The Jacksonville Jaguars enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in the 2022 season, going from 3-14 in 2021 to a 9-8 finish while winning the AFC South. Plus, the Jags grabbed their first playoff win since 2017. After four consecutive losing seasons from 2018-21, Jacksonville has finally made significant progress in its rebuild.
Now, the Jaguars hope to become a regular in the postseason by staying atop the AFC South. Jacksonville has a little cap to work with in free agency after a busy 2022 off-season. Instead, the Jags can upgrade and continue to build around franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the 2023 NFL Draft. Take a look at several potential draft prospects for Jacksonville.
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2022 Season Record: 9-8
Status of Coach: Doug Pederson – Safe
Positions needed by the Jaguars
- Defensive tackle
- Tight end
- Offensive tackle
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 24
- Round 2, Pick 56
Potential First-Round Targets
After holding the No. 1 selection in the last two drafts, the Jaguars’ draft strategy will be vastly different. They hold the No. 24 overall pick, which is their lowest since the 2018 NFL Draft. Jacksonville’s decisions on re-signing players could determine which positions the franchise could target.
For example, tight end Evan Engram is a free agent after a career-high 766 receiving yards. The Jags could need a new starting tight end, Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer would be the perfect security blanket for Lawrence with his savvy route-running and the ability to make contested catches. Plus, Mayer’s blocking would be a big upgrade compared to Engram. Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid is a trending prospect. Kincaid features an expansive route tree with impressive hands and athleticism. Due to his limited strength, there’s some concern about Kincaid’s potential as a blocker.
The best receiving TE In the 2023 NFL Draft draft?
Look no further than#Utah TE Dalton Kincaid 6’4 240lbs
Rare for a TE to possess as good as hands and body control. 1 drop his whole career.
Caught 16 passes for 234 yards 1 TD in a win vs USC in 2022.pic.twitter.com/DHBvXmdXsi
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) January 24, 2023
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor is also a free agent. Following a mediocre season, Jacksonville could look to upgrade Lawrence’s protection with the No. 24 selection. Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison feels like the only realistic target at this point. Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State) and Broderick Jones (Georgia) will likely be off of the board, and Harrison is the only first-round tackle talent. Harrison has ideal size and length at 6-foot-5, 309 pounds, and he excels in pass protection.
Adding another perimeter cornerback opposite Tyson Campbell is a need as well. Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo and South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith are potential targets with the No. 24 selection. Ringo has all of the tools but lacks some consistency. Smith brings great physicality in man coverage paired with good ball skills.
Potential Second-Round Targets
In the second round, targeting a defensive tackle seems like the best bet. Nose tackle DaVon Hamilton comes off a good season but the Jags desperately need a pass-rush presence on the inside of their 3-4 front.
The No. 24 overall pick is a bad spot to select a defensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft. That is not the case at No. 56; Jacksonville should have plenty of options.
Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith has impressive strength and should be an immediate impact against the run. Plus, Smith has good potential as a pass rusher thanks to his quickness and overwhelming strength. Florida defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr. is a work in progress but his exceptional length and athleticism at 6-foot-6 are intriguing.
After spending plenty of money in free agency last year, the Jaguars must annually draft well to fill holes.