFC South division certainly makes their future quite rosy, but so does their roster construction. With plenty of their core pieces on rookie deals and the payroll in an overall solid spot, this team has established a buildable base that will help support a successful future.
If anything from this past season is a sign of things to come, then this Jaguars team should be a part of the AFC postseason picture for many years to come – but their draft classes need to reflect the direction they are heading in. GM Trent Baalke has a bunch of draft picks at his disposal, and not selecting inside the top 10 for the second time in the past 16 years will certainly be different.
OT – Georgia
NFL teams can never have too many capable offensive tackles capable of starting, and adding a player like Georgia’s Broderick Jones would be an easy choice for Baalke in the first round.
The 6’4” monster of a blindside protector could immediately plug into the starting lineup and protect Lawrence, utilizing his power and athleticism to get out on the perimeter as well. While his technique is a bit of a question mark, he has plenty of time to improve upon that once he receives the tutelage of an NFL cochin staff.
Andre Carter II
EDGE – Army
The final potential piece to the puzzle for Jacksonville is adding talent to their edge rusher group, and Army’s Andre Carter II is a first-round prospect oozing with tons of potential.
Quickness, fluidity, and a high motor all describe Carter’s play style, and with the recent change to the Armed Forces policy which will allow for Carter to make the jump to the NFL, his path to being a first-round pick is ripe for the Jaguars to take advantage of.
Carter’s stats may not be what you expect to see from a fringe first-round prospect, but playing for a member of the Armed Forces doesn’t often put players on the first-round radar so that just means Carter is that good of a prospect. Adding him to a room that also includes Josh Allen would go a long way to solidifying the trenches for Jacksonville and helping stop the run.
CB – South Carolina
Addressing their defensive secondary woes likely is going to be near the top of the list for Baalke and the front office come April, and South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith should be a prime DB candidate at this point in the first round.
In a weaker CB class than in the past few years, Smith should see himself regularly listed among the top three options, and the Jaguars would love to be able to snag him here. A small move-up may be needed to ensure they get him, but Smith could fall to them at 24th overall, and he would be a slam dunk.