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Ranking each Jaguars’ 2023 draft pick by how soon they will play

Find out when each of Jacksonville’s 13 rookies might first see the field

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2023 NFL Draft with nine picks, and ended up with 13. While many of the picks came in the later stages of the draft, no one player can be discounted by where they were ultimately selected.

Plenty of current Jaguars have risen beyond draft day expectations. Former sixth-rounder Foye Oluokon was drafted 200th overall and was quite literally told by NFL execs that players from the Ivy League were not good enough (Oluokon went to Yale).

The two-time NFL leader in tackles certainly surpassed the low expectations set for him, and much of the 2023 Jaguars’ draft class can as well.

Anton Harrison: Week 1

Harrison will be an opening-day starter for the Jaguars when they travel to Indianapolis to start the year.

He will be getting the start at right tackle while starting left tackle Cam Robinson serves his suspension. Third-year pro Walker Little will fill in directly for Robinson on the left side of the line, giving the quarterback’s frontside blocking to Harrison.

The 27th overall pick recently said he is learning a lot about how to function in the NFL from veteran right guard Brandon Scherff, and that the overall offensive line group is gelling nicely during training camp.

“That group is great,” Harrison said of the offensive line. “That group is real close, a real family group, so I feel like I could ask anybody in that group a question. They are willing to help me. That’s what I love about that group, just to see everybody’s drive to get better.”

Brenton Strange: Week 1

Strange, selected with the team’s second-round pick, will most likely see action against the Colts as well as Harrison.

Depth charts have not been officially set, but Strange will almost certainly see the field in some form of a multiple tight end set on Sept. 10.

He compliments starting tight end Evan Engram as equal parts blocker and pass catcher, giving him more flexibility over the team’s third tight end Luke Farrell.

Most of the pass-catching duties early will be handled by Engram, but getting Strange acclimated early and often can only help as the season goes on.

On the first day of voluntary workouts, Strange took reps in the absence of Engram along with tight ends Gerrit Prince and Luke Farrell.

Tank Bigsby: Week 1-3

A surprise pick to some, Bigsby, a running back out of Auburn, was the team’s third-round selection.

Bigsby is currently the team’s third option at running back and will be competing for minutes behind Travis Etienne and JaMycal Hasty.

The Colts have a generally porous defense, so maybe Bigsby gets in late if the score gets out of hand. He probably will not play against the Chiefs in Week 2, but by Week 3 there should be a play or two that Bigsby can handle on offense to give Etienne, Hasty, or even Jamal Agnew a blow.

A not terribly known side of Bigsby’s time at Auburn was that he was the team’s return man for a year in 2020. It is highly possible he gets some return work at some point early in the season.

Derek Parish: Week 1-5

Oddly enough, the Jaguars' final selection in the seventh round may see the field before many of the team’s other late-round selections.

Parish came to the Jags as an EDGE, but is going to play fullback in the pros. Currently, he is the team’s only designated fullback on the roster.

There is no reason to think he cannot fulfill a Tommy Bohanan-type role in the offense, which would see him playing as early as Week 1 if needed.

Yasir Abdullah: Week 3-5

Abdullah was dubbed on Draft Day to be a “perfect fit” for the Jaguars' defensive line.

The fifth-round rookie out of Louisville can rush and drop back into coverage, exactly what the Jags want in a defensive end.

He is on the small-ish end, at an inch over six feet and 237 pounds, but that did not stop him in college.

He was second in the NCAA in quarterback hits, behind second-overall pick Will Anderson Jr.

Largely regarded as a steal in the fifth round, Abdullah should be a rotational piece, even if just for a play or two, early in the year.

“When you look at Yasir, he has been that size all his life, but he does it a different way,” said defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell. “If you can play the run, and are slippery enough in the run game and can get around the edge, there is a place for that. Last year we had bigger rushes. I was always harping on getting a fastball and Yasir is that guy that can get around the edge and also be stout in the run game.”

Antonio Johnson: Week 3-5

Another potential steal for the Jaguars was Texas A&M defensive back Antonio Johnson, who the team took with the 160th pick.

