We’ve gathered grades from 17 national media outlets to provide a fresh perspective on how the Jacksonville Jaguars fared in the 2023 NFL Draft.
From Chad Reuter:
The pending suspension of Cam Robinson for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy made the Jags’ need at tackle even more obvious, so the Harrison selection made tons of sense. Strange’s pick was likely forced by the run on tight ends in the second round. Jacksonville could have probably waited until Day 3 to find Bigsby or a similarly talented back.
One year after the Jaguars drafted two linebackers early, they took Miller early in the fourth despite the fact he is coming off injury and Abdullah in the fifth, though the former Cardinal is more of a threat on the edge. They smartly addressed their needs at defensive tackle with Lacy and Vohasek and in the secondary with Braswell and Hallett. Washington could work his way into a crowded receiver room with his strength and quickness in space, and Parish is a fullback who starred as an edge rusher for Houston the past couple of years.
AP News: B+
From Rob Maaddi:
Improved offense with first three picks: OT Anton Harrison (27), TE Brenton Strange and RB Tank Bigsby. WR Parker Washington could be a steal in the sixth round.
From ESPN: B
From Mel Kiper Jr.:
Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke made two trades down in Round 1, acquiring extra fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks in the process. That’s a coup for dropping down just three spots and still getting an offensive tackle who could start as a rookie. With Cam Robinson facing a suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, Anton Harrison (27) might have to be thrown into the fire on the left side. Harrison allowed just one sack over the past two seasons. He had a lot of fans inside the NFL.
If Baalke & Co. didn’t go with a tackle in the first round, I thought they might go with a tight end. The Jags filled that need with Brenton Strange (61) in Round 2. Strange had been rising since the combine; I went back to study his tape after his combine workout, and I liked what I saw. He has the talent to turn into a solid pass-catcher. I also liked the value for edge rusher Yasir Abdullah (136) and safety Antonio Johnson (160) on Day 3, but I would have gone with running back Roschon Johnson over Tank Bigsby (88) in the third round. Bigsby is a physical runner, but does he have the speed to rip off chunk yardage? It was just a little high for me.
Jacksonville ended up with six selections in the final two rounds, and my favorite was wideout Parker Washington (185), who has a chance to contribute early out of the slot. Baalke took a few fliers late, which I always recommend.
There’s not much flash about this class, but the substance is important, as Harrison and Strange fill holes and have high-level potential.
From Grace McDermott:
Well, the Jags had volume this year, if nothing else. They filled out the offense around Trevor Lawrence in the first four picks, adding protection and receiving options. Bigsby should help fill out the run game around Travis Etienne, and Harrison can be added to the rotation to protect Lawrence with Cam Robinson potentially suspended. Whether they needed all those seventh-round picks remains to be seen, but they have some solid options to add depth at lots of different positions.
[Anton Harrison] makes a lot of sense given the reported suspension for Cam Robinson. The 24th ranked player on the PFF big board, the Jaguars get Harrison at about the right spot but pick up three additional picks by moving down. He allowed just nine total pressures from 447 pass-blocking snaps in 2022.
[Cole Strange] could very well be a long-term replacement for Evan Engram because Strange projects far better as a receiver than he does as a run blocker. He caught 62.5% of the contested targets he saw in 2022 and had a drop rate of just 3.0%. His 60.5 run-blocking grade confirms that you probably don’t want him taking on defensive ends as an in-line blocker.
Jacksonville adds a complementary weapon to Travis Etienne by taking Auburn running back Tank Bigsby. The Jags employ inside-zone runs at a high rate, and Bigsby turned in the second-best rushing grade on such plays among Power Five running backs since 2020.
From Doug Farrar:
Jaguars GM Trent Baalke was pretty busy with all these picks, and the hits could be serious. Anton Harrison is a plug-and-play left tackle who can slide right in and succeed. Brenton Strange should combine with Evan Engram to give Doug Pederson some really interesting two-TE packages, and Tank Bigsby lives up to his nickname on the field with his violent running style.
The two fifth-round picks really stand out — Yasir Abdullah is a smaller edge-rusher who wins with estimable quickness and bend; he was one of my more underrated speed ends. And Antonio Johnson should help a secondary that needs a lot of it. I would have liked to see more cornerback help here, but the Jags did add important pieces to a roster that is supposed to be playoff-pound in 2023.
NBC Sports Edge: B-
From Eric Froton:
Anton Harrison (6’4/315) had generated a lot of steam heading into the week as a potential first-rounder, with Jacksonville trading back and still picking up the First Team All-Big 12 left tackle. Harrison lacks a plus tool when it comes to both strength and lateral movement, which is why he didn’t bench or do agility drills at the Combine despite posting a rock solid 1.71s 10-yard split (96th%). However he does a nice job in offsetting those deficiencies with a keen understanding of proper positioning and how to use the play call to leverage his strengths and minimize his limitations. What really strikes me about the Jags is their 10 selections from pick 121-to-240, choosing to spray the board and take players from just about every position group outside of QB to bolster their depth chart and provide hungry challengers for the current vets. Every pick from Bigsby at #88, to Washington at #185 features an accomplished Power Five prospect who has the potential to contribute at their positions. Those picks allowed the Jags to pivot to a few deep cuts in the late rounds that some of their local scouts likely unearthed and fit their intentions.
CBS Sports: B-
From Pete Prisco:
Trading down and adding picks and still getting tackle Anton Harrison makes sense, considering they have to give Trevor Lawrence a mega-deal, which means cheap labor will be needed. That’s also why having 13 picks matters. But I didn’t love the second-round pick (TE Brenton Strange) or Bigsby that much. They better hope a lot of those third-day guys play. I liked fifth-round safety Antonio Johnson and sixth-round corner Christopher Braswell in addition to Abdullah.
