Will the Jacksonville Jaguars be able to make the NFL Playoffs again next season?

The Jaguars ended the 2022 season with a record of 9-8, good enough to take first place in the AFC South and fourth place in the AFC. They earned a miraculous win over the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional round. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for four touchdowns and 288 passing yards as Jacksonville earned a 31-30 win over the Chargers in TIAA Bank Field.

“Our defense just kept getting stops for us, we been in that situation before – not that many points,” Lawrence said after the win over the Chargers. “That's the thing, just the belief in this team. It's really cool to see what could happen when everybody believes. I wouldn't have been able to do what I did today and what the offense was able to do to bounce back and also the defense, if we didn't believe in one another.”

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The Jaguars welcomed 13 rookies in their 2023 draft class. They shored up their depth on offense with the selections of Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison, Penn State tight end Brenton Strange and Auburn running back Tank Bigsby with their first three picks. They turned their focus to defense with their next four choices, taking two linebackers, a defensive end and a safety in the fourth and fifth rounds.

Which 2023 Jaguars Draft class member will end up being a rookie sleeper? And how will he fit with a Jacksonville team looking to build upon its success in 2022?

Jaguars Rookie Sleeper: Antonio Johnson

The Jaguars will need to fortify their passing defense if they will continue to make hopeful runs in the NFL Playoffs.

Jacksonville ended the 2022 season with 4,055 passing yards allowed and a 64.1% opponent completion percentage. The figures put them at 28th and 16th in the NFL, respectively. Safeties Andre Cisco, Rayshawn Jenkins, cornerback Tyson Campbell and linebacker Devin Lloyd led the team with three interceptions apiece. Cornerback Darious Williams took first place on the Jaguars with 16 deflected passes.

Antonio Johnson, a former 4-star recruit from East St. Louis, Ill., played in 28 games during his three seasons with the Aggies. He combined for 164 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, eight pass deflections, four forced fumbles and one interception.

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher highly praised Johnson during the team's Pro Day Press Conference.

“Let me tell you something; competitor, tough, not many safeties can play second level, what I'm saying down in the box and be physical, but then have the ball skills to play on the top end and the third level,” Fisher said, via On3 national news desk writer Kaiden Smith. “The safeties that go high like himself, I call coverage guys and other guys are tackle guys, but he has the ability to do both.

“And see in high school he was a heck of an offensive player, he had 1,000 yards receiving his senior year. So his ability to judge the ball, play the ball in a deep part of the field and cover is elite, which in the pro game you got to do.”

If Antonio Johnson can continue to build upon his stellar seasons with Texas A&M, he can be a valued depth piece behind two projected Jaguars safety starters in Jenkins and Cisco.