As we continue to move around the 2024 NFL offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves at a crossroads. After tallying a rather disappointing 9-8 record and the disappointment of missing out on the 2024 playoffs, the team's brass must now pivot to draft strategy. They should seek the kind of game-changing talent that can elevate the franchise to the next tier. It's a crucial juncture, with the right picks holding the potential to transform the Jaguars' fortunes. As we turn our attention to the 2024 NFL Draft, several under-the-radar prospects could provide just the spark Jacksonville needs. Here, we’ll talk about three sleeper picks that could don teal and black next season. These are players who offer a blend of talent, upside, and the kind of gridiron grit that could turn them into impactful players in the NFL.

Jacksonville Jaguars' 2023 Season Recap

The Jacksonville Jaguars' 2023 season was a rollercoaster ride. It culminated in a 9-8 finish that left fans and pundits alike pondering what might have been. Despite showcasing flashes of brilliance and moments of undeniable talent, consistency proved elusive for the Jaguars. They often found themselves a step behind the AFC's elite. This was especially true in the last few weeks of the season. In a conference as competitive as the AFC, the margin for error is slim. Sadly, Jacksonville's inability to close out key games ultimately cost them a spot in the playoffs. The 2023 season, while not devoid of silver linings, highlighted the need for strategic reinforcements across the board. It set the stage for a pivotal offseason.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson and QB Trevor Lawrence

Offseason Context

The Jaguars experienced a setback in free agency when Trevor Lawrence's receiver corps took a hit. Recall that Calvin Ridley chose the Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville, bolstering an AFC South rival. Nevertheless, the addition of former Buffalo Bill Gabe Davis as a competent second option at wide receiver offers some consolation.

On a brighter note, the Jaguars managed to enhance their defense during the free agency period. The acquisition of Ronald Darby on a two-year deal worth $8.5 million represents a savvy investment in the cornerback position. Furthermore, significantly bolsters the Jaguars' interior pass rush. They previously struggled in this area. By applying the franchise tag to Josh Allen, Jacksonville alleviates some of the urgency to hunt for an edge rusher in the draft.

Snagging Mitch Morse from the Bills is another coup for the Jaguars. He should add much-needed consistency at the center position. Yes, the wide receiver need may have intensified for the draft. However, Jacksonville effectively tackled several key areas through free agency.

Here we will look at the three sleeper rookie prospects that the Jacksonville Jaguars have to target in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Thai Washington, WR, USC

Thai Washington is a wide receiver hailing from USC. He stands out in an exceptionally talented class of wide receivers. Washington's track record of surpassing 600 yards for three consecutive seasons, and breaking the 1000-yard mark this year, showcases his remarkable consistency. Excelling as a primary slot receiver, he demonstrates an adeptness for navigating the middle of the field and connecting on deep plays. Washington's dynamic playmaking skills complement his speed and reliable hands. These position him as a potential hidden gem in the draft. His proven ability to elevate routine plays into moments of brilliance could significantly enhance the Jaguars' offensive dynamic. Lawrence would love throwing to this kid.

Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan

Turning to the defensive line, the Jaguars have made strides by signing Arik Armstead. However, the aging core of their interior defense signals a need for youthful vigor. Enter Kris Jenkins. He is a defensive tackle from Michigan and emerges as a prime candidate to inject fresh talent into the Jaguars' lineup. Jenkins boasts an impressive 8.94 relative athletic score, likely catching the eye of general manager Trent Baalke. He can vigorously defend against the run with the potential to disrupt the pass game, too. This makes him a valuable asset for Jacksonville's defensive strategy.

Michigan defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (DL13) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Delmar Glaze, OL, Maryland

On the offensive front, the Jaguars have solidified their interior line with the re-signing of Ezra Cleveland. They also restructured Brandon Scherff's contract, alongside the acquisition of Mitch Morse. Despite these enhancements, the pursuit of depth in the offensive line remains prudent. Delmar Glaze, originating from Maryland, offers versatility with experience at both tackle positions. His transition to the interior line seems inevitable due to his physical attributes, but his adaptability makes him an ideal choice for a utility role within the team's offensive line strategy. Glaze's potential for growth could see him evolving into a key starter, ideally timed with the twilight of Scherff's tenure.

Looking Ahead

The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to the future and want to build a competitive roster for the upcoming NFL seasons. As such, targeting these sleeper prospects in the 2024 Draft could be a strategic move. Thai Washington, Kris Jenkins, and Delmar Glaze are three of those sleepers. Each brings unique strengths and potential to the table and can offer the Jaguars opportunities to address key areas of need. All this while infusing their lineup with fresh talent.

With Washington’s electrifying playmaking, Jenkins’ formidable presence on the defensive line, and Glaze’s versatility on the offensive front, Jacksonville has the chance to draft not just for immediate needs. These will help the team's development of a robust, dynamic roster capable of challenging the status quo in the NFL. Focusing on these under-the-radar talents could very well be the difference-maker the Jaguars need to ascend from pretenders to contenders in the seasons to come.