The 2020 NFL Draft is just two days away, and with that comes speculation regarding which direction the team may go, not only with their first pick in the first round of the draft, but also with the remaining 11 picks the team will have to work with.
A major topic of discussion over the offseason has been regarding the team’s need to add more talent along it’s up-and-down offensive line — the team hasn’t had a consistent unit since before general manager Dave Caldwell was hired in 2013, however they may be close.
Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone have recently raved about this year’s class of offensive linemen, specifically those in the interior, however, the Jacksonville Jaguars do have a chance at addressing the edges of the line while in the same breath strengthening the interior because of it.
Last year, I addressed the team’s offensive tackle thresholds on LockedOnJaguars.com, which can be viewed here. How we determined the thresholds for this year’s class followed the same formulas, simply with more players added as the Jaguars acquired more offensive linemen. Due to the additions, a few metrics were changed, thus changing the thresholds and scale a little.
For the chart, we used all of the draft selections made and free agents acquired under general manager Dave Caldwell, and included a few selections from head coach Doug Marrone’s time in Buffalo as the Bills’ head coach. Due to Marrone’s background (former offensive line coach) along with his increased decision-making powers in Jacksonville this season, we deemed it appropriate to include those players.
Here are each of the Jaguars draft picks or relevant free agent acquisitions over the past seven seasons:
The variables tracked: official height, weight, arm length, hand size, 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, 20-yard short shuttle, bench press, and how each player was acquired.
The statistics I used to create a scale for the table below are as follows:
MIN = the lowest (or highest, depending on the metric) value an offensive tackle the Jaguars have brought in has achieved.
MAX = the highest (or lowest, depending on the metric) value an offensive tackle the Jaguars have brought in has achieved.
AVERAGE = the average score for each metric by offensive tackles the Jaguars have acquired
STDEV = Standard deviation of the sample set from the mean
%TILE RANGE = the NFL offensive tackle percentile range from the lowest – highest score
Players who are within these metrics for each respective category will be classified in the green spectrum. If any player falls below the minimum threshold they will be classified in the red spectrum, meaning the Jaguars have yet to bring in a player that fall below or above (depending on which metric it is), that particular statistic.
According to the table above, the Jaguars heavily biased towards players who have longer arms. The shortest arm length besides any outliers is 34.25″, which still ranks in the 56th percentile among NFL offensive tackles dating back to 2000. Because of their bias towards players with longer arms, the majority of players in this year’s draft will miss the mark in that area.
*according to the list of players I have examined with appropriate athletic testing scores and measurements.
Due to the majority of Pro Days being cancelled this season, many players are without full measurements in the athleticism department, however, as stated above, the Jaguars appear to care more for physical traits than anything else so it should not affect how the team would view a particular player.
If a player has high marks (green) in physical traits and athleticism, or are green in physical traits, but miss the mark in athleticism somewhat, they will be classified in the first tier (perfect match). If the player misses the mark a bit (light red) on physical traits, however nail the athleticism they’ll be placed in tier two (near-perfect match). If the player misses the mark on any physical traits (dark red) they will be classified as tier three (not a match).
All information was retrieved from combine participants this season, and was found at SteelersDepot.com.
Note: Simply because a player is listed in tier three (not a match) it does not necessarily mean the team will pass on such player. The Jaguars could choose a player based on their play alone. This chart is only meant to be used as a reference for preference, not absolutes. This list also contains all players seen at the 2020 NFL Combine.
TIER 1 (Perfect match)
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia:
If there were ever a perfect offensive tackle prospect, Thomas would certainly fit the bill for the Jaguars. With his size, 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, along with arm length (36.13 inches), and athleticism — nails ever metric including a 40-yard dash time of 5.22 seconds —, Thomas is exactly what the Jaguars are looking for in a prospect.
He carries the pedigree of being one of the best tackles to come out of this year’s class and will most likely fall within the top-15 selections, with a high possibility of going in the top five of the draft. At Georgia, Thomas earned Walter Camp All-American 1st Team, and was the winner of the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville:
Becton is one of the biggest and strongest athletes entering the 2020 NFL Draft. With his size, 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, with 35.13-inch arms, he has become one of the more formidable offensive tackles, and highly sought-after prospects in this year’s draft. Becton displayed incredible athleticism, 5.06 40-yard dash, at the NFL Combine this year, and fits the Jaguars perfectly.