FOX Sports: B-
From Ben Arthur:
It’s surprising that it took the Jaguars until the fourth round to address the pass rush (Jacksonville had just 35 sacks last season, tied for 25th in the NFL). But accumulating 12 draft picks for an already good team is impressive — there’s plenty of potential for strong depth — and they’ve certainly fed into their strength: the Trevor Lawrence-led offense. With its first three picks, Jacksonville took an offensive tackle, tight end and running back who should all play key roles as rookies.
From Evan Silva:
Due to Cam Robinson’s PEDs suspension, the Jags are kicking Walker Little to left tackle and starting Harrison immediately on the right, where they believe he’ll benefit from playing next to RG Brandon Scherff. Long, experienced, and plenty athletic, Harrison was regarded more highly by teams than media. Strange went earlier than expected but is one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft, a fluid mover, and has room to grow as a pass catcher. Evan Engram is wearing a one-year franchise tag. A compact, tough runner with exceptional balance on contact, Bigsby will smoothly complement Travis Etienne. Miller profiles as a special teamer. Lacy is a 6-foot-4, 280-pound inside-outside tweener who wasn’t supposed to go that early. Calvin Ridley is also part of this haul after the Jaguars acquired him for a Day 3 pick in 2023 and a conditional second-/third-rounder in 2024. Jacksonville made a bunch of trades down and picked up a bunch of additional selections, a strategy I typically like. I didn’t like it as much this year because of the weakness of the draft as a whole. I still think the Jags got better as a team.
From Vinnie Iyer:
The Jaguars had to lock into offensive tackle early after losing Jawaan Taylor in free agency and learning of Cam Robinson’s looming suspension. It was then weird to pivot to more tight end and backfield help so early and then reaching defensively with Miller, Lacy and Abudllah. Harrison can start right away, however, and Johnson filled their lone true pressing needing as a first-round caliber safety. They also weren’t lower because of some good versatility later.
From Ryan Gosling:
The Jaguars continued to have a mid-off with themselves throughout the entirety of the NFL Draft. While the class certainly could have been worse, a team that had a TON of capital and a lot of franchise momentum simply had a bit of an uninspiring go of things.
Anton Harrison is a fine pick at a position of need, and Tank Bigsby is a fun player, but the lack of a “whoa, great selection” moment when your team made more than 10 selections is a bit underwhelming.
However, C’s get degrees.
The Ringer: C-
From Danny Kelly:
I wasn’t a huge fan of what the Jaguars did over the first two days of the draft. Jacksonville landed a potential future starting left tackle in Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison on day one, but that pick was a bit of a reach per my board (he ranked 50th). I don’t see a ton of upside with the team’s second- and third-round picks either, with Penn State tight end Brenton Strange projecting as an H-back and Auburn running back Tank Bigsby a backup/rotational running back. I did like what the team did on day three, though: Louisville’s Yasir Abdullah adds some juice to the team’s edge rusher/linebacker group; Texas A&M safety Antonio Johnson brings versatility to the defensive backs spot; and Penn State receiver Parker Washington offers yards-after-the-catch talent at receiver.
Yahoo Sports: C-
From Charles McDonald:
Eh. The Jaguars draft started off well by trading down and still grabbing Oklahoma tackle Anton Harrison, but they burned their Day 2 picks. Strange was a major reach at pick No. 61 and Tank Bigsby was an odd use of draft resources considering the other needs they have. The Jaguars made a whopping 10 picks on the third day of the draft, including six in the sixth and seventh rounds. Perhaps they could have used some of those picks to trade up a bit for more players who can help them hold onto the AFC South. They did well with Harrison and Johnson, but they left a lot of meat on the bone compared to the picks they had.
From Matt Verderame:
The Jaguars had a bizarre draft in many ways. Jacksonville needed to find additional pass rush to supplement Josh Allen—who is in the final year of his deal—and yet didn’t address that need. Instead, general manager Trent Baalke used a pair of Day-2 picks to land a blocking tight end and a reserve running back. Jacksonville found some good value on the third day with Johnson in the fifth round and Washington in the sixth, but outside of Harrison filling a clear need at right tackle, there are real questions about what the Jaguars walked away with.
USA Today: D+
From Nate Davis:
OT Anton Harrison became a priority in light of the PED suspension incumbent LT Cam Robinson is facing and the departure of RT Jawaan Taylor in free agency. Aside from that, it felt like the Jags bolstered their depth if not finding much impact. Fifth-round DB Antonio Johnson could be the rookie who contributes the most aside from Harrison. Still, for a team that narrowly won the AFC South in 2022, it feels like the rest of the division might have closed whatever narrow gap existed.
From Arif Hasan’s industry consensus big board scoring:
The Jaguars have had some pretty strong drafts recently, so this comes as a disappointment. That said, they came away with some of the strongest steals of the draft anyway, so it may all mean nothing. The board loved the Antonio Johnson pick in the fifth round and figured that the reach for Anton Harrison in the first round was worth it. Parker Washington was also a positive selection. With 13 picks, though, there were a lot of places to falter — and that’s what they did with nearly every other pick.
Brenton Strange, at 61st overall, was the biggest problem, as he ranked 138th overall. But they also lost value on four players completely outside of the top 300 — DT Raymond Vohasek from North Carolina (615th), OT Cooper Hodges from Appalachian State (453rd), S Erick Hallett III from Pitt (441st), and CB Christian Braswell from Rutgers (333rd).
We gave the Jaguars a B- for its full draft class.
Our grades for the #Jaguars’ Day 3 picks and full 2023 draft class: https://t.co/n9iCnEXLp0— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) April 30, 2023