The Jacksonville Jaguars have quite a few needs on both sides of the ball and ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. knows it. His first mock draft went live today and he has Jacksonville beefing up their defensive line and tight ends.
Here are Kiper’s thoughts on who the Jaguars pick with either of their two first round picks in April.
Spoiler alert: I like it!
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Kinlaw is just behind Brown in my defensive tackle rankings, and he has had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, cementing his status as a top-15 pick. He fills a void in Jacksonville, where former first-round pick Taven Bryan (three sacks in two seasons) hasn’t worked out. The Jags hit on edge rusher Josh Allen (10.5 sacks) in last year’s draft, going with the best player available in the top 10, but they’ll have to pay up to keep Yannick Ngakoue from hitting the free-agent market. This defense has to get an injection of youth, and the Jaguars have two first-round picks to do it.
This is a perfect pairing of value and need. Kiper has Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown going two spots earlier to the Carolina Panthers, so Kinlaw fits nicely here. He has the physical tools to play straight up on the center or line up between the guard and tackle.
He also just had a great week of Senior Bowl practice, as Kiper noted, and looked fantastic in one-on-one drills with blue chip prospects along the offensive line like Lloyd Cushenberry, who is sure to go before the end of the second round.
Kinlaw vs. Cushenberry III pic.twitter.com/7vyq0ZkjJg— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) January 22, 2020
*Larry David voice*
Big fan. Big, big, big fan.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams)
Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
When it was reported in November that Kmet said he planned to return for his senior season at Notre Dame in 2020, I took him out of my rankings for this class. Now? He has entered the draft, and he’s my new No. 1 tight end. The 6-foot-5 Kmet doesn’t have a ton of experience and only caught 60 passes over three seasons, but he flashes an all-around game that is too good to ignore. Before last year’s draft, I projected the Jaguars to take T.J. Hockenson because their need at tight end was so clear, and that hasn’t changed a year later. By the way, keep an eye on New England as a potential landing spot for Kmet; there was a Gronk-sized hole in the Pats’ offense this season, and Kmet could fill some of it.
If there’s a position you’re going to need to reach for in this year’s NFL Draft, it’s tight end... and that’s exactly what Kiper has in mind with the Jaguars going after arguably the best tight end prospect this year.
While it’s true Kmet didn’t have a lot of production in the passing game, he’s a 6’5” prospect who’s running a 4.77 40-yard dash. Compare that with Rob Gronkowski, who ran a 4.68 in the same drill. He’s a little shorter than Gronk and a few pounds lighter, but he’s still a big target who will act as a fantastic safety valve for
Gardner Minshew whomever the Jaguars start at quarterback this season.
What do you think of this first round for the Jaguars? Anyone you’d like aside from who Kiper picked? Let us know in the comments below!