Becton is currently projected to be a top-15 pick, and has potential to land in the top 5.
Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia:
Wilson completed the duo along with Thomas at Georgia last year, playing on the right tackle for the Bulldogs. Another prospect the Jaguars could fall in love with due to his size, Wilson is listed at 6-foot-6, 350 pounds, and arm length (35.50 inches). While he is not viewed as one of the top-tackle prospects in a similar vein as Thomas or Becton, he still has the potential to land somewhere within the second round, or perhaps in round one.
Other tier 1 prospects: Matt Peart (Connecticut), Alex Taylor (South Carolina St.), Terence Steele (Texas Tech), Tyre Phillips (Mississippi St.), Yasir Durant (Missouri), Trey Adams (Washington), and Lucas Niang (TCU).
TIER 2 (Near-Perfect Match)
Tristian Wirfs, OT, Iowa:
Here is where it gets a bit tricky. Wirfs, for all intents and purposes, is the most athletically gifted offensive tackle prospect to enter the draft for a very long time. However, for the Jaguars, Wirfs barely misses the mark due to his height 6047, and arm length (34 inches). This will not prevent the Jaguars from selecting him at all, however.
Wirfs barely misses the height threshold (6050), and falls just .25 inches under the desired arm length. The Iowa product, however, is thought of as a potential generational talent at tackle due to the way he moves at his size. After running a 4.85 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine earlier this year, Wirfs became one of the first offensive tackles at 320 pounds to accomplish such feat.
At Iowa, Wirfs played right tackle for the Hawkeyes and won Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year along with being named First Team All Big Ten during his junior year last season. It would be a surprise if Wirfs fell out of the top 10 on Thursday.
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Similar to Wirfs, Jackson barely misses the thresholds falling below the desired height at 6047, and arm length (34.13 inches). The USC product is thought to be one of the more quick-risers in this year’s draft class, with many mock drafts projecting him to be selected near the bottom of the first round.
A junior coming out of college, Jackson is a bit raw, but possess all the traits one would want in an offensive tackle, and should work nicely with a team that has a bit of patience. Jackson was honored with First team All-PAC-12 in 2019.
Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Jones was a personal favorite of mine entering senior bowl week and did not disappoint. At 6-foot-5, 319 pounds, Jones fits the mold as far as his overall size, however, his arm length is short (33.88 inches) for the Jaguars’ liking. While he does not pass the arm length test, he does fall within a potential window for the team to completely ignore it if they should choose.
Jones is currently projected to go as high as round one, but shouldn’t fall below round two this week. He was named Second-team All-AAC in 2019.
Other tier-2 prospects: Charlie Heck (Temple), Colton McKivitz (West Virginia)
TIER 3 (Not a Match)
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
As a friendly reminder, the Jaguars could very well ignore any traits they so choose, however it would not necessarily fit what they have done in the past.
This applies directly to Wills who is a phenomenal prospect coming out of Alabama, however his height (6042) falls well below the team’s threshold, and could end up costing him the the ability to play tackle in Jacksonville. If the Jaguars were to select Wills, it is possible they move him to guard, which he projects very well at as a former right tackle.
Wills is slated to be one of the first four offensive tackles selected this year along with Thomas, Becton, and Wirfs, and should not fall below the top-15 picks this year.
For the Crimson Tide, Wills earned second team All-America accolades from multiple outlets including the Associated Press, he was also named to the All-SEC First-Team, along with being named second team Midseason All-American by the Associated Press.
Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
Another quick-riser, similar to Jackson, Cleveland has the potential to be selected in the first round in this year’s offensive-line heavy draft class. While he fits what the Jaguars are looking for as far as height (6060) and weight (311), he falls well below the mark for arm length with only 33.38-inch arms.
It would be a surprise if the team deviates this far out of their norm, as arm length has been shown to be one of the team’s most important traits when targeting offensive tackles.
Other tier-3 prospects: Cameron Clark (Charlotte), Kyle Murphy (Rhode Island), Hakeem Adeniji (Kansas State), Tremayne Anchrum (Clemson), Justin Herron (Wake Forest), Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn), Robert Hunt (Louisiana-Lafayette), Jon Runyan (Michigan), Jack Discoll (Auburn), Saahdiq Charles (LSU), Ben Bartch (St. Jones (MN), Clavin Throckmorton (Oregon), Danny Pinter (Ball St.), and John Molchon (Boise St.).