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2021 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper thinks Jacksonville Jaguars pick QB Trevor Lawrence and DT Christian Barmore

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 11 CFP National Championship - Alabama v Ohio State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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 this team picking their best chance at a franchise quarterback and beefing up their defensive line.

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!

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Let’s kick off Urban Meyer’s rebuild in Jacksonville with a franchise quarterback. Lawrence is one of the best quarterback prospects I’ve studied over the past decade, and he has all the makings of a superstar, from arm talent to size to the ability to process at the position. And we know Meyer likes him from his comments in 2019. Make no mistake, though; this is not going to be a quick fix. The Jaguars were 1-15 for a reason. They have some talent to build around on offense, with wide receivers Laviska Shenault Jr. and DJ Chark Jr. and running back James Robinson, but they need to add protection for Lawrence on the offensive line. Will free agent left tackle Cam Robinson be back? It’s no sure thing. The good news for Meyer and new general manager Trent Baalke is that they have another first-round pick (No. 25) and an extra second-round pick from the Yannick Ngakoue trade with the Vikings.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

I thought about a receiver or offensive lineman here to help Trevor Lawrence, but this defense is depleted, particularly along the defensive line and in the secondary. How can we get the Jags some help? K’Lavon Chaisson, a first-rounder last year, had only one sack and nine QB hits as a rookie. Taven Bryan, a first-rounder in 2018, has only 3.5 sacks in three seasons. Barmore really came on at the end of the season, with six sacks in his final six games. He was dominant in the two College Football Playoff wins. I love the fit in Jacksonville, where he can be a penetrating 3-technique.

As far as the first overall pick goes, Kiper isn’t going to do the “bold predictions that likely won’t come true” shtick for clicks... at least not this year. Trevor Lawrence is about as sure a bet as you’ll find. It’s a position of need, it’s the most important position in professional sports, and he’s the consensus top quarterback.

That said...

I really like the addition of Christian Barmore if he actually falls to the bottom of the first round. I wouldn’t be surprised by a team just above us (*cough* Tennessee Titans *cough*) grabbing him. But if he’s there, he’d be a solid addition to a defensive line that sorely needs talent at every position. As John Shipley pointed out earlier today, quarterback is the greatest need on this roster but defensive tackle isn’t too far behind.

Two picks, two positions of need, two consensus opinions around the league that these are very good players. Sign me up.

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!