The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 NFL Draft grades are in
The Jacksonville Jaguars draft class continues to be a topic of conversation even a week removed from the NFL Draft. Our own Jess Overby takes a look at the class and grades the team’s choices.
The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 NFL Draft picks were both surprising and confusing. When is the Best Player Available not the Best Player Available? When the Best Available Player isn’t the Best Available Pick.
It was no surprise that the Jaguars picked Josh Allen, a defensive end out of Kentucky, with the number seven overall pick in round one of the 2019 NFL draft. Allen was considered a top-five talent, so it was a surprise to virtually everyone that he was available when it was the team’s turn to pick.
But was it the best pick? As with every team, there was much speculation about who the Jaguars would select. Most of the conversation revolved around two positions – offensive line and tight end. And most of the talk about which player would be selected revolved around two players right tackle Jawaan Taylor of Florida and tight end T.J. Hockenson of Iowa. Hockenson was selected immediately after Allen by the Detroit Lions with the eighth pick and Taylor fell into the second round, where Jacksonville traded up three spots to pick him.
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Conventional wisdom tells us that most teams with high first-round NFL draft pick expect them to start immediately. So, where is Josh Allen going to start? At right defensive end? That’s where Calais Campbell plays. At left defensive end? That’s where Yannick Ngakoue plays. Both were Pro Bowl selections in 2017 and named to the Top 100 NFL Players of 2018. Are the Jaguars going to start Allen over them?
Maybe the Jaguars start him at linebacker. If so, they’ve just spent a No. 7 pick to select one of the top pass rushers to move him off the line. Allen may be the heir apparent to Campbell, who the have Jaguars signed through the 2020 season.
The better pick was Hockenson, the highest rated tight end in the Draft and a pick where value matched the talent. Hockenson would have given the Jaguars a weapon they don’t possess in the passing game and a player to help in the run game. It would have been the dream scenario to have Hockenson alongside Taylor at right tackle.
I give the Jaguars pick of Allen an A-. The only reason the grade isn’t lower is due to Allen’s talent and ability.
The Taylor pick is a different story. This was a great get because they got a first-round talent with their second-round pick. They even traded up three spots to make sure they got him. He fills a need and is one of the top tackles in this year’s draft. I give the Jaguars pick of Taylor an A+.
With their first pick in the third round, the Jaguars picked Josh Oliver, a big tight end out of San Jose State. Oliver is more of a raw talent than some of the higher ranked tight ends, and he measured well overall in the NFL combine. However, his catchable ball percentage was just 76.4, which is second worse among this year’s tight end class.
Body position is one issue that has contributed to his low catch percentage. His height and speed will be an asset in helping to stretch the field, but he needs to develop somewhat to be an effective tight end. He has a higher ceiling than a lower floor. I give the Jaguars a grade of C+ on this pick. Oliver fills a need and has good potential but needs to grow as a player.
With their second pick in the third round at number 98 overall, the Jaguars selected Quincy Williams, the linebacker Murray State. He is the older brother of Quinnen Williams, the No. 3 overall draft pick out of Alabama. This pick shocked everyone. I have not heard one draft expert or sports analyst say they expected Williams to be drafted. He wasn’t invited to the NFL combine; he had no visits to any NFL team; he wasn’t a full-time starter at Murray State…an FCS school.
However, Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell told the media when he spoke to them following the selection, there was a concern another team would take him in the fourth round. This is curious, as Williams himself stated he expected to be undrafted in an interview Friday night after he was drafted. I give the Jaguars a grade of D- on this pick… and I think that might be generous.
With their fifth round pick, the Jaguars selected Ryquell Armstead, a running back out of Temple. This was a good pick at the right spot. Armstead ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and measured well against other backs in this draft. He’s a downhill runner with power who will fit in well in the Jaguars offense.
I give the Jaguars an A on this pick as it is a good pick for value at this spot.
With their sixth-round pick, the Jaguars selected Gardner Minshew II, a quarterback out of Washington State. This is another curious pick. He was a graduate transfer after having an unspectacular career at East Carolina, although in his one year at Washington State he had a very good year. The Jaguars signed two signal callers in free agency – Nick Foles and Alex McGough, to go along with their current quarterbacks, Cody Kessler, and Tanner Lee.
It seems as though there were many other directions the Jaguars could have gone with this pick, so I’m giving them a D grade, as they have four passers to compete for bench time behind Foles.
With their seventh-round pick, the Jaguars selected Dontavius Russell, a huge defensive tackle out of Auburn. Russell was a four-year starter at Auburn and is a space eater in the middle of the defensive line. He had a fifth-round grade, so this pick has some value.
He may have a problem playing at NFL speed. I give them a grade B for this pick. If he can become a serviceable NFL defensive tackle, this is a good value pick.
Overall, I give the team a grade of B- for the 2019 draft. They made some picks that should help the team immediately by competing for starting positions and adding needed depth. They made at least two very questionable selections that could have been used to help with positions of need.
As with every draft, we won’t know how well they did for two or more years. Here’s hoping the Jaguars hit on all their selections.