JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Who doesn’t love a mock draft? We all love mock drafts. And when you have a team with multiple first-round picks, and five of the first 65 selections, there’s even more to love.
Several websites offer mock draft simulators and I’ll admit, I run mock drafts on any website I can find. One that I like is The Draft Network mock draft machine. Recently, I ran a simulation where, after drafting Trevor Lawrence with the first pick, the Jaguars waited for their spot at No. 25. Once the pick arrives, there were some remarkable options.
We’ve been talking a lot about who the Jaguars might wind up with with the second of two first-round picks. Some of the names we’ve thrown around include Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye, Penn State Edge Jayson Oweh, cornerbacks Caleb Farley of Virginia Tech, and Georgia’s Eric Stokes as well as Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore. When I ran the simulation, all of these players were available. It’s not an outlandish thought. Unlikely? Yes. But not out of the realm of possibility.
So the question, with all of these players on the board for the Jaguars, who do you pick?
I considered them all. Ojulari fits perfectly if the Jaguars are going to use more of a 3-4 look on defense. Paye is more of a 4-3 player but might convert to playing more of a standout position at the next level. Oweh is raw, but a physical marvel. He ran wide receiver-like times in the 40-yard dash at the Penn State pro day. Stokes is built like the modern corner at 6-feet and 1/2 inch and 194 pounds. He led the Bulldogs with four interceptions in 2020. And Barmore is still young and raw but has remarkable strength for a 21-year old redshirt sophomore. In the end, the decision came down to Ojulari or Barmore.
The Jaguars lost out on Tyson Alualu in free agency. The defensive lineman originally agreed to terms with the Jaguars, but then tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t travel to sign the deal. Side note: if you can sign just about every other legal document electronically these days, why not an NFL contract? Anyway, Alualu had a change of heart and stayed in Pittsburgh.
Ojulari might seem to be a luxury pick, but after Josh Allen, who are the proven pass rushers for the Jaguars? K’Lavon Chaisson might develop into that while being played at a position that is more like his college spot as an outside linebacker. Still, it’s a question.
So in the end, I selected Olulari as the Jaguars pick at 25.
If this were to happen on draft day, there would be several fans who say the Jaguars made the wrong decision. “Take the big man,” they would say. And they might be right.
I played out the simulation to the third round. As a result, those fans would have their jeers turned to cheers. With the first pick of the second round, the Jaguars still found Barmore on the board. What a pick. It kept getting better.
With the 45th pick of the draft, the Jaguars’ second second-round selection, they could address tight end by drafting Penn State tight end Pat Friermuth. The dropoff from Kyle Pitts to Kriermuth might be as large as any gap between the first and second player taken at a position in recent memory. But the Jaguars aren’t going to get Pitts. He’ll go in the top 10 and maybe in the top five.
With the first pick of the third round, I opted to address safety by selecting Jevon Holland of Oregon, an athletic, ball-hawking safety. He had nine interceptions in two years but opted out of the 2020 season with COVID concerns. He might have been a higher pick if he played in 2020.
This is just the first three rounds for the Jaguars, and if this happens for the Jags, they’ll get high grades for the first draft under Urban Meyer and Trent Baalke.
And if you thought that this run of fortune was too much for the Jaguars to expect, I ran another simulation. Imagine if this happened: