Previously, we looked at the Tennessee Titans and their draft class; now, it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars turn!
The Jaguars are, of course, the reigning AFC South champions, The team started slow, going into their Week 11 bye with a 3-7 record. However, they would emerge from the bye on a tear, winning 6 of their last 7 and finishing with a 9-8 record, good enough for the division crown. This lead to a 31-30 comeback win over the Chargers in the Wild Card round, before they would fall to the eventual Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-20, in the Divisional round. Obviously, with the presence of Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars were the only AFC South team not interested in drafting a quarterback. Instead, they used their 13 picks to bolster other areas of the roster.
Here is a look at the Jaguars 2023 draft class:
- 1 (27) Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
- 2 (61) Penn St. TE Brenton Strange
- 3 (88) Auburn RB Tank Bigsby
- 4 (121) Florida LB Ventrell Miller
- 4 (130) Oklahoma St. DE Tyler Lacy
- 5 (136) Louisville LB Yasir Abdullah
- 5 (160) Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson
- 6 (185) Penn St. WR Parker Washington
- 6 (202) Rutgers CB Christian Braswell
- 6 (208) Pittsburgh S Erick Hallett II
- 7 (226) Appalachian St. OT Cooper Hodges
- 7 (227) N. Carolina DT Raymond Vohasek
- 7 (240) Houston FB Derek Parish
The Jaguars obviously placed an emphasis on continuing to surround Lawrence with talent. After securing more protection for their young QB with their first pick, they gave him two new weapons to work with in TE Brenton Strange and RB Tank Bigsby. While the team did add some defensive help as the draft went on, it was peculiar to see them go heavy on offense during the first 3 rounds. There was a belief heading into the draft that the Jaguars would look to add to a defensive line that could not get to a hobbled Patrick Mahomes during their playoff loss, but the team didn’t take a defensive lineman until the 4th round.
The AFC South still runs through Jacksonville, and will for the foreseeable future. The addition of WR Calvin Ridley as he returns from a year-long suspension adds another weapon to a potent Jaguars offense, while they have a coach in Doug Pederson that has proven he can get the best out of his players no matter the circumstances. Of course, the centerpiece of their whole operation is Lawrence; having a true franchise quarterback will do wonders for building the rest of your team. It’s no surprise all 3 other AFC South teams drafted quarterbacks. They know that unless they too get their franchise signal caller, they’ll continue to be looking up at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
During Wednesday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, Mark Long, who covers the Jaguars and the Florida Gators for the Associated Press, joined the show! He and John had a conversation on the state of the Jaguars, the Colts brand new quarterback from Gainesville, plus the overall state of the AFC South. Listen to that and more below, and tune in to The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!
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