Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Darnell Washington Gives Doug Pederson a Dangerous Tight End

After a 2022 free agency frenzy, Jacksonville is set to be draft-focused in 2023, and this Jaguars NFL Mock Draft examines how that might look.

The Jacksonville Jaguars made huge strides in 2022, going from the team with the worst record in the NFL to the NFL playoffs. Can the moves made in this Jaguars NFL Mock Draft help Trevor Lawrence and his team make the next step on the road to the Super Bowl?

In this scenario, simulated trades were active among other teams via the Mock Draft Simulator, but the Jaguars held steady and did not make any moves.

Latest Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 NFL Mock Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft class is a pivotal one for Jacksonville’s future.

After splashing out during free agency last spring, Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke recently told reporters that “as you transition into more guys that are on their second deals, it becomes more and more difficult to use free agency as a strong vehicle to improve your team, so we’ve got to look to the draft.”

What holes in the roster with the Jaguars be looking to fill in April? According to John Oehser, the senior writer for Jaguars.com, “I expect cornerback, tight end and defensive line to be areas of focus” for Jacksonville in the 2023 NFL Draft.

With that in mind, let’s delve into our latest Jaguars NFL Mock Draft to examine how Jacksonville might meet those needs.

TE Darnell Washington, Georgia | Round 1, Pick 24

If you scout solely on box scores, Darnell Washington isn’t likely to move the needle for you as a first-round selection in this Jaguars NFL Mock Draft. After all, the Georgia tight end has played second fiddle to teammate Brock Bowers in terms of headline-grabbing production over the last two seasons.

Look beyond the box score, however, and Washington is a freak athlete who should outstrip his college production at the NFL level. The 6’7″, 265-pound TE is a dangerous pass-catching option with uncommon athleticism for his size. Meanwhile, the things that he can do as a blocker in the ground game are offensive lineman-worthy at times.

OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland | Round 2, Pick 56

“It’s important to us that we make every effort to get guys back. We know JT, what he’s meant to the team and organization, and we’d love to be able to get that done, and he knows that. Sometimes, there are business decisions that are out of our control, but it’s important to know that we want them all back and try to make every effort to do that.”

MORE: Top OTs in the 2023 NFL Draft

The “JT” that Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson was referring to in his comments to the media is Jawaan Taylor, the starting right tackle in Jacksonville during the 2022 season. If Taylor can’t be retained, there’s an expectation that the Jaguars may strike for an offensive tackle in April, and Jaelyn Duncan is one of the best natural right tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

CB Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford | Round 3, Pick 88

With how the board fell in this Jaguars NFL Mock Draft, the opportunity to select a cornerback in the first two rounds didn’t present itself. Worry not, Jacksonville fans, as this 2023 NFL Draft class is heavy on talent at the position all the way through.

At 6’1″ and 188 pounds, Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly has the size to man the outside CB spot opposite Tyson Campbell. Kelly’s technically excellent with impressive football intelligence, bolstered by catch-point-disrupting length and the requisite fluidity to be a sticky coverage man at the NFL level.

DT Colby Wooden, Auburn | Round 4, Pick 121

I like the player/team fit of this fourth-round pick so much that I made it twice. Here’s my thoughts from the last time I mapped out seven rounds for Jacksonville, and they haven’t changed in the month or more since.

“Having bolstered the offensive trenches in Round 3, the next two picks focus on the defensive front. Colby Wooden gives Jacksonville a strong and athletic mismatch, who can terrorize offensive lines both from the interior and off the edge. The Auburn DT can be disruptive against the run while possessing an array of pass-rush moves.”

EDGE Mike Morris, Michigan | Round 4, Pick 127

Although the Jaguars have a good sized chunk of draft capital to play with next April, when you’ve set your sights on the long-term sustainability of your roster from this class, adding a versatile piece that can man multiple spots on the defensive front is a good way to use that capital.

MORE: Jacksonville Jaguars Offseason Preview 2023

Michigan’s Mike Morris is an unusual presence in this EDGE class, measuring in at 6’1″ and 291 pounds. A similar build to Roy Robertson-Harris, Morris puts the “big” into “big defensive end” and is capable of playing from several alignments with his combination of pocket collapsing power and ground-game prowess.

G Braeden Daniels, Utah | Round 5, Pick 161

As we get deeper into the final day of this Jaguars NFL Mock Draft, we’re looking for depth on the offensive line to help protect Lawrence moving forward. Utah’s Braeden Daniels is an experienced, versatile OL prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft who has served in multiple spots. His development as a pass protector in 2022 should prove alluring for NFL teams.

WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper, Fresno State | Round 6, Pick 179

Given Calvin Ridley’s potential return to the NFL and relative success of Christian Kirk, wide receiver might not be the priority need considered coming into the season. Still, any time you get the opportunity to add an explosive, after-the-catch threat like Fresno State’s Jalen Cropper in the sixth round, then you absolutely have to take it.

S Gervarrius Owens, Houston | Round 6, Pick 208

With Andre Cisco and Rayshawn Jenkins, safety isn’t a pressing need right now, but it will be in the future, and Gervarrius Owens is the type of impact-making player at the position that should earn attention in the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s not the biggest, but Owens’ length, speed, and physicality make him a force in coverage and in the opposition backfield.

RB Evan Hull, Northwestern | Round 7, Pick 228

There’s potential for Jacksonville to double-up on a priority need with the last pick of this Jaguars NFL Mock Draft. However, giving the offense an additional weapon like Evan Hull would be far more beneficial.

The Kansas City Chiefs have proven you can find RB gold late in the draft, and Hull’s pass-catching prowess combined with ball-carrier vision make him a dangerous back.

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