Still building: Jaguars take center, linebacker in third round

Offensive tackle Luke Fortner #79 of the Kentucky Wildcats, right, and Montana's Chad Muma were the Jaguars' third-round draft picks on Friday night. (Frederick Breedon, 2019 Frederick Breedon)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars opened the second night of the NFL draft with a focus on offense, drafting Kentucky offensive lineman Luke Fortner with their first pick of the third round on Friday night.

Five picks later, Jacksonville went back to defense, drafting Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma.

Barring a trade, those two selections will take the Jaguars into the weekend, with six picks slated for Saturday.

Fortner returned to the Wildcats in 2021 with a fifth year of eligibility after COVID-plagued 2020 season. He made the move from guard to center with the Wildcats and bolstered his draft credentials.

Fortner (6-foot-4, 307 pounds) should compete for a starting spot immediately. Jaguars center Brandon Linder retired during the offseason so finding a replacement in free agency or the draft was a must. Fortner will push for the job against Tyler Shatley, but also has potential to flip to guard.

Muma (6-3, 242) had 142 tackles during his junior season and had three interceptions and a pair of defensive touchdowns. He’ll likely compete for a backup role on the team as a rookie.

Jacksonville went heavy on defensive playmakers on Thursday night, drafting Georgia’s Travon Walker with the No. 1 pick and trading up to take Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd with the 27th selection.

The Jaguars didn’t make a pick in the second round, with their initial choice traded to the Buccaneers on Thursday night to move back up in the first round and take Lloyd.

Jacksonville’s best shot at landing one of the top remaining receivers dissipated in the latter half of the second round.

Four of them, Tyquan Taylor, George Pickens, Alec Pierce and Skyy Moore, went over a five-pick span between Nos. 50 and 54.

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.