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The head coach leads the team. He builds the culture, prepares the players, coordinates the game plan, and unifies the coaching staff. The general manager is a leader in their own right, but his primary purpose is to support the head coach’s vision.
At least that’s what Shad Khan said he believes.
If it’s true, the new head coach will be hired before a decision on the general manager is made. It’ll be his job to get the head coach the players he needs to have success. And if there’s one tried-and-true way to have success in the NFL, it’s making sure the quarterback has success.
Welcome to my first Jacksonville Jaguars mock draft of the 2022 NFL offseason. Today, we’re basing our draft philosophy around getting Trevor the weapons he needs to make a big leap in his sophomore season. And as always, we’ll be using Pro Football Focus and their draft simulator to keep things organized.
And away... we go!
Round 1, Pick 1: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
If we’re drafting primarily around Trevor Lawrence (which isn’t a bad strategy, fwiw) then getting him a high-ceiling offensive tackle from a premier program who can play the bookend on either the left or right side is the choice. Personally, I’d rather have Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, but if the choice is Evan Neal... I wouldn’t hate it.
Round 2, Pick 33: DL Jordan Davis, Georgia
With guys like Treylon Burks, Jahan Dotson, and Drake London off the board (any one of which I would sprint to the podium for at the top of the second round) my consolation prize is Jordan Davis—a physically imposing, 6’7” behemoth who plays a similar game to Marcus Stroud or John Henderson. Boo hoo, right?
Round 3, Pick 65: TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
With an early run of tight ends and wide receivers, I’m taking a volume receiver at tight end to pair with Dan Arnold. Trey McBride put up 90 catches for 1,121 yards last season, which was more than 37% of that team’s offense.
Round 3, Pick 70: WR George Pickens, Georgia
It’s time to address the elephant in the room: Jacksonville’s group of receivers is very bad. And losing a guy like DJ Chark sunk it to the bottom of the NFL barrel. With George Pickens, the Jaguars will have two legitimate receiving threats to complement their short-to-medium passing game now built with a decent pair of receiving tight ends.
Round 4, Pick 103: RB James Cook, Georgia
Jacksonville’s top two running backs are either rehabbing from an Achilles injury (James Robinson) or a Lisfranc injury (Travis Etienne). Fortunately, James Cook, younger brother of Dalvin Cook, is available. If you’re box score scouting, this pick may seem like a reach. But his last season at Georgia showed he can play all three downs, running between the tackles and receiving out of the backfield with ease. This pick also allows you to use Etienne in a variety of positions along the offense while keeping your true RB2 healthy.
Round 5, Pick 153: C Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame
Fun fact: Notre Dame’s top four running backs averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry last season. Brandon Linder’s contract expires after the 2022 season. Go find a replacement for the young Trevor Lawrence.
Round 6, Pick 179: LB Aaron Hansford, Texas A&M
Okay, not every pick is going to be directly linked to Trevor Lawrence. But you need a stout defense to get the ball in his hands as much as possible and the linebackers need an upgrade. Enter Aaron Hansford, who can challenge for a starting spot with speed and the ability to track mobile quarterbacks.
Round 6, Pick 188: WR Ty Fryfogle, Indiana
The Hoosiers haven’t had a wide receiver drafted since 2014, but the 6’2” 205 pound Ty Fryfogle could change that. In four years of playing regularly, he averaged over 14.1 yards per catch. And an elite name like Ty Fryfogle never hurts.
Round 6, Pick 196: CB Decobie Durant, South Carolina State
At this point, I’m just picking the highest rated skill player at a position of need for the Jaguars on defense. But hey, he was a standout in the MEAC and had two picks against Clemson. Let’s give him a shot to earn the CB5 or CB6 spot and contribute on special teams.
Round 6, Pick 197: OT Erik Swenson, Oklahoma
A three-year starter who can play both tackle spots. Let’s build some depth so that Trevor Lawrence makes it past his first contract, shall we?
Round 7, Picks 219 and 232
Unfortunately, Pro Football Focus only goes to six rounds. (No idea why.) But I’m looking for speed in the final round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Wide receivers, cornerbacks, safeties... anyone who can help us on special teams.