Jaguars Build Defense in the Draft
Updated: Jun 9, 2022
The 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone. A lot of colligate athletes show their dreams come true in Las Vegas. Seven players had their dreams come to true by way of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars came into the draft tied for the most draft picks at 12 with the Kansas City Chiefs, but only drafted seven players. They came in with needs at offensive line, wide receiver, and linebacker. With their draft, Doug Pederson, Trent Baalke, and the Jags focused on the defensive side.
It makes sense in a way, see how the Jags did in free agency bring in offensive talent such as wide receivers Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Laquan Treadwell, tight end Evan Ingram, and guard Brandon Scherff. Not to mention franchise-tagging and signing tackle Cam Robinson to a three-deal, so offense seems to be taken cared of for the time being.
Now let's look at how the Jaguars did in the draft. The grade and analyzation comes from Chad Reuter of NFL.com.
The NFL Draft got started with the Jaguars having the number one overall pick for the second consecutive year and with that pick, they chose DE Travon Walker from the University of Georgia. Walker was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team in his freshman year in Athens with 15 tackles, 3.5 for loss with 2.5 sacks in 12 contests. Played nine games as a reserve the following season recording 13 tackles, two for loss with one sack. He started all 15 games for the national champions this past college season, recording 37 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss, and two pass breakups. Walker along with Josh Allen on the edges will be something to watch in Jacksonville.
The Jags would trade back into the first round at pick 27 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select Safety Devin Lloyd from Utah. Lloyd was a two-time Butkus Award finalist for the Utes, capping off his career by leading the team to a Pac-12 title and garnering first-team Associated Press All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year accolades. The two-time team captain ranked second in the FBS with 22 tackles for loss and tied for second nationally by returning two of his four interceptions for scores. In addition, he led the Utes with 110 tackles, eight sacks and six pass breakups in 14 games. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2020, tying for second in the FBS with two tackles for loss per game with 10 total and two sacks. Also, ranked eighth in the country with 6.6 solo tackles per game with 33 solo tackles and 48 total tackles.
Chad Reuter gave the Jaguars a B+ on Day 1
The Jaguars used two picks in Day 2 on an offensive lineman and another defensive player. In the third round at pick 65, the Jags selected Center Luke Fortner from Kentucky. Resigning Cam Robinson to set the tackle position and bringing in Brandon Scherff at guard, the center position was missing, and Fortner fills that void. Earning a spot on the 2020 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his work on the field and in the community while also starting 10 games for the Wildcats at left guard his junior season. Moving to center for 2021 where he garnered first-team All-SEC accolades for his play in 13 starts. Protecting franchise QB Trevor Lawrence is top priority and Jags filled that for years to come up.
Then, the Jags went right back to defense later on in the third round at pick 70. They selected Chad Muma, Linebacker from Wyoming. Exploding onto the national scene as a senior, earning third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference honors, as well as being named a finalist for the Butkus Award, which honors the country's top linebacker. Muma ranked second in the FBS with 142 tackles and returned two of his three INTs for scores in 13 starts.
Day 2 Reuter gave the Jags another solid B+
Day 3 of the draft was pretty the same for the Jaguars with three picks, but these picks went to skill positions. In the fifth round, the Jags with pick 154 selected Running Back Snoop Conner from Mississippi. A surprising pick as the Jags already have James Robinson who was a thousand-yard back two seasons ago and drafted RB Travis Etienne fellow Clemson in the same draft as QB Trevor Lawrence. Despite only starting two games in his career with Ole Miss, one in 2020 and another in 2021, Conner was a productive scorer for the Rebels while playing in every game over the past three years finishing with 26 rushing touchdowns.
In the sixth round, the Jags went back to the defensive side as Cornerback Gregory Junior was selected at pick 197 from Quachita Baptist University. A pick where a lot of people didn't see coming. As a matter of fact, most people never heard of Quachita Baptist University. Junior's 2021 play is where he emerged. Earning first-team All-Great American Conference honors with 46 tackles (three for loss), seven pass breakups in 11 starts and attention from NFL scouts.
Then for finally time, the Jags will go defense yet again. Drafting another cornerback in the seventh round with pick 222 in Montaric Brown from Arkansas. Tied for fourth nationally with five interceptions, six pass breakups, and career-high 54 tackles in his 2021 campaign in Fayetteville led SEC coaches to voted Brown first-team All-SEC.
Reuter graded Day 3 with another B+ for the Jags.
Overall Chad Reuter gave the Jaguars a B+ grade. It was clear that the Jaguars and head coach Doug Pederson wants to build the defense back up. Probably won't be able to rekindle the defense from 2017 where Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Myles Jack and a hosting other players gave the Jaguars one of