Jaguars: Predicting who Jacksonville will select with the No. 9 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft
The Jacksonville Jaguars currently own the No. 9 overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Thanks to a disappointing and forgettable season in 2019, the Jaguars have elected to start from scratch as the lowly AFC South franchise will begin to rebuild its roster from the ground up — starting with the No. 9 overall pick next month.
On the other hand, though, the Jaguars’ underwhelming 2019 campaign has put Jacksonville in position to turn things around in a hurry. However, it remains to be seen as to which direction the Jaguars ultimately take upon restructuring the team’s roster as the No. 9 pick in an absolutely loaded draft class is definitely one way to kick things off.
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks
The Jacksonville Jaguars all but guaranteed that soon-to-be second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II would be the team’s starter under center next season upon trading veteran signal-caller Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears earlier this offseason. However, the Jaguars could be in position to select one of the top three quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft class as former Oregon Ducks standout Justin Herbert may still be available. There is a zero percent chance that the Jaguars will be able to select former LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow or former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa if Jacksonville stays in the No. 9 slot, leaving Herbert as the next obvious option if the team ultimately chooses to take this route.
Although this is the most unlikely scenario of the bunch, it could come into fruition if the Jaguars want to make an early splash come late April. Because the aforementioned Minshew II only saw about half a season worth of playing time as a rookie, perhaps the Jaguars brass isn’t as solid on him as it appears — especially if a talented player like Herbert is somehow still around at No. 9.
OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs
Whether it is Gardner Minshew II or Justin Herbert at the quarterback position, the Jacksonville Jaguars going forward, one thing remains certain — the team absolutely needs to protect its starting signal-caller. If the Jaguars so choose, Jacksonville can seriously upgrade its offensive line with the team’s first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft while the best possible option for the rebounding AFC South franchise is almost surely former Georgia Bulldogs offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
One of the top overall talents in this year’s entire draft class, Thomas, can no doubt have an immediate atop the professional ranks of the NFL. Thomas couldn’t be more than ready to make the leap from Georgia to the NFL as the former collegiate standout notably attained three years of starting experience in a pro-style offense during his time as a member of the heralded Bulldogs.
It will, in all likelihood, be former Iowa Hawkeyes offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs that becomes the first offensive lineman off the board as a result of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With a few blocker-needy teams ahead of the Jaguars, Wirfs will surely be long gone when Jacksonville steps up to the plate. Thomas may still be available, though, while the Jaguars will need to pounce in order to snag a player that can have such a tremendous impact in his rookie season.
WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma Sooners
There is no doubt that the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to make a significant upgrade at a premiere position upon making the team’s first-round selection next month. Whether it is on the offensive or defensive side of the football, the Jaguars will need to select a player that can come in and have a positive effect on the team’s rebuilding process. With that notion in mind, perhaps addressing the wide receiver position happens sooner rather than later for Jacksonville.
Although there are more than a few options in terms of selecting a top tier wide receiver, it appears as though former Oklahoma Sooners wideout CeeDee Lamb should be the first pass-catcher to come off the board in April. With former Alabama Crimson Tide standouts Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III also in the mix for such an honor, Lamb could provide the Jaguars with both a trusted target over the middle and a deep threat to air it out.
Luckily for the Jaguars, Jacksonville will pick ahead of the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively. It is no secret that both the Jets and Raiders remain slated to make upgrades at the wide receiver position with the Denver Broncos, possibly eyeing a pass catcher at No. 15 as well.