The Jacksonville Jaguars’ brutal collapse down the stretch of the 2023 season will sting for a while. The only way to heal as a fan base is to dive right into draft season with a fresh three-round 2024 mock draft.
The Jags currently hold the 17th overall pick in the first round, but their Day-2 picks aren’t as set in stone due to the unknown future of Calvin Ridley.
During his trade negotiations with the Falcons, GM Trent Baalke agreed to certain incentives that would dictate what draft picks the Falcons would obtain in the trade. As things stand right now, Jacksonville owes Atlanta their third-round pick due to Ridley reaching his play time and statistical benchmarks.
However, that pick will turn into a second-rounder if the Jaguars re-sign Ridley before the new league year begins on March 13.
Considering the unknown status of both Day 2 picks, we’re going to make selections at each spot for this three-round mock. The Jaguars are also likely to land a third-round compensatory pick after Jawaan Taylor signed with the Chiefs last offseason.
Round 1, Pick 17: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
No matter what the Jacksonville Jaguars decide with Calvin Ridley, adding more talent at the receiver position is a must in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Jags receiving core had a rough year when you take into account the expectations bestowed upon them going into the season. Not only did Ridley not play to the level many were hoping for, but injuries and drops plagued the unit all season long. With Jamal Agnew unlikely to return next season, and Zay Jones being a potential cut candidate considering what he’s owed in 2024, Jacksonville will need another playmaker out wide -- and this draft is loaded with talent at the position.
So with the 17th overall pick, I have them adding Brian Thomas Jr. out of LSU.
At 6-foot-4, BTR would provide Trevor Lawrence with a lengthy target that can win downfield in a multitude of ways. The second-team All-SEC receiver is incredibly smooth for a guy with his length. He’s explosive in both his route-running and at the catch point as he consistently separates at all three levels while showing off impressive body control when adjusting to throws outside of his frame.
Brian Thomas Jr out here Mossing folks— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 25, 2023
His skillset would be a welcome addition to a relatively undersized group of pass catchers in Jacksonville.
Round 2, Pick 48: Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, OC, Georgia
The interior of the Jacksonville offensive line was a disaster in 2023.
Right guard Brandon Scherff looked as though his age was catching up to him, center Luke Fortner didn’t take the sophomore leap some were expecting (he might have even regressed), and left guard was a turnstile that saw four different players start throughout the year.
Because of the poor play on the inside, the Jaguars’ rushing attack struggled mightily. They finished 30th in the NFL in average yards per attempt on the ground, despite Travis Etienne Jr. leading the NFL in forced missed tackles.
That’s why I have the Jags upgrading the interior with a three-year starter at center for the Georgia Bulldogs, Sedrick Van Pran-Granger. An overwhelmingly physical player, Van Pran-Granger combines that tenacity with a surprising quickness off the snap that would provide the Jacksonville O-line with some much-needed juice in the middle.
Sedrick Van Pran laddies & Gentleman… pic.twitter.com/Rww3MZs41E— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) December 30, 2023
This would be huge value for a player of his caliber, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he slips right into Jacksonville’s lap in the middle of the second.
*Pick goes to the Falcons if Calvin Ridley is re-signed before March
Round 3, Pick 79: Braden Fiske, DT, FSU
The Jacksonville Jaguars got terrific pass rushing production from their edge duo this season as Josh Allen and Travon Walker combined for 27.5 sacks on the year. Unfortunately, the interior of the defensive front had minimal impact affecting the quarterback, finishing the year with a measly 4.5 sacks.
IDL, with 138 players fitting the criteria:— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) January 8, 2024
RRH: 25th in pressures, 72nd in win-rate
Gotsis: 60th in pressures, 122nd in win-rate
Fatukasi: 78th in pressures, 77th in win-rate
Ledbetter: 107th in pressures, 124th in win-rate
Blackson: 127th in pressures, 130th in win-rate
That’s where Florida State’s Braden Fiske comes in. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound transfer from Western Kentucky was a force for the Seminoles down the stretch of their season. All 6 of his sacks on the year came in his final five games, including an utterly dominant performance against Louisville in the ACC Championship Game when he had 3 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss.
Florida State IDL Braden Fiske finished with 4.5 TFLs and 3.0 sacks against Louisville.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 3, 2023
Just watch his effort. pic.twitter.com/dmMOT3g3So
Fiske plays with violence at the point of attack and his hand-usage is some of the best in this IDL class. On top of that, Fiske has a super quick get-off for a man of his stature and has proven to understand the importance of maintaining eye discipline while engaged with blockers.
Adding a player like Fiske to the rotation of Jacksonville’s defensive front would go a long way in helping out an interior that is severely lacking consistent push right now.
*Pick goes to the Falcons if Calvin Ridley isn’t re-signed, or is re-signed after March