Introduction to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Doug Pederson became the latest in an ever-growing line of Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coaches when he signed to coach the team for 2022. Since Jack Del Rio was fired in 2011, the Jaguars have now had seven coaches, interims not included. Pederson will have the task of trying to rebuild a culture following a tumultuous 3-14 season that saw coach Urban Meyer fired late in the season.
There is some reason for optimism. Jacksonville has the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft for the second straight year after taking their potential franchise quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, last time around. Jacksonville will try to make life easier on Lawrence, who was sacked 32 times and threw 17 interceptions. Jacksonville was last in the league in scoring, averaging 14.9 points per game.
Jacksonville will also need to find a way to restructure its defense as well. The Jaguars only forced nine takeaways last season, ranking last in the league. Jacksonville’s opponents scored 26.9 points per game, which ranked 28th in the league.
While things look bleak for the Jaguars, they will have the resources this offseason to add depth and experience. Jacksonville has between $58-$59 million in cap space available, providing Pederson the flexibility to shape the team in his image.
Players Leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville has a large number of free agents on whom to make decisions. Many will come in the trenches. Left guard Andrew Norwell, 30, and Cam Robinson, a 26-year-old left tackle (ages as of this writing), are unrestricted free agents. Robinson, who started 64 games over the past five seasons, was franchise tagged last year.
Robinson only allowed one sack last year, and is a player the Jaguars may want to retain, though he could opt to test the market.
Norwell, meanwhile, struggled with inconsistency last season. Since coming to Jacksonville in 2018, he’s started 57 games. Jacksonville could also see right guard A.J. Cann depart, too. He has started 94 games for the Jaguars since 2015, but saw his season end last year due to a Week 4 MCL injury.
The Jaguars also will need to look at what to do with wide receiver D.J. Chark, who missed most of last season due to injury. During the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Chark hauled in 1,714 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.
On defense, Jacksonville may find it difficult to hang onto edge player Jihad Ward. Ward wasn’t spectacular, but did show flashes, recording seven quarterback hits and two sacks. Ward was close with defensive coordinator Joe Cullen, who moved to Kansas City to coach its defensive line.
Positions Needed by the Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville will likely be seeking a total reset for the 2022 season, with the biggest needs at offensive line, wide receiver and pass rusher. Reinvigorating how the Jaguars get after opposing quarterbacks is vital. Jacksonville only recorded 32 sacks last season, tied for the fifth-worst mark in the league.
Edge rusher Josh Allen led the team with 7½ sacks last season. Dawuane Smoot (six) was the Jaguars’ only other defensive player with more than five sacks. Jacksonville was welcoming to opposing signal-callers, with only Allen and Smoot recording 10 or more quarterback hits.
The Jaguars’ receiving group from last season was tough to gauge, due to Lawrence constantly getting hounded. However, Jacksonville knows it will need more to compliment Marvin Jones, who led the team with 832 yards on 73 catches, but turns 32 in mid-March. Laviska Shenault Jr. was the only other Jags’ wide receiver to have more than 500 yards receiving, finishing with 619.
Jacksonville has four offensive linemen who could potentially leave in free agency. Even if the Jaguars resign a few of them, they will likely need to bring in a fair amount of replacements.
Jacksonville Jaguars Mock Draft
“Fortunately,” struggles by the Jags have provided them with opportunities to rebuild their roster. Jacksonville has 12 draft picks this season, including four inside the top 70. Four of those choices were acquired via trades.
At the top, Jacksonville could look at 6-foot-5 edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon. Thibodeaux helped the Ducks reach the Pac-12 title game as a senior, recording seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defended. Thibodeaux would instantly inject life into a poor pass rush.
In the second round, Jacksonville might have a chance at Darian Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 345-pound tackle from Kentucky. Kinnard made 39 starts for the Wildcats. He was a first-team All-American as a senior, the first UK offensive to be selected for such an honor since 1965.
With two selections in the third round, perhaps a wide receiver or tight end to help Lawrence. Purdue wideout David Bell would be a good target for Lawrence, while Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer may provide a tempting target as well.
Jacksonville also has the room to maneuver. The Jaguars have six sixth-round selections and two choices in the seventh round. So, don’t be surprised if the Jags attempt to move up from Nlo. 33, perhaps to secure another choice in the first round. Check Jaguars’ NFL Draft odds and NFL Odds.
2022 NFL Draft Event Information
- Date: Thursday, Apr. 28th (Round 1) | Friday, Apr. 29th (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, Apr. 30th (Rounds 4-7)
- Time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)
- Location: Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, NV
- TV Channel: ABC | ESPN | NFL Network
- NFL Draft Live Streaming: NFL Game Pass
2022 NFL First-Round Draft Order (with 2021 records)
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- NY Jets
- NY Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- NY Giants (via Bears)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
- NY Jets (via Seahawks)
- Washington Commanders
- Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans (via Browns)
- Baltimore Ravens
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
- LA Chargers
- New Orleans Saints
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New England Patriots
- Green Bay Packers (via Raiders)
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- Buffalo Bills
- Tennessee Titans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Green Bay Packers
- Kansas City Chiefs (via 49ers)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Detroit Lions (via Rams)
Teams with no First Round Pick
- San Francisco 49ers
- Chicago Bears
- Denver Broncos
- Cleveland Browns
- Indianapolis Colts
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Los Angeles Rams