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Urban Meyer knows just how important this draft is for Jaguars

Urban Meyer and Draft Day
Urban Meyer and Draft Day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer’s first experience in the NFL draft room is just the most important moment in franchise history.

No big deal for the rookie NFL coach.

The Jaguars, coming off a 1-15 season, have the No. 1 pick in the draft for the first time in their 27-year history. The organizational reset is in full swing, but Jacksonville is poised to make up ground in a hurry … if it makes the right moves.

Meyer went on the Adam Schefter podcast Monday afternoon and covered quite a few bases as Thursday’s NFL draft inches closer.

Yes, he’s nervous.

The Jaguars have been on a pre-draft media blitz, the focus of a national story by the New York Times, as well as the bulk of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB by Albert Breer.

Jaguars draft ‘21 coverage

Meyer has said time and again just how seismic this draft is for the franchise. Not only are the Jaguars in position to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a player who is regarded among the best NFL prospects ever, but they have a slew of draft choices after that.

Meyer told Schefter bluntly, “there can’t be a miss.”

“It’s a transformational draft for an organization. This is the most important draft. I kind of know the whole history of the Jaguars but this is one of those very unique drafts. When you look at the NFL, this is one of these historic opportunities for Jacksonville. Obviously the No. 1 pick and I keep challenging our staff, ‘we have to get this right. There can’t be a miss,’” he said on the podcast.

“And then you throw the additional challenge of COVID the normal way of doing it, you go in and you … I’m such a relational person that I want to, I want to get about a foot from this player’s face and talk to him about like I did in recruiting … what are you made of, how are you going to handle this, what are your habits … tell me about your family and I want to know this. And you’re now doing it on an iPad. iPads aren’t the same as in person. So, there’s challenges here and I’m very grateful I surrounded myself with veteran people, veteran NFL people.”

Veteran NFL hires and coaches Meyer has had a working relationship with have been who he has leaned on since being hired last January. General manager Trent Baalke has plenty of NFL experience.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell helped develop quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle. Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen has been either a college coordinator/assistant or an NFL assistant since 1990.

Meyer has been soaking it up and learning, albeit on the fly, how things operate in the NFL. But he even admitted during his final local media availability last week that there are plenty of nerves in the process.

“I’m a quick learner. I’ve been working at this now for about three months and the last three to four weeks, this has been our entire life in that room watching video, stacking the board,” Meyer said.

“So, trusting the board is key. I’m at the point almost there that I will trust it, but as a coach, I can see where [you can say], ‘We need this, we need this, and we need this’ and that’s where you get yourself in trouble. It’s been a great learning experience for me and to answer your question, I’m nervous. I’m nervous about everything, I think you know that.”


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.