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2023 NFL Draft: Grading the Jaguars’ Day 3 and overall draft

Grading Jacksonville’s Saturday selections and full class

Missouri v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2023 NFL Draft with nine picks and left with 13 players.

Jacksonville began the third day of the draft (rounds 4-7) with an objectively aggressive reach -- Ventrell Miller was expected to be a sixth- or seventh-round selection, if not an undrafted free agent.

The Lakeland native was a four-year starter at linebacker and locker room leader for Florida, but he’s also 24 years old with poor size, athleticism, and injury history. Though Miller is a nice addition to the team, the price tag hurt, especially after Jacksonville’s frustrating day two (rounds 2-3) of the draft.

The league clearly held second-round pick Brenton Strange in higher regard than public consensus: three scouts told ESPN’s Matt Miller they believed Strange would be picked in the late-second round, and Strange said himself he expected to go in the third or fourth round. However, Penn State’s tight end does not project as a starter, in terms of both his prospect profile and Jacksonville’s plans for him (they still want to extend Evan Engram).

I don’t have much of a problem with the Bigsby pick in a vacuum. The team as made it clear that Travis Etienne won’t be anything close to a bellcow running back: with JaMycal Hasty retained, D’Ernest Johnson signed, and now Bigsy drafted in the third round, Jacksonville will have “two, three, four guys that can work the rotation at any given time.” But Bigsby is another early draft pick who will likely never play the majority of snaps bar an injury to someone higher on the depth chart.

After drafting its right tackle of the future in the first round, the Jaguars spent its next three picks on a secondary tight end, rotational running back, and backup linebacker. I don’t care how good their tape, potential, or character is -- those are the roles they were drafted to fill.

I would’ve preferred to see the team take a chance on prospects at more important positions with higher ceilings.

Here’s some relevant facts and stats:

  • Jacksonville plays in a conference that includes star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and now Aaron Rodgers.
  • They also play in a division that now includes rookie passers C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis.
  • Last year, the Jaguars allowed the fifth-most passing yards in the league and ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA.

I’m shocked the team didn’t address its secondary or defensive line until the 130th pick.

A veteran free agent signing would help mightily, but the Jaguars still needs long-term answers at CB2 opposite Tyson Campbell and EDGE2 opposite Travon Walker.

Jacksonville did leave the draft with a long-term answer at OT2 opposite Walker Little. Besides the Strange and Miller picks, Baalke also did a commendable job managing the board by drafting at positions of need based on each position’s depth in the class.

Plus, he added extra picks in the process via trade-downs, and won each trade value-wise. Getting more swings at the plate is always a smart tactic in an event as random and unpredictable as the draft.

EDGE Yasir Abdullah, S Antonio Johnson, WR Parker Washington, and S Erick Hallett II are strong value picks and could feasibly find niche roles on the team. DL Tyler Lacy helps fill the Arden Key/Dawuane Smoot void and Derek Parish is a fun fullback selection.

I don’t have much else to say about Jacksonville’s Day 3 picks without having watched any film yet, but again, the Jaguars finished the draft well in terms of finding value while filling needs.

If the team had picked up a good cornerback and/or edge prospect in the middle rounds, I’d award a much higher overall grade. But the Strange and Miller selections will be near-unforgivable if Campbell or Walker misses considerable time next season.

Day 3 grade: B+

Full draft class grade: B-

I handed the Jaguars an A- for its Day 1 moves and a D for its Day 2 actions. See how national media graded Jacksonville’s draft, plus Twitter reactions, prospect profiles, player highlights, UDFA signings, and more on our Jaguars Home Page.