After months of speculation, mock drafts and hot takes, the 2021 NFL Draft is officially over. Urban Meyer, Trent Baalke and the rest of the decision-makers for the Jacksonville Jaguars have completed their first class of the new regime, headlined by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick of the draft.
As a quick refresher, here are the nine players who Jacksonville selected:
- Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Clemson
- Travis Etienne, running back Clemson
- Tyson Campbell, cornerback, Georgia
- Walker Little, offensive tackle, Stanford
- Andre Cisco, safety, Syracuse
- Jay Tufele, defensive tackle, USC
- Jordan Smith, defensive end, UAB
- Luke Farrell, tight end, Ohio State
- Jalen Camp, wide receiver, Georgia Tech
It’s tough to grade a draft class before any of the players ever hit the field, but the Big Cat Country staff has provided our immediate thoughts and grades on the overall haul below. So, what do we think?
JP Acosta: B+
While I’m still wary of the value of drafting Travis Etienne at No. 25 overall and only drafting a tight end in round five, I can see the vision of what Urban Meyer and Trent Baalke want to build. That’s the most important thing for first year draft classes, you have to be able to see the culture and play style being built. So if I can see what’s being built, it gets a passing grade from me.
Ryan Day: B-
Trevor Lawrence is all that matters, honestly, and this grade will be a lot higher if (when) the players picked in later rounds pan out. Urban Meyer drafted a lot of guys who would have gone higher had they not dealt with injuries. Let’s see if it pays off. Admittedly, I also don’t like how little they addressed the tight end position.
Ryan O’Bleness: B+
It’s difficult to give the class anything other than an “A” simply because of Trevor Lawrence, however, when looking at the class as a whole, there were some head-scratching moves, so I am going with a B+ overall. While I am actually excited about the kind of matchup nightmares Travis Etienne can make, and his home run-hitting ability, drafting a running back at No. 25 overall with many other more pressing holes to fill was an interesting choice. Additionally, the Jaguars waited too long to address the tight end position, arguably Jacksonville’s biggest need right now.
Also, drafting three players in a row who played a combined two games in 2020 doesn’t sit well with me after Urban Meyer said he wanted “instant impact” guys. I am supportive of the players who opted out last season due to COVID-19, but Andre Cisco is roughly seven months removed from a torn ACL, and Walker Little has played one game in the past two seasons combined. If Little, Cisco and Jay Tufele (opt-out in 2020) are all healthy and in-shape to start training camp, then all three could prove to be great value picks, but we will see. Little could be the eventual replacement for Cam Robinson at left tackle. I also think Georgia Tech wide receiver Jalen Camp could end up being a steal in the sixth round.
Demetrius Harvey: A
It’s tough to give the Jaguars anything but an “A” for this year’s draft class because of who they picked first overall. The team addressed the most important position on the roster in drafting Trevor Lawrence, who is thought to be a generational talent at the quarterback position. The rest of the team’s draft class has some question marks, but it was clear the team hit on many needs and found value due to their history. While the draft class has a bit of boom or bust potential following round one, on paper it deserves a solid overall mark.
Alfie Crow: A-
I think the Jaguars had an excellent draft for 2021, even without considering the expected home run with quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Those who have read Big Cat Country for a while I am sure are aware my thoughts on picking running backs in the first round, but given the type of offense that Urban Meyer is likely going to run and the depth at the running back position, grabbing Travis Etienne makes a lot of sense. It may not be good “value,” but Etienne is an excellent player and should contribute a lot as a rookie, despite Meyer’s comments about him being a third down back. After that, the Jaguars tried to be sneaky about grabbing value with players like Walker Little and Jay Tufele, who opted out of the 2020 season and Andre Cisco, who missed time with an injury. All three players at some point prior to the 2020 season had been mocked as first round picks.
OK, you’ve heard our thoughts, now it’s your turn. How do you grade the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2021 draft class as a whole? Please vote in the poll and comment your thoughts below.
How do you grade Jacksonville’s 2021 draft class as a whole?
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