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2020 NFL Draft recap: Mel Kiper, Jr. gives Jaguars a “B”

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

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The Jacksonville Jaguars just added their biggest draft class in franchise history last weekend — 12 players, including two picks in the first round.

And ESPN’s Mel Kiper has opinions, folks.

Overall, he’s fair to the team and likes most of what they did. The lack of a running back later in the draft is his main criticism (which is fair) but he had far more positive things to say about general manager Dave Caldwell’s work.

Here is their 12-player draft class for review:

2020 Jaguars draft class

Round/Pick Name Pos College
Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/9 CJ Henderson CB Florida
1/20 K'Lavon Chaisson OLB LSU
2/42 Laviska Shenault Jr. WR Colorado
3/73 Davon Hamilton DT Ohio State
4/116 Ben Bartch G St. John's (MN)
4/137 Josiah Scott CB Michigan State
4/140 Shaquille Quarterman ILB Miami
5/157 Daniel Thomas S Auburn
5/165 Collin Johnson WR Texas
6/189 Jake Luton QB Oregon State
6/206 Tyler Davis TE Georgia Tech
7/223 Chris Claybrooks CB Memphis

And here is Mel Kiper’s grade for the Jaguars this past weekend:

Jacksonville Jaguars: B

Top needs: CB, DL, TE, RB, OL

The Jaguars’ front office did its best to squeeze value out of an unhappy Jalen Ramsey last year, netting the No. 20 overall pick in this draft along with the Rams’ 2021 first-round pick. The front office is also dealing with another unhappy young star, as pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue wants out, and could be traded soon. Now, this obviously says something about the organization, but Jacksonville did its best with what it has, with the top two picks filling a need at cornerback and a potential need at edge rusher if Ngakoue leaves.

This team had an underrated Round 1, adding my second-ranked cornerback CJ Henderson (9), and second-ranked edge rusher, K’Lavon Chaisson (20). With Ramsey and former starter A.J. Bouye gone, Henderson has big shoes to fill, but he’s super talented, even if he had a down 2019 season.

The Jaguars reached a little bit on Day 2 with wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (42) and defensive tackle Davon Hamilton (73), but you can see the logic behind both moves. Shenault could be a weapon if used right, moving around the formation. If he can become quarterback Gardner Minshew’s best friend and get 10 touches a game as a runner or receiver, he could get double-digit touchdowns. Hamilton was outshined by a few others in the Ohio State front seven, but Jacksonville had to fix its run defense.

Offensive lineman Ben Bartch (116) is one of my favorite prospects, and he could play tackle or guard. He dominated at the Division III level. At 6-foot-5, Collin Johnson (165) is one of the biggest receivers in this class, but he’s never going to run past defensive backs. He has a role in the NFL, though. Linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (140) started 52 games at Miami and makes up for so-so athleticism with his instincts. Cornerback Josiah Scott (137) is probably going to play slot corner in the NFL.

Jacksonville isn’t a playoff team in 2020, no matter whether Minshew proves he’s the guy or not. But this is a solid haul as the team looks to get back on solid footing. This stays at a B because the Jaguars should have taken a running back late, particularly with the unrest around Leonard Fournette.

That’s about as fair a grade as you’ll get from a national insider. Heck, we have several polls going and Jaguars fans are saying the same thing.