Who should the Jaguars pick? Making the team’s 12 selections in the NFL draft

Jacksonville has plenty of holes to fill in this year’s draft

Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker (44) against Arkansas during an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Woods) (Michael Woods, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the NFL draft only a few days away, much of the conversation has revolved around the Jaguars’ top two picks, No. 1 overall and No. 33. But Jacksonville has 10 other picks in this year’s draft that could be valuable pieces for rebuilding their roster. So, with no draft pick left behind, here is my seven-round mock for the Jaguars.

Jaguars NFL draft primer | The list of picks, targets and local prospects

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R1:1 Edge Travon Walker, Georgia

The first pick comes down to the two defensive line prospects. From the sounds of things, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson has the edge inside the Jaguars building, but there is a collective push for Walker. I think the momentum for Walker ultimately wins out.

Walker is a great athlete with intriguing upside, but why didn’t that translate to dominant play at Georgia? Sure, some of it was scheme-based and some was where Walker needs to continue to develop his game. But his potential will leave any coach drooling about what he can be if he puts it all together. Potential is a dangerous word when it comes to draft picks.

The biggest pro to Walker is his versatility. He will be able to rush from the edge, rush from the interior and even drop back into coverage some. Walker reminds me of Ziggy Ansah. When Ansah came out in the draft, he was an exceptional athlete who needed to refine his game. Ansah was able to put the pieces together on his way to an impactful career. Walker could be even better than that. From day one, Walker should be an impactful run defender, until he can refine his pass rush moves.

R2: 33 LB Quay Walker, Georgia

The first two picks sound like a law firm. When you need a good defense call, Walker and Walker. The Jaguars go back to the Georgia well for the second time, adding Walker to the mix. The biggest hole in the starting lineup right now is at linebacker. Walker can fill that spot from the outset. Walker was a one-year starter for the Bulldogs and he racked up 67 tackles, 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also had three passes defended. Similar to Travon, Quay has a size and speed combination that will make him a force on the football field. He ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at the combine. His tackling and coverage skills at the linebacker spot would be big additions to the Jaguars defense.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix (10) is sacked by Georgia linebacker Quay Walker (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

R3: 65 WR Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama

To be a good offense in the NFL today you need PLAYMAKERS. The Jaguars have added some new faces to their wide receivers room, but you can’t have too much talent. The Jaguars need to add a receiver who can line up on the outside. Tolbert lined up primarily on the outside in college. Tolbert is a small school guy coming from South Alabama, but he can play with the big boys. I watched Tolbert look like the best receiver on the field at the Senior Bowl. You can go watch his game against Tennessee from last season to see his potential. Tolbert is an intriguing piece to add to the Jaguars offensive arsenal. His size, speed and catch radius could turn him into a top-flight receiver in the NFL.

R3: 70 G Dylan Parham, Memphis

The Jaguars could use a lift on their interior offensive line. Throughout the draft process, the Jaguars have shown interest in Parham. Grabbing him here in the third round is a big get. Parham has only been playing offensive line for a few years (he’s a former tight end), but he has adjusted well. He was first-team All-American Athletic Conference last season. Parham is slightly on the small side for a guard, but so was AJ Cann, who was a starter on the Jaguars offensive line for years. Parham has played multiple spots along the line so a move to center for him would not be out of the question.

R4:106 T Kellen Diesch, Arizona State

The middle rounds are a good time to build out the trenches. This year’s offensive line group is deep. Getting a player like Diesch here is a good deal. Diesch has started two years at left tackle for the Sun Devils. The biggest knock on him is his arm length, but that wasn’t a problem in college last season he was one of Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded Power Five tackles. According to PFF, he allowed multiple pressures only once in 2021 and gave up all of seven in total. Diesch would come in and compete for a reserve role this season but would give the Jaguars another developmental tackle to work with.

R5: 157 HB Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State

With James Robinson and Travis Etienne both coming off major injuries, the Jaguars need to add a young running back just in case there are any setbacks. Strong is a big play waiting to happen. He was the fastest back at the scouting combine with a 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash. Strong is a small school guy, but he was dominant. In 2021, he led the FCS with 1,686 rushing yards and was second with 18 rushing TDs. Strong would add some juice to that reserve running back spot.

R6: 180 LB Micah McFadden, Indiana

Let me start by saying I truly hope the Jaguars don’t actually use all four of these sixth-round picks. McFadden is a two-time team captain who led the Hoosiers with 77 tackles, 15.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks. He added three pass breakups and forced two fumbles in 12 starts. McFadden is an accomplished linebacker, but his role in the NFL will start on special teams. He has core special teams experience from college. For all the special teams talk from last season, the Jaguars still finished ranked in the bottom half of the league.

R6: 188 DL Eric Johnson, Missouri State

Johnson is another small school guy. He started catching the eye of NFL evaluators during the postseason process. He had a strong performance at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, then another good showing at the Senior Bowl where he first caught my attention. Johnson is a late-round flyer kind of player. His tape looks ordinary, but he has the athletic tools that helped him to excel in the postseason bowl weeks. The potential is there. The question is can NFL coaches help him to tap that potential.

R6: 197 S Leon O’Neal Jr., Texas A&M

O’Neal Jr. is self-described as the “best safety in the country.” His play didn’t exactly back that up, but there is a lot to like. As a three-year starter for an SEC program, he is experienced. O’Neal is an excellent run defender who is not afraid to lay down a big hit and another player who should find a role on special teams early in his career.

R6: 198 G Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina

You can never have too much competition on the O-line. Ezeudu is a guy who played all over the line during his college career playing both tackle spots and left guard. In the NFL, he should find a home at guard.

R7: 222 TE Connor Heyward, Michigan State

Not exactly the tight end draft pick some Jaguars fans are hoping for, but Heyward could be an interesting piece. He is the son of late NFL running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. His brother is Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward. Coming from a football family, he will know what to expect in the NFL. Heyward is a bit of a do-it-all-type player. He is a former running back who was moved to a full back/H-back/tight end in college. While not an exceptional athlete, he has good hands, impactful blocking ability and shows some run after catch skills. His versatility will find him a home on an NFL roster.

R7: 235 S Markquese Bell, FAMU

In the seventh round, the Jaguars grab another safety. Bell was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and signed with Maryland, but an off-field violation of team rules forced him to leave the program and eventually head to FAMU. In the SWAC, Bell was a force. He excels as a run defender and has shown some skills to impact the passing game.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.