After finishing last season with a dismal 1-15 record, the Jacksonville Jaguars hold the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. However, that pick alone won’t bring success to Jacksonville. New head coach Urban Meyer called this a “historic opportunity” for the franchise, further emphasizing the need for the Jaguars to hit on all their early-round picks in the NFL Draft. What grades did the Jaguars 2021 NFL Draft selections earn?
Jaguars draft picks in 2021
- 1st Overall Selection (R1-P1): Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- 25th Overall Selection (R1-P25, from Los Angeles Rams): Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
- 33rd Overall Selection (R2-P1): Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
- 45th Overall Selection (R2-P13, from Minnesota): Walker Little, OT, Stanford
- 65th Overall Selection (R3-P1): Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
- 106th Overall Selection (R4-R1): Jay Tufele, DT, USC
- 121st Overall Selection (R4-P16): Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
- 145th Overall Selection (R5-P1): Luke Farrell, TE, Ohio State
- 209th Overall Selection (R6-P25, from Los Angeles Rams): Jalen Camp, WR, Georgia Tech
- 249th Overall Selection (R7-P22, from Tennessee):
Who did the Jaguars draft on Day 1?
With the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Jacksonville Jaguars grades for 2021 NFL Draft
The Jaguars kick off the draft with the pick we all knew would happen.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Ever since he led Clemson to a national championship as a true freshman, Lawrence has been the QB1 in waiting for the 2021 NFL Draft. Standing at 6-foot-5, Lawrence comes blessed with the requisite size for success that the NFL craves. He combines size with deceptive athleticism to provide a unique dual threat. With arm strength, accuracy, and football intelligence, Lawrence really does have it all.
The word “generational” gets bandied around far too often. However, quarterback prospects like him really don’t come around every year. There really wasn’t any other discussion as to who the Jaguars could — and would — select with the No. 1 overall selection. The pick is genuinely the epitome of “can’t miss.” The harder part for the Jaguars will be ensuring they get the rest of the picks in the 2021 NFL Draft
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
After securing Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, the Jaguars pair him up with his former Clemson teammate. Travis Etienne was the most successful running back in Clemson history, and his ability as both a pass catcher and explosive rusher should be exciting for Jaguars fans.
That being said, James Robinson was the ultimate example of being able to find a running back without using early-round capital. Running back wasn’t considered a priority need before the 2021 NFL Draft, and they could possibly have selected Etienne with the first pick of the second round.
Going through two first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft without addressing one of the worst defenses in the 2021 NFL Draft seems ill-advised.
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
With their first defensive pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars address an atrocious secondary with Georgia’s Tyson Campbell. The long, athletic, and speedy cornerback has the potential to line up across from 2020 first-round pick C.J. Henderson on Sundays.
The pick makes a ton of sense for Meyer’s Jaguars. However, with safety the second biggest need and TCU’s Trevon Moehrig on the board, is it the best option in terms of leadership in the secondary?
Walker Little, OT, Stanford
With the face of the franchise secured, protecting Lawrence figured to be a priority with one of the early picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Walker Little was outstanding when he was on the field at Stanford. Still, he hasn’t been on the field for two years. He has enticing size, mobility, and strength, but there are concerns due to his period of inactivity. His selection with the 45th overall pick feels like a reach.
Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
Having eschewed the obvious need at the safety position through their first four picks, the Jaguars strike for Andre Cisco at the top of the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He is an explosive and physical safety who displays good awareness in coverage. Cisco lost part of his final season at Syracuse with a knee injury. Still, his versatility in the secondary and obvious talent should make him an early contributor at the heart of the defense.
Jay Tufele, DT, USC
Defensive tackle was a huge need for the Jaguars and they fill it with one of the best in the class in Jay Tufele. An explosive interior defensive lineman with excellent agility for his size, Tufele was impressive in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season.
Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
Long, athletic, edge rusher who displayed some impressive bend off the edge in Senior Bowl practices and during his time at UAB. Jordan Smith offers some much-needed pass-rush ability to the Jaguars defense.
Luke Farrell, TE, Ohio State
New head coach Urban Meyer turns to his former college program to select Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Luke Farrell. This pick ticks a need at the position and Farrell is an intelligent and tough all-rounder. However, this is quite the reach with a number of other tight ends available.
Jalen Camp, WR, Georgia Tech
The Jaguars add an athletic stud of a wide receiver for Lawrence in Georgia Tech’s Jalen Camp. Strong, explosive, and fast for his size, Camp is an intriguing investment late in the 2021 NFL Draft as a depth piece initially.
Jacksonville Jaguars Overall Grade: B+
Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, Urban Meyer called this a “historic opportunity” for the franchise. Any selection is going to pale into insignificance compared to the first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. Although they hit on some major needs — defensive tackle and safety — some others weren’t quite so impressive.
I’m still not sold on the Travis Etienne selection at pick 25. Overall, however, it was a solid haul for the Jaguars which should help begin to turn the franchise around.
Team needs for Jacksonville coming into the NFL Draft
After the obvious need for a QB, what else do the Jaguars require to return to contention?
This one doesn’t require much explanation. The Jaguars had the third least passing yardage in the NFL in 2020 as well as the fifth least passing yardage. Since the formation of the franchise in 1995, they’ve taken three first-round quarterbacks and none of them worked out.
The Jaguars added Rayshawn Jenkins and Rudy Ford at the position in free agency. However, the team that allowed the second-most points and yards — plus the most yards per play — last season need to secure a leader at the heart of the secondary.
Despite adding Malcolm Brown and Roy Robertson-Harris in free agency, the Jaguars need to upgrade the middle of the defensive line. They allowed the third-most rushing yards and fourth-most rushing touchdowns in 2020.
The Jaguars drafted Tyler Davis late in the 2020 NFL Draft and added Chris Manhertz in free agency, but they can be expected to add a pass-catching threat at the tight end position in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Although the Jaguars franchise-tagged left tackle Greg Robinson, the jury is still out on both tackles while there is a lack of interior offensive line depth. It would make sense for Jacksonville to upgrade a line that allowed the eighth-most sacks in 2020 to ensure that they adequately protect their new quarterback.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.