Another NFL Draft is in the books, and the Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft board made out like bandits. Here are the fresh faces heading for Duval.
To recap the Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft Picks:
- First Round, Pick 27th overall: Anton Harrison, OT
- Second Round, Pick 61th overall: Brenton Strange, TE
- Third Round, Pick 88th overall: Tank Bigsby, RB
- Fourth Round, Pick 121th overall: Ventrell Miller, LB
- Fourth Round, Pick 130th overall: Tyler Lacy, EDGE
- Fifth Round, Pick 136th overall: Yasir Abdullah, EDGE
- Fifth Round, Pick 160th overall: Antonio Johnson, CB
- Sixth Round, Pick 185th overall: Parker Washington, WR
- Sixth Round, Pick 202nd overall: Christian Braswell, CB
- Sixth Round, Pick 208th overall: Erick Hallett II, S
- Seventh Round, Pick 226th overall: Cooper Hodges, OT
- Seventh Round, Pick 227th overall: Raymond Vohasek, DT
- Seventh Round, Pick 240th overall: Derek Parish, EDGE
Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft Review Grade: 10/10
Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft Review: Checked Off All of Their Needs
The Best Player: Brenton Strange
Penn State does one thing ver well: produce great tight ends. Brenton Strange is no different. He is likely to bring comparisons of former Miami Dolphins, and current New England Patriots tight end, and fellow Penn State alum, Mike Gesicki. Strange has the potential to be as good, if not better than Gesicki. What Gesicki and Strange do have in common is difficulty in the blocking game. Strange has the ability to improve upon his blocking game as he possesses a higher level of athleticism than Gesicki. He, therefore, has the potential to become a more dynamic and explosive player. It is the potential to be a complete NFL tight end who can make clutch catches that likely drew the Jaguars to Strange. He becomes even more important if the Dolphins cannot re-sign Evan Engram to a long-term contract next off-season.
The Head-Scratcher: Parker Washington
With the top three receiver spots occupied by Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, and Zay Jones, the pick of Washington is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Jaguars could have used the pick to select a safety or interior defensive lineman (which they did with later picks). The Jaguars might have been wiser to select a wide receiver with one of their last picks and use this selection on a safety or defensive tackle. However, Washington will likely serve as the team’s punt returner. He should compete for the fourth receiver spot with Jamal Agnew and Tim Jones.
The Surprise: Ventrell Miller
Reports documented that before the draft, the Jaguars needed to upgrade their defense. The Jaguars, however, did not need to upgrade the linebacker corp; it was the defensive line (especially the edge rushers), as well as cornerbacks, and safeties. Hence, the selection of a linebacker came as surprise. However, looking at Miller’s build (6′-0″, 220 pounds), he makes an ideal linebacker/safety hybrid. That hybrid ability might be the rationale as to why he was drafted to begin with.
The Steal: Tyler Lacy
A power-five prospect who helped make his Oklahoma State squad a top-ten program (seventh), in 2021, Tyler Lacy is a slam dunk and steal for the Jaguars. The squad desperately needed an upgrade at edge coming into the draft. With three picks used to draft edge rushers, they may have found a gem in Lacy. He will play a signficant role in aiding a position that needed upgrading.
Most Likely to Turn Heads in Training Camp: Yasir Abdullah
Not to be outdone by Lacy, Yasir Abdullah, is a prospect that comes from a very talented, yet underrated Louisville football program. The Jaguars knew how dire the situation at edge was, selecting Abdullah just six picks after Lacy. In total, the Jaguars drafted edge rushers Lacy, Abdullah, and Derek Parish. It will be interesting to see if any of the three will move right into the starting role or if the Jaguars will use an edge ‘by committee’ approach. Either way, Abdullah is sure to be an important piece to resolving the issues at edge for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars first-round choice of offensive tackle Anton Harrison was surprising until the NFL announced a suspension of starting tackle Cam Robinson for using performance-enhancing drugs. Tank Bigsby should take some of the load off and complement Travis Etienne. Jacksonville did need an upgrade at cornerback, although the Jaguars should have made selecting a cornerback their priority. That is, until the Cam Robinson suspension news came. Whether fifth-round pick Antonio Johnson is part of the solution to rectify the Jaguars issues at cornerback or not, remains to be seen. Adding him does not hurt the situation.
The same can be said for sixth-round pick Christian Braswell. The Jaguars also selected a safety which was a top-four need for them, with sixth-round pick Erick Hallett II. With the Cam Robinson situation, the team needed depth at the position. Hence, the Jaguars took Cooper Hodges with one of their seventh-round picks. Hodges should see some playing time until Robinson’s suspension is over.
The Jaguars also addressed another top-four need by drafting defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek with their second pick in round seven. With their final pick the Jaguars took advantage of an extremely deep class of edge rushers. With pick 240, the front office selected their third edge prospect in Derek Parish.
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