Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2020 draft class didn’t get favorable review

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. #10 pulls away from Detroit Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye #24 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. #10 pulls away from Detroit Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye #24 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t very good at drafting under former general manager David Caldwell and his 2020 draft class got a bad review in a recent ranking even though it displayed flashes of talent last season.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 2020 rookie classes and the Jaguars’ were the second-least productive. The advance statistic site points out Jacksonville’s two first-round selections, cornerback C.J. Henderson and defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, failed to have an impact and ‘generated value well below expectation’.

PFF acknowledges that Henderson had a solid debut in the season opener but didn’t do much of note later in the season. They also bring up the fact Chaisson’s 49.7 grade was the sixth-worst among all edge rushers in 2020. On the other hand, wide receiver Laviska Shenault was Jacksonville’s best value pick in 2020 due to his elusiveness and his ability to break tackles after the catch.

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2020 draft class should take off this season.

It’s true the Jaguar’s rookies underperformed last season, but you could say the same about most players on their roster. Although a few individual performances stood out, the team as a whole was hindered by injuries. The new coaching staff, led by Urban Meyer, will be entrusted to get the most out of his players.

The talent is certainly there. Henderson had a rough stretch in 2020 but he stood his ground more often than not. Chaisson finished the season on a high note and Shenault’s production should increase with better quarterback play.

Moreover, PFF’s ranking didn’t take undrafted free agents into account and the Jaguars had two that had a big role in 2020, running back James Robinson and defensive tackle Doug Costin. The former will be a key cog in Jacksonville’s offense while the latter should be part of their defensive line rotation.

Keep in mind that the ‘Jags’ have other players from last year’s class that could become solid contributors down the road. Wide receiver Collin Johson had a couple of solid games last season and could see his role increase in 2021. Third-round defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton started a few games before suffering a knee injury but should have a chance to get his old job back.

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The Jaguars’ 2020 draft class didn’t live up to expectations. However, it’s too early to give up on them and the tools are there for them to take off in 2021. It will be up to the new regime to make it happen.