Johnson was highly regarded as a potential second-round pick but slid to the fifth.

He will play box safety for the defense, using his combination of smaller size but elite athleticism to challenge both the run and the pass.

Johnson is built along similar lines as the Broncos’ Justin Simmons, who was the league’s co-leader in picks last season while playing down in the box.

The defense is thinner at safety than most positions, so Johnson could beat out a guy like Daniel Thomas for minutes early on in the year.

Parker Washington: Week 6-8

Penn State’s Parker Washington joined the Jaguars as the team’s first of three sixth-round picks.

He joins an already busy wide receiver room but could see minutes in a similar role that a guy like Tim Jones fills out.

Washington is only listed at 5’10, so he too is on the smaller side, but he still planted his name all over Penn State record books while playing fairly inconsistent quarterback play.

If he has a random good game early, it would not be hard to imagine Doug Pederson wanting to see more of Washington and what he brings to an already explosive offense.

Tyler Lacy: mid-season

With the team’s second fourth-round pick, the Jags selected Oklahoma State EDGE Tyler Lacy.

Lacy is a big body, measuring 6’4, 279 pounds. His production and athleticism scores at the Combine both ranked in the top-5, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

He could be a solid five-technique defender for the defensive line, meaning he lines up with his hand in the dirt on the outside shoulder of a tackle.

A player on the Jaguars he is most like is probably Roy Robertson-Harris or Duwuane Smoot. All three are about the same size and weight, and all can play both interior and exterior.

Depending on Smoot’s production early, especially post-injury, Lacy may be called upon sooner rather than later.

Christian Braswell: late-season/none

Braswell, the second sixth-round pick, likely fills in as depth at the nickel position.

The team needs help at corner, but Braswell would have to beat out Tre Herndon and Chris Claybrooks to see the field.

He has the chops to make it at the nickel position, as seen by his 14 pass breakups and three interceptions for Rutgers last year.

“One of the goals coming out of the draft was adding depth,” Pederson said after OTAs on Monday. “Adding guys that couple potentially contribute on special teams. I like the fact that we have young secondary guys that can work inside and outside.”

Erick Hallett: mid- to late-season

The team’s final sixth-round pick, and ninth overall, was Pittsburgh safety Erick Hallett.

Hallett, much like Braswell and Johnson, are depth pieces at this point with good upside at a low draft value.

Hallett was transitioning to play corner in the NFL, as opposed to safety as he did in college, but on the first day of OTAs, Hallett was working with the safety group.

With that distinction, there is no reason he cannot play both positions, but at corner, he finds himself even further down the roster.

Raymond Vohasek: late-season

Another depth piece in the seventh round was North Carolina’s Raymond Vohasek.

Vohasek plays defensive tackle, so there is slight potential for the Jags to use his 300-plus pound frame on the interior at some point. At the very least he serves as an option should an injury arise.

Cooper Hodges: none

The 226th overall pick was offensive tackle Cooper Hodges out of Appalachian State.

At this point, there should be no expectation to see Hodges on the field.

Hodges is a local kid, hailing from Baker County. He will add depth at right tackle in the future.

“Offensive line, we got deeper,” Pederson said. “This is one of the better top-to-bottom offensive lines we have had in a long time.”

Ventrell Miller: unknown timetable

The Jaguars took what could be considered a slight risk in the fourth round, taking Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller.

Miller, who played three full seasons with the Gators, played through a Jones fracture in his foot during his junior year and had surgery after his season concluded.

So far, he has participated in light drills in minicamp but has no concrete timetable.

According to Sports Medicine Oregon, a surgical repair of a Jones fracture takes six to eight weeks to heal. Miller is well beyond that healing timeline, but the study also points out that athletes that play through a fracture or try to play too quickly can experience reinjury.

“We are excited to have him here,” Caldwell said. “He is in a room that is stacked. There is going to be a lot of competition, a lot of depth built. He has to work his way. Special teams will be key for him.”