JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first round of the NFL draft is in the books and the Jaguars had quite the night. The News4Jax sports staff grades the first first round for coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke.
And it’s a good one.
Justin Barney: A
Jacksonville could just sit the rest of this draft out and still get a perfect grade for this. You add a Trevor Lawrence to the roster and it’s tough to argue with anything less than a perfect grade. Lawrence alone warrants it. The Travis Etienne pick at 25 was a bit of a surprise, but I like it. I know Jacksonville has James Robinson and free agent signee Carlos Hyde, but I can’t see Urban Meyer spending a first-round pick on a player of Etienne’s caliber only to use him on third down or as a gadget back. Etienne had 6,894 all-purpose yards at Clemson. He had 70 career rushing TDs. He is going to be a very integral part of this offense. Running backs in the first round are always hyper-scrutinized and rightfully so. I’d like this pick a bit less if there wasn’t so much defensive depth still on the draft board entering Round 2. The Jaguars are going to get a stud at No. 33, and another potential starter at 45. Even if you thought the Etienne pick was a reach, would you have felt that way if Jacksonville got him at 33?
Jamal St. Cyr: A-
I’m glad they didn’t mess this first pick up. It was a no-brainer that Trevor Lawrence gives this franchise a chance to be special. Drafting a running back in the first round is always risky in the NFL today. If the Jaguars drafted Travis Etienne at No. 33, I would love the pick. Etienne adds a speed dimension to the offense that they have been missing for years. If he can be a playmaker from the slot and the backfield then the pick is great. But on the surface with all the needs on the defense, this pick screamed reach.
Cole Pepper: A
Of course Trevor Lawrence is an A+ pick. That’s the only way to grade the guy expected to be a franchise quarterback. The pick of RB Travis Etienne is interesting. Urban Meyer wants to play fast and have big plays and Etienne and certainly did that in his college days, One of the draft comps for Etienne is Alvin Kamara. If he plays like the Saints running back, his grade is even higher.