The Jacksonville Jaguars began with 12 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft but would trade-up twice throughout. The Jags had an interesting draft, choosing to go with players who did not necessarily fit their needs. The team did not draft much help for Trevor Lawrence, aside from third-round pick Luke Fortner. Drafting Snoop Conner gives the running back room depth in case James Robinson and Travis Etienne are not healthy at the beginning of the season. There were still needs at outside wide receiver, left guard, and tight end, but none of those picks were made.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Recaps.
Best Pick: Devin Lloyd (Round 1, Pick 27)
The Jaguars traded up from pick No. 33 to No. 27 to secure Lloyd. The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs each needed linebackers and could have picked him in the following selections. Lloyd was coveted for good reason; he can do it all, from covering in zone drops to blitzing. From pass-rushing one-on-one to making plays in the run game. To top it off, Lloyd brings leadership and an energetic personality. He has the makeup to be a great leader of the Jaguars’ defense for a long time to come.
For more on Lloyd, check out our scouting report on him.
Worst Pick: Chad Muma (Round 3, Pick 70)
This worst selection boils down to a simple thought: The Jaguars picked a second linebacker (or a third if Travon Walker is considered an outside linebacker) instead of giving Lawrence another weapon or support. Simply put, by doubling down on defense, the team is not directly assisting the (franchise) developing quarterback. The positive elements of Muma cannot be understated, as he was the best player on the draft board at the time of the selection. In addition, during a recent interview, Muma said he will play the ‘moneybacker’ role, or the role that rotates between linebacker and safety.
For more on Muma, check out our scouting report on him.
Sleeper Pick: Kevin Austin Jr. (UDFA)
Austin was an undrafted free agent pickup who can play outside wide receiver. Austin has the size and speed to be an NFL receiver, running 4.43 in the 40-yard dash. In addition to the speed, he has a history of making plays downfield and could become the Jaguars’ vertical threat. Austin is somewhat raw in route running and has some concentration issues, but if he receives the right coaching, he could become a successful receiver.
Overall, how good the Jacksonville draft could be is dependent on Walker being great. He has the tools to be one of the most dominant players in the NFL, but is still a project at edge rusher. Game to game, however, there were missed sacks which could have increased his final sack production and lessened the worry most Jaguars fans have. Walker aside, the draft was up-and-down and largely defensively focused. While the team picked good players, the lack of offense was somewhat concerning and leaves some worry about how the offense projects with the lack of high-end receivers for Lawrence.
Overall Grade: C+
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