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2020 NFL Draft predictions: How does free agency affect the Jacksonville Jaguars?

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars were busy in free agency this year — not so much with expected starters, but with making sure the bottom half of their roster has more talent than it did last year when injuries hit and the bottom dropped out.

But they still made a splash, signing linebacker Joe Schobert, defensive lineman Rodney Gunter, tight end Tyler Eifert and more.

How will their free agency moves affect who they pick in the 2020 NFL Draft?

Who do you think will go with No. 9 and No. 20 overall picks?

We asked the Big Cat Country team for their predictions... and away we go!

Alfie Crow (@AlfieBCC)

Let’s get some corn.

No. 9: Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs
No. 20: Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa

Ryan Day (@ryaneatscake)

I think the only two picks that affect the Jaguars’ draft plans are Schobert and Gunter. I don’t see them investing in either a linebacker or a defensive tackle in the first round, which leaves them wanting some combination of an offensive lineman, wide receiver, cornerback, and safety.

No. 9: Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs
No. 20: Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82)

The Jaguars are at an interesting spot at both No. 9 and No. 20. The team could go in a number of directions such as the offensive line, defensive line, and especially at cornerback. At pick No. 9 the team needs to address the trenches and, if he falls, defensive tackle Derrick Brown would be an excellent selection. He brings a nasty along the Jaguars defensive line that will be missed with the subtraction of Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell.

With the team’s second first-round pick, I believe the Jaguars would absolutely love to trade out of 20. With Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson’s draft stock quickly rising, the Jaguars may need to go in a different direction at the same position. Kristian Fulton brings a smooth, versatile cornerback to the Jaguars defensive backfield that has lost two Pro Bowl corners in less than one calendar year.

No. 9: Auburn DL Derrick Brown
No. 20: LSU CB Kristian Fulton

J.P. Acosta (@acosta32_jp)

The Jaguars are in an odd position, considering Jeffrey Okudah, Isaiah Simmons, and Derrick Brown could all be gone by the time they pick at No. 9 overall. But I’m optimistic and I think Brown will be the pick there at No. 9. He’s an elite run stopper with pass rush potential.

At No. 20 overall, it really depends on how the offensive tackles shape out, but I’m hoping for Andrew Thomas. One of the more refined offensive tackles in the class, and gives the Jaguars the ability to move Cam Robinson to guard.

No. 9: Auburn DL Derrick Brown
No. 20: Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

Ryan O’Bleness (@ryanobleness)

The Jaguars added a couple veteran free agent defensive linemen in Rodney Gunter and Al Woods in an effort to stop the run, but the most likely case is neither of those players really move the needle on an every-down basis. Derrick Brown can be a three-down player, and he played anywhere from the zero-technique to the five-technique at Auburn, so he has some versatility. At 6-foot-5, 326 pounds, Brown may be exactly what Jacksonville needs in the interior defensive line in a rebuilt unit.

They also signed Darqueze Dennard to play outside cornerback, and Tre Herndon and D.J. Hayden (in the slot) are of course capable options, but with Jacksonville losing two stars at the position in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the Jaguars lack a true No. 1 cornerback. C.J. Henderson, who is one of the best coverage players available in this year’s NFL Draft, could grow into that role. He make sense for Jacksonville as it continues to retool the defensive unit. There are questions about his tackling skills, but those can be fixed.

No. 9: Auburn DL Derrick Brown
No. 20: Florida CB C.J. Henderson

Brian Fullford (@iambwf)

Defensive tackle is my most critical need for this team, and while depth was added in free agency, the position still screams for a dominant playmaker. The question is... what happens when value at defensive tackle and offensive tackle are available at No. 9 overall?

I used the The Draft Network mock draft simulator to set the board and give me available players.

At No. 9 overall, I have OL Mekhi Becton, DT Derrick Brown, WR CeeDee Lamb, and DT Javon Kinlaw on the board. OL Tristan Wirfs went at No. 8 overall.

I love both Becton and Brown, and while defensive tackle is a screaming need I can’t pass on Becton. He is big and nasty, someone who has Tony Boselli like traits. Leadership is all in on Gardner Minshew, and he needs reliable protection.

At No. 20 overall, I have WR Jerry Jeudy there too for the taking.

Kinlaw is the easy choice. The Jaguars get their play making defensive tackle to afford the linebackers room to roam and limit opposing run game success. Kinlaw dropping that far seems impossible, but I’ll take what the board gives me. Some may want the wide receiver here, but I have to believe the Jaguars recognize wide receiver depth and may wait until the second round to grab help at that spot.

If the Jaguars do go offensive tackle at No. 9, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them use draft picks to move up so they can grab Kinlaw earlier in the first round.

No. 9: Louisville OL Mekhi Becton
No. 20: South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw