The NFL Draft is almost here. The Jacksonville Jaguars are slotted at pick no. 24 tonight.
Here’s a roundup of final mock drafts from 30 league insiders, local media, draft experts, plugged-in analysts, and more.
From Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports: Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
Every team I talk to keeps mocking defensive linemen to Jacksonville, so I send them the best one available.
Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network: Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith
From Todd McShay of ESPN: Iowa DE Lukas Van Ness
I could see Van Ness going as high as No. 10, but he could also fall into the latter parts of Round 1. Jacksonville has Josh Allen and Travon Walker off the edge — two recent first-rounders — but Van Ness would bring an element of power. He didn’t start at Iowa but still managed 14 sacks over two seasons and would be starting with the Jags in short order. Van Ness is ranked 15th on my board.
Peter King of NBC Sports: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness
The interesting thing when considering a pick for the Jags is that they’ve got a good roster, maybe the best all-around in the AFC South. There’s no urgent need. Tight end Michael Mayer’s a strong consideration here, but Doug Pederson seems to have unlocked the potential of Evan Engram, so I’m going with a player GM Trent Baalke will like because of his fierce competitiveness and pass-rush traits. Odd career. He started zero games at Iowa but played the most snaps of any outside rusher in the last two years.
From Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness
I was told the Jaguars covet one of three defensive players; Witherspoon, Banks, or Lukas Van Ness. I don’t love this selection, as Jacksonville has spent several first-round picks on this type of undersized pass rusher with minimal results, but this is who I hear they like.
From J.P. Acosta of SB Nation: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness
From Matt Miller of ESPN: Maryland CB Deonte Banks
Two years after selecting Tyson Campbell in the first [actually, second] round, the Jaguars are back on the board with another big, long, fast cornerback prospect. Banks was one of the biggest in-season risers with a 6-2 frame, 4.35 speed and 10 pass breakups in the ‘22 season. “He can be a really good CB2 or a CB1 in a zone scheme,” said one NFC scout. “He got beat up in man coverage last year because teams threw at him a lot, but better coaching with his athletic gifts will unlock that ability.” The Jaguars are in a position to add talent for future needs and Banks’ upside is worth developing.
Charlie Campbell of Walter Football: Maryland CB Deonte Banks
The Jaguars could use multiple cornerback additions. Banks needs development, but he has the upside to be a No. 1 corner.
From Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus: Maryland CB Deonte Banks
Even with Brian Branch on the board, I think it’s more in this front office’s DNA to take a super athlete for their need at defensive back. Banks was a 90-plus percentile athlete at the scouting combine.
From Peter Schrager of NFL Network: Maryland CB Deonte Banks
Banks could go anywhere in the 15-to-25 range. Jacksonville seems like a good spot. I believe the Jags are going DB here.
From Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars drafted an offensive lineman here, but with Porter sliding down, he’s too good to pass up.
From Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated: Clemson DT Bryan Bresee
GM Trent Baalke has a roster that, impressively enough, doesn’t have a ton of holes left, and that gives him freedom to go best player available here. And Baalke’s always loved the big fellas, and guys who bring athletic traits, and Bresee checks both of those boxes. The Tigers star has the ability to play different spots along the line, and still hasn’t fully tapped his potential, and would be a very solid fit for Mike Caldwell’s multiple, pressure-happy scheme.
From Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country: Alabama S Brian Branch
With where the Jaguars are picking in the draft, there’s a range of players they could focus and lock in on depending on who falls and who gets snapped up, but Branch offers a versatile defensive back who can come in right away as a “starter” for a Jaguars defense that is trying to play catch-up to their offense.
From Eric Edholm of NFL.com: Alabama S Brian Branch
Branch isn’t big (6-foot, 190 pounds) and didn’t test that well athletically at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he’s an extremely smart and instinctive player who can wear a lot of hats in the secondary. Jaguars secondary coach Deshea Townsend (a ‘Bama grad) spent time with Branch at his pro day, and I think defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell could unleash Branch the way Caldwell’s mentor, Todd Bowles, has used Antoine Winfield Jr. in Tampa Bay.
From Hayden Winks of Underdog Fantasy: Alabama S Brian Branch
A young team with fewer holes than expected, I tend to think Jacksonville will go relatively best player available rather than filling in a minuscule draft need. Branch is a slightly below-average athlete, but he’s physical, extremely football smart, and will have Nick Saban’s support. One of the Jaguars’ minor needs is nickel CB or SS, where Branch has positional versatility. I expect OL and TE to also be in play here. Branch’s consensus draft ranking: 21st.
From Ben Solak of The Ringer: Alabama S Brian Branch
From Dane Brugler of The Athletic: Alabama S Brian Branch
Whether he plays safety, nickel or cornerback, Branch would give the Jaguars options in the secondary. Branch’s coverage ability and tackling skills make him one of the easier players to like in this class.
From Danny Kelly of The Ringer: Alabama S Brian Branch
Branch gives the Jaguars such much-needed playmaking in the back end. A hybrid slot corner and safety, he’s highly instinctive in coverage and extremely reliable as a tackler. He makes up for his lack of size with his tone-setting demeanor.
From Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus: Alabama S Brian Branch
Jacksonville needs a slot defender and an all-around savvy, rangy defensive back to deploy across the secondary. That’s what Brian Branch brings to the table.
Branch’s 19 defensive stops in coverage in 2022 were tied for the most in the country, his 24 run stops were tied for 10th and his nine forced incompletions were tied for eighth. While he’s something of a tweener position-wise, he’s a perfect fit for the modern game. Jacksonville couldn’t do anything against Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in their playoff defeat, surrendering 14 receptions and two touchdowns. Branch, in theory, is an answer to the league’s growing list of quality receiving tight ends.
Branch could develop into a neutralizer who can excel in man coverage against the top receiving weapons in the slot while also showing tremendous football IQ and the ability to make plays on the back end with his instinctual approach to the game.
From Mia O’Brien of 1010XL: Alabama S Brian Branch
One of the most popular names mocked to the Jaguars over the final few weeks leading into the NFL Draft, Branch’s third and final season in college was the most productive statistically speaking, even if there were questions about his coverage ability. He racked up 90 tackles (14.0 TFL!!!), broke up seven passes, had three sacks and picked off two passes. Branch began his career at safety before primarily handling nickel coverage duties. While Branch isn’t massive (6’0’’, 190 lbs), he matched up well with bigger receivers and tight ends at the collegiate level. Depending on if you are in the camp that the Jaguars should be drafting a true nickel corner vs. someone who can play nickel now and eventually succeed Darious Williams: this may be very appealing.
From John Shipley of Jaguar Report: Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence
This pick comes down to Brian Branch vs. O’Cyrus Torrence, in my mind. I just can’t shake the idea that the Jaguars might want to look at offensive line first and foremost after the questions that were raised about it at last week’s press conference. They can find a nickel later, but here they get a top-notch guard to fortify their depth.
I do think the Jaguars would take one of the top-five pass-rushers if they were here. Ditto with Deonte Banks, who there has been a lot of smoke on lately. I would guess the Jaguars stay at No. 24, but if they move up, my guess is it would be for Lukas Van Ness.
From Demetrius Harvey of Jacksonville.com: Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence
We picked Torrence with our previous mock draft and are sticking to that pick just prior to the draft taking place.
The more time that goes by, the more that Torrence, 6-5, 330 pounds makes a ton of sense for Jacksonville here. The team held a formal interview with the stud offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year and attended many — if not all — of his games at Florida last year.
Charles McDonald of Yahoo Sports: Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence
Charles Davis of NFL.com: Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence
The Jags snag a top interior OL prospect from just down the road. Torrence dominated in the Sun Belt and the SEC. Now he gets busy protecting one of the top young QBs in the game.
From Evan Silva of Establish the Run: Wisconsin IOL Joe Tippmann
Jacksonville needs interior O-Line help, and Tippmann is a surefire Day 1 starter.
From Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football: Georgia OT Broderick Jones
The Jaguars have issues on defense, but they lost Jawaan Taylor, so they have to find someone new to protect Trevor Lawrence.
Broderick Jones is a raw lineman who showed great upside at the combine.
From Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network: Tennessee OT Darnell Wright
The Jaguars, based on the current status of starting LT Cam Robinson, could be looking for his replacement in 2024. Robinson has no guaranteed money left in his contract past this season, so adding Darnell Wright would make a ton of sense.
The team is also on the lookout for a cornerback, but unless someone drops to them, they likely won’t find any with good enough grades this spot. Guard is another position I’m told they’re looking at.
From Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN: Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
The news that Jacksonville left tackle Cam Robinson is facing a multigame suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy forced me to rethink this selection. Harrison could start on the left side as a rookie. NFL scouts love his upside.
From Josh Norris of Underdog Fantasy: Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron
Anton Harrison would be the ideal pick. O’Cyrus Torrence would have been in consideration. Brian Branch is definitely in play and might be the preferred selection. But every winning mock draft needs one bold call.
From Lance Zierlein of NFL.com: Trade with Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead and Sean McVay are willing to sacrifice draft picks to find impactful players — we all know that. While the Rams are without a first-round pick, they do have enough total draft capital this year to potentially convince Jacksonville to dip to Pick No. 36, allowing Los Angeles to snare the most coveted pass-catching tight end in the draft [Dalton Kincaid].
Final tally from 30 media members:
- Brian Branch: 8
- O’Cyrus Torrence: 4
- Deonte Banks: 4
- Lukas Van Ness: 4
- Myles Murphy/Nolan Smith/Joey Porter Jr./Bryan Bresee: 1
- Broderick Jones/Darnell Wright/Anton Harrison/Matthew Bergeron/Joe Tippmann: 1
- Trade: 1
- Defensive backs: 13
- Offensive line: 9
- Defensive line: 7
Branch Branch (15.8%), O’Cyrus Torrence (6.7%), and Michael Mayer (6.4%) are the most popular Jaguars selections among all public mocks according to NFL Mock Draft Database.