The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to have another season of impact rookies in 2018.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have done well in the NFL draft over the last few years. The majority of the team’s success in selections has been visible immediately in recent seasons, as the Jaguars have had multiple rookies splash on to the scene.
So while Jacksonville has an established roster and chose to draft in 2018 more for the future of the team rather than instant fill-ins, the team still has two new draft picks who are expected to shine in their debut season. NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread projected the top 100 rookies for 2018, and two Jaguars ranked in the top 25, and perhaps not who you think.
The first appearance on the list for the Jaguars is the second round wide receiver D.J. Chark, who checks in at number 21:
"D.J. Chark, WR, JaguarsFollowing the offseason losses of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, the Jaguars needed a draft jolt at receiver, and Chark gives them a big-play threat."
Chark will have to earn a starting gig, given that the likes of Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook also flashed potential as rookies last season, but it’s easy to see why Chark is high on the list. The wideout is an explosive player, who could easily end up being the reliable deep threat Jacksonville needs with his impressive combination of both size and speed.
The other early entry on Goodbread’s rankings comes as a bit of a surprise, third round safety Ronnie Harrison at number 25:
"Ronnie Harrison, S, JaguarsA perfect addition to one of the NFL’s best defenses, Harrison will bring an enforcer mentality in the mold of former Jaguar Donovin Darius."
It’s not that Harrison won’t turn out to be a valuable addition to the defense, because his worth should be proven twice over in the coming seasons. Harrison has the tools to play both safety roles, and flies around the field. It’s just that with both Barry Church and Tashaun Gibson holding up relatively well in the back end of the defense last season, and slated to do it again in 2018, Harrison may not get an abundance of chances to break out just yet.
Goodbread compares Harrison to Jaguar great Donovin Darius, which is high praise. But if the rookie reaches the level of play that his talent exudes, the slide into a starting role could end up coming sooner than expected.
The Jaguars had four total draftees on the list, with first round defensive tackle Taven Bryan listed at 59, and fourth round offensive tackle Will Richardson just two spots lower at 61.