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Jacksonville Jaguars Draft at Pick 24: Post-Combine

A post-combine look at a re-ordered pick hierarchy and who the Jaguars will draft at pick 24 in April and why.
Jaguars Draft

Another NFL combine has come and gone. With it, have come the hopes and aspirations of 319 athletes working to show NFL teams what they can contribute on the field, while simultaneously hoping to fulfill a dream they have been preparing for their whole lives. Of those players, there is one the Jaguars should be impressed with more than any other as they look ahead to the Draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars Draft at Pick 24: Who They Take and Why

Before the NFL combine, I wrote an article on who the Jaguars would and should take and listed them in the following order based on overall need, player availability, and ignoring any other variables (free agency signings, trades, etc). The order I had is as follows:

  1. Tyree Wilson, Edge – Texas Tech
  2. Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback – Oregon
  3. Siaki Ika, Nose Tackle – Baylor
  4. J.L. Skinner, Safety – Boise State
  5. Sam LaPorta, Tight End – Iowa

Since the writing of that two-part series of articles, the Jaguars have slapped the franchise tag on Evan Engram, so he will be back next year which is great news for Jaguars fans, but bad news for Sam LaPorta (Sorry, LaPorta). Working from who the Jaguars will be least likely, to most likely, to pick with pick 24, let’s take a re-ordered look at the players above and who the Jaguars should make their priority with pick 24.

4. J.L. Skinner

With Evan Engram coming back and no longer needing Sam LaPorta, let’s start with Skinner. He is the least likely of the picks at 24 for one simple reason; he tore his pectoralis major muscle prior to the combine. Because of that reason, Skinner goes from a first-round pick to out of the first round.  Maybe the Jaguars take him in a later round with one of their eight remaining picks, but it is highly unlikely they draft him at pick 24.

3. Siaki Ika

Ika stays pat at third overall in the Jaguars pick 24 hierarchy. His numbers for the combine were as follows: 40-Yard Dash, 5.39 seconds; 10-Yard Split, 1.88 seconds; 3-Cone Drill, 7.8 seconds; and 20-Yard Shuttle, 4.99 seconds.

To put Ika’s numbers in perspective, two defensive linemen ran sub 5.00 second 40’s. Calijah Kancey ran a 4.67 40, which in all fairness, was the fastest time for an interior defensive line prospect since 1999. Not to be outdone, Bryan Bresee a 6’5, 298-pound prospect ran a 4.86 40. While one could argue both of those prospects are built differently than the 6’3, 350-pound Ika, they all play the same position, essentially. While he may not be as athletic as Kancey or Bresee, he is still a top-10 defensive line prospect. All things considered, should the Jaguars decide not to address either of their top two needs (edge and cornerback, in no particular order…yet), then the Jaguars should take Ika with pick 24.

2. Tyree Wilson

Yes, priority needs one and two flip-flopped. Why? Not a knock on Tyree Wilson at all. He is coming off a fractured foot, decided to skip the combine drills (though he did officially have a bench press repetition performance of 23 reps at the combine standard 225 pounds) and instead will perform at Texas Tech’s pro day (Jaguars fans, mark March 29th on your calendar). Depending upon what Wilson does on that day will determine whether or not the “pick 24 hierarchy” changes again. If Wilson has a great pro day, (“great” and not “excellent,” because if he has an “excellent” pro day, he likely will not be available at pick 24), he could put the Jaguars front office in too a very difficult position.

Though I think of any position that the Jaguars are most, something did change; the combine performance of Christian Gonzalez.

1. Christian Gonzalez

Going with the “you can’t teach size” principle, the 6’1, 197-pound Gonzalez may be slightly above average height for an NFL cornerback, but the number from the combine that really jumps out is his 41.5 inch vertical, not to mention his 4.38 second 40. Gonzalez has the physical ability to step in and be a starter at corner for the Jaguars this season and would be an immense help to what was a lackluster secondary last season. In addition to his vertical and 40-Yyrd Dash time, Gonzalez also ran 10-yard splits at 1.54 seconds, had a broad jump of 11’1”, and did 14 reps on the bench. The numbers do not lie. Assuming he is still available and the Jaguars decide to part ways with Shaquill Griffin (which if rumors in recent days are true is extremely likely), then look for Christian Gonzalez to be holding a Jaguars jersey on April 27th.

To Conclude, For Now

The Jaguars will likely have a very difficult decision come draft day on April 27th. Again, if the Jaguars considered my “expertise,” then they would be taking Christian Gonzalez. I think regardless of what Tyree Wilson does during Texas Tech’s pro day, Gonzalez is a generational talent at corner and should not be passed up. On the other side of the coin, there are still a lot of days (~50), until the Jaguars draft.

A lot can happen in that time, which could change the Jaguars needs and personnel, via free agency (which starts next week), releases, and potential trades. The biggest question mark that the Jaguars likely need to be resolved is what Tyree Wilson does on March 29th. If Wilson has the greatest pro day for an edge, ever, then the Jaguars could look at it one of two ways. The first is the realization that, should Wilson have an incredible pro day, he may not be available at 24. If that were the case, then Gonzalez should be their pick at 24. The second, is Wilson has an incredible pro day, the Jaguars front office rationalizes Wilson will still be available at 24, and they fill their most immediate need (their opinion, not mine) and Wilson becomes a Jaguar. For Jaguars fans, either Wilson or Gonzalez would be an incredible talent to have, both of whom would have an immediate impact. That said, my gut says Gonzalez will be in Jacksonville in 2023.


Main Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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