The Jacksonville Jaguars had a lot of holes on their roster coming into the 2022 NFL Draft. This isn’t surprising, as they held the number one draft pick for two consecutive years and have won four of their last 33 games. With Doug Pederson now head coach, the team hopes this is their last time picking first in the draft. In all, the Jaguars added seven draft picks, and now it’s time to review those selections.
The major focus of this draft for Jacksonville was defense. The team selected five of their seven prospects on the defensive side of the ball. It was a bold strategy, that should pay quick dividends for the defense. This strategy also shows General Manager Trent Baalke was content with the offensive weapons he added in free agency. Let’s take a look at the kind of impact the new Jaguars might make going forward.
The Jaguars obtained the following players:
- First round, First overall: Travon Walker, OLB, Georgia
- First round, 27th overall: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
- Third round, 65th overall: Luke Fortner, OL, Kentucky
- Third round, 70th overall: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
- Fifth round, 154th overall: Snoop Conner, RB, Ole Miss
- Sixth round, 197th overall: Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita Baptist
- Seventh round, 222nd overall: Montaric Brown, CB, Arkansas
Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 NFL Draft Grade: 7.5/10
Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Travon Walker
In the first round, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Travon Walker. Walker was the first overall selection in the draft, which was a bold move. This pick was one of the riskiest Baalke could have made. With players like Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux available, the Jags preferred projection over production with this pick. To be sure, Walker is a freak of an athlete. Walker ran a 4.51 second 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, as a 6’5” 272-pound man.
Walker finished his collegiate career with 61 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and one interception. He did play multiple positions across the defensive line throughout college. What Walker has to offer likely didn’t fully show up on the stat sheet. The Jaguars will use a 3-4 base defense this season and Walker is expected to be an outside linebacker.
The Surprise: No Pass Catchers Selected
This is perhaps no surprise to anyone in the Jaguars organization, but analysts and fans expected the team to add a receiver or tight end (or both). Admittedly, Pederson and Baalke alluded to the receiver class being thin in this draft. However, it is concerning that the team only used free agency to get pass catchers for Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars signed Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram in free agency. While the addition of these players should improve the offense, the team still doesn’t have a true X receiver. Kirk has played in the slot for most of his career and Jones has never had more than 652 yards in one season. Engram is a definite upgrade at tight end. He was a 2017 first-round pick, who hasn’t quite lived up to his draft stock, but he’s better than what the Jags have had recently.
The Jaguars are obviously confident in the pass catchers they have now but in an offseason that saw many top-tier receivers switch teams, their lack of aggression at this position is concerning. Yes, they spent a lot of money, but are lacking in star power.
The Steal: Chad Muma
Chad Muma is the Jaguars steal of the draft. He was selected 70th overall, but he could just as easily have been a second-round pick. He’s a 6’3” 242 lb. thumper who finished His collegiate career with 266 total tackles, 145 solo tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.
Muma is a two-time First Team All-Mountain West and one-time Third Team AP All-American. Muma is the third linebacker the Jaguars selected in this draft when you consider the fact that Walker will be used as an OLB. Muma will also be able to contribute to special teams, so he should provide an immediate impact. He has the opportunity to be a part of a defense that looks to make a leap in 2022.
Most Likely to Turn Heads at Training Camp: Devin Lloyd
The Jaguars selected Lloyd with the 27th overall pick in the draft. They moved up from 33 in order to make this selection, and Lloy could just as easily count as the steal of this draft for the Jaguars. Lloyd may even become the best player the Jaguars selected in this draft. He had 111 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and four interceptions in 2021 alone. He should quickly make an impact as a starter for this team and should easily turn heads at training camp.
More than just the stats, Lloyd is a leader. He played at Utah in college. While at Utah, two of Lloyd’s teammates tragically passed away. Lloyd was one of the leaders on the team who helped keep it together. That kind of leadership will do so much for the Jags. There hasn’t been a true leader on defense since Calais Campbell left the team. Perhaps Lloyd will become the leader this defense desperately needs.
The Jaguars selected Luke Fortner at 65th overall in the third round. Fortner has versatility in that he can play anywhere along the interior of the offensive line. However, he’s likely to fill the hole left by Brandon Linder at center. Fortner is the lone offensive selection in the first three rounds for the Jaguars. Though he’s not a skill player, Fortner has the opportunity to protect Lawrence for perhaps years to come.
Snoop Conner was the Jaguars selection at 154th overall in the fifth round. This pick makes sense, as both James Robinson and Travis Etienne are coming off of major injuries. Conner stands at 5’10” and 222 pounds, which is similar in size to Robinson. He could be a short yardage back for the Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made two late-round selections on the defensive side of the ball. These selections were both cornerbacks.
The Jags picked Gregory Junior in the sixth round at 197th overall. Junior played at Ouachita Baptist and stood out against the competition at a smaller school. Though he has one career interception, Junior had seven pass breakups in 2021. The Jags also picked Montaric Brown in the seventh round at 222nd overall. Brown had five interceptions in 2021 for Arkansas and earned All-Sec First Team Honors that year.
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