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NFL mock draft 2020: Pre-free agency Jaguars 7-round projection

Will the Jaguars go big early on in the 2020 NFL Draft?

NFL Combine - Day 2 Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

With the start of the new league year — and thus free agency — only a week away, the Jaguars are already narrowing down their draft boards getting set for the 2020 NFL Draft.

In our last mock draft prior to the NFL Combine, the Jaguars selected standout linebacker Isiah Simmons with their ninth overall selection. Now, with Simmons blowing away scouts at the NFL Combine, the likelihood of him remaining on the board at No. 9, is slim.

For the Jaguars, their needs are plentiful, and happen to appear on both sides of the football, giving them ample opportunity to go in nearly any direction with their first few picks and come out better than they were prior to the draft.

Yesterday, the NFL released the compensatory picks for all 32 teams. The Jaguars were not eligible to receive any picks due to their moves during the 2019 offseason. Jacksonville signed quarterback Nick Foles and did not lose anyone of significance based on the NFL’s formula.

The Jaguars will receive the Broncos’ fourth-round pick at the start of the new league year on the 18th, which is reflected in this mock draft.

For the purposes of this mock draft, we used The Draft Network’s predictive mock draft simulator for realistic slotting, according to them.

Round one, pick 9: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

While the 2020 NFL Draft gets most of its draw from the impressive wide receiver group this offseason, the offensive tackle position group near the top of the draft is equally as impressive. The Jaguars cannot pass up on solidifying the left side of their offensive line if given the opportunity. In this case, both Simmons and cornerback Jeffery Okudah were unavailable.

Becton, 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, has the ideal size and arm length (35 5/8”) for the Jaguars metrics, and he possess elite mobility for a man his size. At the NFL Combine in February, Becton ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 5.1 seconds, the fastest run by a man his side along the offensive line in history.

His impressive athleticism is shown on film routinely as Becon gets out in front of defenders and blows them like a midnight train to Georgia. The Jaguars, in this scenario would likely move left tackle Cam Robinson to guard.

Round one, pick 20: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

The Jaguars would be lucky if Kinlaw lasts this long, but Jacksonville cannot pass up on an opportunity to take him if he does fall this far. With a chance to secure both lines of scrimmage on the first day of the draft, Kinlaw offers immense upside from a three-technique perspective, and can hold up well against the run.

While the former Gamecock is a little raw, he makes up for it in his pure athleticism and burst off the line of scrimmage. In his time at South Carolina, Kinlaw accumulated 82 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks in three seasons. Six of his 10 sacks came during his junior season in 2019.

While Kinlaw is known for penetrating offensive lines with his pass-rush skills, his ability against the run is just as impressive. According to Pro Football Focus, Kinlaw notched positive grades against the run in all three seasons at South Carolina, notching 19 and 22 “stops” during the past two seasons alone.

Round two, pick 42: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State

Arnette simply cannot escape our mock drafts. The 6-foot-0, 195 pound cornerback out of Ohio State was unable to perform most of the tasks at the NFL Combine, however he was able to run the 40-yard dash. At 4.56 seconds, Arnette held his own, showcasing enough speed to not be too concerned with his upside down the field.

Arnette is a quick-twitched cornerback who would do well in the Jaguars’ cover-three scheme.

Round three, pick 73: Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State

Gay may fall this far due to “off field concerns” which led him to miss nine games in 2019, however when he was on the field he was exceptionally active and showcased why he should be considered one of the top linebackers in this draft class.

One of the most athletic linebackers in this year’s draft class, pops out on film due to his speed and quick-twitch ability. At Mississippi State, Gay, 6-foot-0, 243 pounds, accumulated 99 tackles (46 solo), 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, and three interceptions in 28 games.

The Jaguars need someone to fill the role of retired linebacker Telvin Smith outside, or replace Myles Jack inside (moving Jack outside) in an effort to shore up the second level of their defense. Gay was exceptional in coverage in college, grading out positively in all three seasons according to Pro Football Focus.

Round four, pick 116: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida

At this point in the draft the majority of the “top-end” wide receivers are off the board. A nice consolation prize, Jefferson is one of the best route runners in this year’s draft class. Although his size, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, may be a deterrent for some teams, the Jaguars have not shied away from slimmer receivers in the past.

At Florida, Jefferson played primarily in a spread offense which rotated a variety of receivers at the position which is shown in his stats during his two seasons at Florida — 84 receptions for 1,160 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Jefferson would fit nice in newcomer offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s scheme and provide Gardner Minshew II or Nick Foles with a receiver with very reliable hands and route-running ability.

At the combine, Jefferson told Big Cat Country he would love to play for the Jaguars. His family is from Jacksonville.

Round four, pick 137: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

The Jaguars need to get bigger and stronger at receiver. Last season, receiver Chris Conley showcased what a bigger receiver over the middle of the field could do for the Jaguars’ offense, however inconsistency at the position, and a lack of depth, was exposed throughout the year.

With DJ Chark Jr. having a breakout campaign, the Jaguars need to pair him with a bigger receiver on the outside, and one to take away coverage in the middle of the field. After acquiring Jefferson, the Jaguars set their sights on Claypool. At 6-foot-4, 238 pounds is one of the most athletic “big” receivers in the draft this season.

Prior to running a 4.42 40-yard dash, draft pundits across the NFL media assumed he’d be asked to play tight end at the second level, however his speed showcased the majority of his issues can be fixed with coaching.

After accumulating 150 receptions, 2,159 yards, and 19 touchdowns in four years at Notre Dame, Claypool offers the Jaguars with a reliable receiver over the middle of opposing defenses, as well as a redzone target without the need to rely on a tight end as much.

Round five, pick 165: DeeJay Dallas, RB, Miami

Dallas is an intriguing option for the Jaguars in the fifth round. The Jaguars are in need of another pass-catching target for Gruden’s offense. While he did not have many receptions in college, due to the team’s inability to showcase him as a pass-catcher, Dallas caught 28 receptions for 317 yards, and two touchdowns in three years for the Hurricanes.

Round six, pick 189: Tanner Muse, S, Clemson

The Jaguars could use depth at the safety position, and Muse would fit the bill, however his selection in round five is more about special teams. With the team set to lose standout special teams ace, safety Cody Davis to free agency this offseason, the Jaguars will need to figure out a replacement.

Muse, 6-foot-2, 227 pounds was one of the most athletic safety prospects at the NFL Combine in February. If it weren’t for fellow Clemson Tiger Isaiah Simmons running a 4.39 40-yard dash at 236 pounds, Muse would have been the most impressive Tiger at the combine. At 227 pounds, Muse ran a 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, and posted a respectable 34-inch vertical jump.

At Clemson, Muse played primarily at the backend of the Tigers’ defense in 2019, accumulating 36 solo tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and four interceptions during his senior season.

Round six, pick 206: Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa

Gipson is another player we have slotted around this time in the draft before. He offers upside as an edge, and potentially as a player who can move inside at times to offer pressure from the interior of the defense. Gipson accumulated 114 tackles (53 solo), 25.5 tackles-for loss, and 13 sacks (eight in in 2019) in 39 games at Tulsa.

Round seven, pick 223: Sean McKeon, TE, Michigan

The Jaguars spend their final selection by drafting a tight end. Although the team is likely to take one higher than the seventh round, the Jaguars will be active in the tight end market during the free agency period, possibly giving the team an ability to pass on a tight end early.

McKeon offers solid blocking position with he ability to catch the football thanks to his short-area quickness. At Michigan, McKeon accumulated 60 receptions for 668 yards, and six touchdowns in 27 games.