Breaking Down the Jaguars Draft Class
By Space Coast Daily // June 7, 2021
The 2021 NFL draft took place on April 29 through May 1, in Cleveland, Ohio, at the FirtsEnergy Stadium, and it was the 86th edition of the annual recruiting meeting. In this year’s draft, which returned to a land-based venue after last year’s virtual edition, 259 players were recruited, and for the fourth time in history, five quarterbacks were selected in the first round.
It also marked the first time in 80 years that no Michigan State players were selected.
After the worst record in franchise history last season, when they won their season opener and lost all remaining games, the Jacksonville Jaguars held the 1st and the 25th picks in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, along with other seven picks in the following rounds.
In the first draft under General Manager Trent Baalke and head coach Urban Meyer, the Jaguars were able to add a lot of speed to the squad and improve the offensive and defensive lines. With five selections in the draft’s first 65 picks, Baalke and Meyer were able to promote a full transformation in the Jaguars’ roster.
And with the selection of Trevor Lawrence, the Jags finally have a franchise quarterback, after two failed attempts in the past decade, when they drafted Blaine Gabbert at No.10 in 2011 and Blake Bortles at No.3 in 2014.
Despite drafting a generational talent and significantly improving their roster, the Jacksonville Jaguars are still somewhat of an underdog in the AFC South with sportsbooks in Florida, as the team is at +750 odds to win the division by the end of the 2021 regular season.
First round picks
With the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence, from Clemson University. Regarded as the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, Lawrence had a stellar career both at high school and college, and was always presumed to be a future first pick.
As a starter, he only lost four games in his entire career, and in three seasons with the Tigers, he threw 90 touchdowns and led the team to a national title in 2018 as a freshman. With a powerful and precise arm and the ability to read defenses, Lawrence is ready to lead the Jaguars, who were looking for a franchise quarterback since Mark Brunell took them to four consecutive playoff appearances.
Also in the first round, the Jaguars selected running back Travis Etienne, from Clemson University, as 25th pick in the draft. Etienne was Trevor Lawrence’s teammate at Clemson, and he was the most successful running back in university history. In four seasons with the Tigers, he scored 70 rushing touchdowns, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt. But he can be useful as a receiver as well, and analysts expect him to be a popular target in the passing game. Besides, Etienne can contribute a lot to Urban Meyer’s goal of having the fastest team in the league.
With the 33rd overall pick and the first in the second round, the Jaguars selected cornerback Tyson Campbell, from the University of Georgia. Combining size, speed and coverage skills, Campbell could be a quality third cornerback for the Jags, especially if CJ Henderson gets injured again. A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, he allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete only 59 percent of their passes when targeting him in coverage last season.
As their fourth selection in the 2021 draft and the 45th overall, the Jaguars selected Walker Little, from Stanford University. A 6-7ft offensive tackle, Little played 796 of his 804 snaps at Stanford at left tackle and was selected to the All-Pac-12 first team in 2018 as a sophomore. With Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor as the starters at offensive tackle, Little shouldn’t get much action in 2021.
In the third round of this year’s draft, the Jaguars selected safety Andre Cisco, from Syracuse University, as the 65th overall pick. Cisco was one of the best secondary players in the country in the 2018-19 season when he had 12 interceptions, the most in the FBS division. However, he’ll have to compete with Jarrod Wilson to be the starter at free safety.
Later, in the fourth round, Jacksonville selected Jay Tufele and Jordan Smith, as the 106th and 121st overall picks respectively. A defensive tackle out of the University of Southern California, Tufele was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2019 as a sophomore, when he recorded 41 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Smith is a defensive end, and in two seasons at UAB, he recorded 96 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, and received all-conference honors in both years.
Finally, with the 145th and 209th overall picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected Luke Farrell and Jalen Camp. A tight end out of Ohio State, Farrell is a player Urban Meyer knows well. Farrell played for him for three seasons and is regarded as a solid blocker, but lacks catching skills. Camp is a big and fast receiver, who recorded 29 catches, 439 yards and four touchdowns in 2020 with Georgia Tech. He is expected to be deployed as a special teams player.