Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone are on the hot seat entering 2020 and they drafted like it. They stuck to their plan with high character players and filled holes throughout the roster.
But are any of the Jaguars draft picks worthy of the hype?
First round 9th pick CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
While this may not have been the first choice for this pick, Henderson is viewed as a potential shutdown corner who fills the void left by former All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. Starting with 4.3 speed, he has the size and athletic ability to keep up with the league’s elite receivers. He may start a little slow out of the gates, but has all the tools to be an elite corner in this league.
Check out our full breakdown on Henderson here.
First round 20th pick DE K’lavon Chaisson, LSU
The second of the Jaguars first round draft picks was used on LSU EDGE defender K’Lavon Chaisson. Chaisson is not as polished a product as Henderson, but may have a higher ceiling. With 2019 1st round pick Josh Allen as the primary pass rushing threat, Chaisson should avoid double teams and have room to get after the QB.
He dealt with injuries throughout his LSU career, but when healthy, he showed his game breaking pass rush potential. This, coupled with the ability and willingness to play the run and drop back in coverage makes him a promising prospect. The Jaguars have a history of developing defensive lineman, so if he can build on the potential he showed at LSU we may see the rebirth of Sacksonville.
Second round 42nd pick WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
The Jaguars lacked offensive weapons around Gardner Minshew, and Shenault gives them a bit of everything. He excelled at receiver in college, but also flashed ability as a ball carrier and do it all player. He lined up at every offensive position at Colorado save tight end and offensive line. Marrone loves the versatility he can bring to the offense:
“You can put him in the backfield. He can play Wildcat…put him as the F tight end. You can do a lot of things with him. You see it on his tape in 2018 and 2019. That’s one of the things we looked at.”Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone
Expect him to be heavily involved in the offense as Gruden will find ways to get him the ball and put him in space.
Third round 73 pick DT DaVon Hamilton, Ohio State
With holes filled at corner and EDGE, the Jags used their third round draft pick to bring in NT DaVon Hamilton. He was a three year reserve before becoming a starter and blossoming his senior year. In addition to his run stuffing ability, he flashed serious pass rush potential; generating a higher pressure rate than top rated DT Derrick Brown. He’s not the sexiest of the Jaguars draft picks but helps shore up a poor 2019 rush defense.
Check out the Jaguars day 3 draft recap here!
Fourth round 116th pick OT Ben Bartch, St. John’s (MN)
Caldwell & Co. waited until the fourth round to get offensive line help, and got a steal in Bartch. While raw as a converted tight end out of D-III St. Johns, he showed immense potential. He put on a show at the Senior Bowl, holding his own against the likes of Javon Kinlaw, Marlon Davidson, Josh Uche, Jabari Zuniga, and Jason Stowbridge. Bartch also allowed 0 sacks and 4 pressures in 541 pass blocks in 2019. He projects as a guard in the NFL, and has the potential to be a mainstay on this team for years to come.
Fourth round 137th pick CB Josiah Scott, Michigan State
Josiah Scott may be the Jaguars best draft pick from a value standpoint. Physically, he’s on the small side at 5’9″ and 185lbs but makes up for it everywhere else. He has the athletic ability, tape, and personal makeup scouts crave. Michigan state coaches lauded his work ethic and character. Scott earned the starting job as a freshman and never looked back. The Jaguars hope he can become a key piece of their defense.
Fourth round 140th pick LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami
Like Scott, Quarterman earned the starting job his freshman year and never missed a game. The 1st Team All-ACC linebacker eneded 2019 with 107 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, seven quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. His 356 career tackles are good for ninth place in Miami history.
A Jacksonville area native and Oakleaf H.S. product, Quarterman is ecstatic to play in his hometown. He is stout against the run and should contribute on early downs, spelling Joe Schobert and Myles Jack.
Shaq has the ability to step in as a leader for this young Jaguar team. If he can develop his coverage ability this may be a home-run pick for the Jags.
Fifth round 157th pick S Daniel Thomas, Auburn
Thomas is an electric safety out of Auburn. He can play both free and box safety and has shown decent run support skills. Coming into Auburn he was the lowest rated signee of his class, but wound up being named team captain his senior year. He may develop into a starter down the road, but special teams play is his best route to contributing early in his career.
Fifth round 165th pick WR Collin Johnson, Texas
I was unsure of this pick at first, but the report of Shenault being used across the formation gives me hope for Texas standout Collin Johnson. He has a massive frame at 6’6″ 220 lbs and should compete for red zone looks right away. While he is incredibly tall, he is a smooth route runner who can gain yards after the catch. He has all the tools to help Minshew reach the next level.
Sixth round 189th pick QB Jake Luton, Oregon State
Luton is the least interesting of the Jaguars draft picks. He is a pro style QB out of Oregon State who finished his senior year with 28 touchdowns and three interceptions. He does a good job limiting turnovers but is not known for his ability to work through his progressions or make off-script plays. Luton seems destined for the practice squad.
Sixth round 206th pick TE Tyler Davis, Georgia Tech
Tyler Davis is a converted QB out of Georgia Tech. He came in as a graduate transfer and was an all around tight end. The Jaguars have Tyler Eifert and Josh Oliver atop the depth chart, but a strong blocking performance may earn him meaningful snaps right away. Gruden has been known to rotate 3-4 tight ends during his time in Washington, so he will need to be ready to compete.
Seventh round 223rd pick CB Chris Claybrooks, Memphis
The Jaguars used their last draft pick on Chris Claybrooks out of Memphis. He is extremely raw as a corner only having played there for two seasons, but is explosive in the return game. The Jaguars handled kick/punt returns by committee last year, and Claybrooks will be given the opportunity to win the job outright.
A draft is considered a success if you can get three-four contributors out of a class. The 2020 Jaguars draft picks all come with a lot of upside and we can realistically see four or five making an impact this year.
The main position they will probably regret not investing in is running back. Leonard Fournette had his fifth-year option declined and may be on the way out before the season starts. That said, they filled a plethora of holes on this roster while sticking to their plan of drafting high character players. It may be premature, but this draft class looks solid top to bottom, and they should easily play themselves out of the number 1 pick in 2021.
Draft Grade: B