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The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock. Man, does it feel good to say that!
It was an interesting negotiating period for the Jacksonville Jaguars this year. No, the team didn’t go out and sign a big-name, splash-type of a player right away as they were wont to do over the past few years, but the team did make serious headway in securing the back end of its roster, and some key positions moving forward.
There are a lot of names, something uncommon for the Jaguars organization at least during the first few days of free agency. The moves made over the past several days allow the team to reset its core players, giving them fresh faces to take a look at moving forward.
The Jaguars also made moves to retain some of the players that were slated to be free agents from the previous regime.
Solidifying the team’s defensive line, finding an outside cornerback opposite CJ Henderson, and signing a veteran wide receivers were primary focuses for head coach Urban Meyer. But with many of its glaring holes filled, what does that mean for a change in philosophy for Meyer and the Jaguars’ draft targets?
Check out our three-round mock draft below:
Round 1, Pick 1: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick is a slam dunk. Nothing the Jaguars did in free agency changed this at all. It’s Lawrence for the Jaguars as it always has been, at least for owner Shad Khan. He’s been the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft since he was in high school.
Round 1, Pick 25: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
This pick could go a lot of ways. The Jaguars missed out on the premier edge talent in free agency, including one with a lot of familiarity in former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker/EDGE Matthew Judon. With just Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson and soon Jihad Ward on the roster, the Jaguars need a lot of help in the outside linebacker department.
This pick could have been Michigan pass rusher Kwity Paye, but we went with Miami DE/OLB Jaelen Phillips instead. Phillips offers plenty of size at 6-foot-5, 266 pounds, and has great length and bend to get around the edge of the largest of tackles. After transferring from UCLA, Phillips sat out one year before turning in a break-out campaign in 2020 that included 15.5 tackles-for-loss, an interception and eight sacks in just 10 games.
Round 2, Pick 33: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
This pick is obvious for plenty of reasons. The Jaguars have just four tight ends slated to be on the roster pending any other moves made in free agency. The four include James O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson and newcomer Chris Manhertz. None of them have shown much in the NFL with O’Shaughnessy being the most consistent of the bunch.
Needless to say, tight end is probably the team’s greatest weakness at the moment, and Freiermuth will fill that role just fine. Perhaps one of the best all-around tight ends to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, Freiermuth provides plenty in the way of receiving ability and as a blocker. He is the clear No. 2 tight end behind Florida standout Kyle Pitts.
The former Penn State tight end also has a direct tie to the Jaguars’ coaching staff with his former position coach Tyler Bowden joining the Jaguars this offseason in the same role. In college, Freiermuth caught 92 passes for 1,185 yards and 16 touchdowns. He played just four games last year due to injury.
Round 2, Pick 45: Elijah Molden, Nickel, Washington
The Jaguars did well in upgrading its secondary with Griffin and Jenkins, however they have yet to address its nickel cornerback position. With DJ Hayden out the door in free agency, the Jaguars have just Tre Herndon on the roster as a player that can provide something inside at the team’s nickel position.
With that said, the Jaguar still need to upgrade and Molden fits perfectly. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, Molden isn’t quite big enough for NFL standards to play consistently on the outside. He has plenty of quickness and play-making ability to play inside. At Washington, Molden was named First-Team All-Pac-12 two seasons in a row in 2019 and 2020.
While this is a tad bit of a high placement for him in the middle of round two, the Jaguars can’t afford to have another prospect of his skillset slide by.
In 2019, Molden accounted for 49 solo tackles, four interceptions and 12 pass breakups. In four games in 2020, Molden was able to tally 21 solo tackles, one interception and one pass breakup. He has four forced fumbles in his career.
Round 3, Pick 65: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
The Jaguars’ receiver position could still use an upgrade even after agreeing to terms with Jones in free agency. Over the course of the offseason, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has mentioned that the team needs to add a playmaker within the position group.
“If you’ve covered our teams over the years, the need for speed, the big play opportunity was not the Jaguars last year and we’re searching for the big play hit at the receiver position,” Meyer said on March 9.
Moore is exactly what the doctor ordered for Meyer if he wants to add speed and big-play ability to the roster. He has plenty of straight-line speed and his burst off of the line of scrimmage is equally as impressive as is his after-the-catch ability. With an ability to play inside or out, Moore would immediately provide a boost to a Jaguars’ receiving corp that certainty needs it.
In three years with the Rebels, Moore accounted for 189 receptions for 2,441 yards and 16 touchdowns. Last season he hauled in 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in just eight games.