JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars wrapped up their two-pick night of the opening round of the draft by staying on the defensive side of the ball.
Eleven picks after they selected Florida cornerback CJ Henderson, the Jaguars took LSU defensive end/linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson to cap their first night of the draft.
The message was clear.
Get better on defense.
Chaisson, a redshirt sophomore, had 34 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season for national champion LSU. He missed his sophomore year with a torn ACL but returned to produce a career season last year. What’s his best attribute as a player? Chaisson said that its lining up and trying to get to the quarter.
“I obviously I feel like my best spot right now is rushing the quarterback,” Chaisson said. “I feel like when all in doubt put me in and I’ll get to the quarterback. But I feel like my versatility is so critical. I’m not saying I’m like Tyrann Mathieu, but I play like him and you never know where he’s at on the field. He plays different positions: back end, corner, safety or whatever the case may be. Players like that are critical in today’s game.”
The Jaguars aren’t done yet.
Jacksonville has 10 picks remaining and numerous holes to fill.
They plugged two of them on Thursday night.
Chaisson (6-3, 254 pounds) could likely morph into a replacement for Yannick Ngakoue. He was a linebacker for the Tigers, but could line up at defensive end in the Jaguars 4-3 defense, much like last year’s No. 1 pick, Josh Allen did. Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said that the team didn’t receive any trade offers for the disgruntled Ngakoue and hope that he reverses course on his demands.
“Our team is excited. I talked to a couple of the players on our team, [and they’re] excited about the direction that we’re [headed] in. They’re excited about their new teammates. I think that’s important,” coach Doug Marrone said. "Who we’re bringing in, we still have that responsibility trying to create this locker room. We’re going to have a young football team, but I feel like these two guys are going to be great contributors for us.”
The Jaguars stayed away from adding offensive weapons in the first round and weren’t swayed by the talent at receiver.
LSU’s Justin Jefferson (6-1, 202 pounds) was projected as one of the draft’s top four receivers and remained on the board with the Jaguars picking at 20.
The run on the more visible receivers (Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s Ceedee Lamb) played out before Jacksonville’s second pick. Ruggs went 12th to the Raiders, Jeudy went 15th to the Broncos and Lamb went 17th to the Cowboys.
“We liked some receivers there [at No. 9]," said Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell. "If C.J. was gone, we kicked around possibly K’Lavon being that pick at nine but also a receiver or two would have came in play if he was gone. We just followed our board and followed the best player that we felt was available at a position of need. We’ve heard for the last year that this is the deepest receiver draft and we know that there are going to be receivers all across the board as the draft goes on.”
The No. 20 pick was from the Rams from their trade of Jalen Ramsey last year.
The No. 9 pick, Henderson filled a gaping hole in the secondary created by trades of AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.