During this week’s NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars built up assets to help construct the future of their franchise.
Round 1, Selection 7
Josh Allen, Outside Linebacker, Kentucky
Josh Allen was a nice little surprise waiting for Jacksonville at pick number seven. The Jags were not anticipating Allen still being on the board, so naturally, they pounced. Allen was a standout at Kentucky. In his four years there, Allen accrued 31.5 sacks. He will be an immediate impact player for Jacksonville, especially since the Jaguars identify as a defensive-minded team. Jacksonville was a top-5 defense last season, and Allen will only make the defense better.
Round 2, Selection 3
Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Florida
Prior to the draft, Jawaan Taylor was the number one ranked offensive tackle on many of the so-called “big boards” around the league. Somehow, Taylor fell all the way out of the first round and landed with Jacksonville. If Taylor lives up to his pre-draft assessment, then this will turn out to be the steal of the draft. Top rated tackles rarely fall out of the top ten, much less all the way to the second round. After selecting Allen with the first pick, Jacksonville set their eyes on building an offense to support new quarterback signing Nick Foles. Taylor is a multitalented lineman, excelling at both run and pass blocking. He allowed just four sacks in the past two seasons with the Gators. He will provide an instant impact.
Round 3, Selection 5
Josh Oliver, Tight End, San Jose State
In keeping with the trend of adding weapons for Nick Foles, Jacksonville added a big tight end target in Josh Oliver. Oliver is very similar to Zach Ertz in size and will make for a reliable target across the middle. Oliver caught 56 passes for 709 yards and four touchdowns in his senior at San Jose State. Most draft boards ranked Oliver as a top ten tight end. Considering two tight ends went in the top 20, Jacksonville hits on another pick here. Look for Oliver to contribute right away.
Round 3, Selection 34
Quincy Williams, Safety/Linebacker, Murray State
This was the one major head-scratcher of the draft for Jacksonville. Williams played in 43 games for Murray State, recording 231 tackles. The main redeeming factor for this pick is that current Jaguar Telvin Smith is skipping team workouts, which means that Williams may see the field sooner than anticipated.
Round 6, Selection 5
Gardner Minshew, Quarterback, Washington State
The quarterback room got a little more crowded in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have Nick Foles, Cody Kessler, Alex McGough, Tanner Lee, and now Gardner Minshew on the roster. Minshew looks to compete for the back-up job right away. He was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, passing for over 4,700 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Round 7, Selection 21
Dontavius Russell, Defensive Tackle, Auburn
Russell spent five years at Auburn, including one redshirt season. Known for being a run stuffer, Russell hopes to carve out a niche for himself in Jacksonville. It’s a solid seventh-round pick for the Jags, as Russell was projected as high as a fourth-rounder. Adding a four starter is a good pick, especially if that player comes from the SEC. Russell should find plenty of playing time this season in the defensive line rotation.
After going 5-11 last season, the Jaguars have much to look forward to after a very successful draft. They were able to address glaring needs on both offensive and defense, as well as add some quality depth to the roster. Expect a big turnaround this season from the Jaguars.