Jaguars once again get positive grades for 2020 draft haul
The Jacksonville Jaguars barely made any free-agent additions last year. Other than linebacker Joe Schobert and tight end Tyler Eifert, the team opted not to make many splash signings. Instead, they relied on the draft to acquire difference-makers. At the time, they got a very good grade from Pro Football Focus and they once again have earned a positive mark for their 2020 draft haul.
Michael Renner of PFF recently regraded last year’s draft and gave the Jaguars an ‘A-‘ after assigning them an ‘A’ last year. He says that their 2020 class showed enough to validate their original grade but adds that none of their first three selections — cornerback C.J. Henderson, defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, and wide receiver Laviska Shenault — have been consistent enough.
"The Jaguars took a lot of swings for the fences in last year’s draft, so it’s not unsurprising to see up-and-down returns from their first three selections. All showed enough promise to warrant our pre-draft opinions of them, but none can necessarily be considered a solid hit just yet."
Renner isn’t wrong. Henderson and Shenault had good stretches last year. However, injuries slowed both of them down. Meanwhile, Chaisson hardly had an impact early in the season but finished his rookie campaign on a strong note. The three of them need to step up in 2021 but they all have the talent to become key contributors.
The Jacksonville Jaguars got contributions from most of their 2020 class.
Henderson, Shenault, and Chaisson aren’t the only members of the Jaguars’ 2020 draft class that played a key role in 2020. Defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton made his way to the starting lineup but had his season cut short. Safety Daniel Thomas had a similar situation last year. He appeared in ten games and started two games before an arm injury sidelined him. Both Hamilton and Thomas will compete for playing time in training camp and it wouldn’t be surprising to see either move up the depth chart.
This Jacksonville team even got three starts from sixth-round pick Jake Luton. Even though he showed he wasn’t ready, the team saw enough of him in practice to give him a shot. Although he’s the number-three quarterback heading into training camp, he could become an adequate backup quarterback.
Then, there’s wide receiver Collin Johnson. In limited action, he caught 18 receptions for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Jaguars legend Jimmy Smith believes the Texas product has the potential to break out. Smith thinks that Johnson is so good that Jacksonville should wait before giving 2019 Pro Bowl nod D.J. Chark Jr. a contract extension. If somebody knows a thing or two about playing wide receiver, it is Smith, so we should pay close attention to this one.
All the Jaguars’ offseason additions will be essential in the team’s long-term success. Nevertheless, if they want to win a few games this upcoming season, they will need their 2020 draft class to play up to its potential. The fact they have gotten good grades in back-to-back years is a positive sign. They already displayed flashes. Now, it’s time for the sophomores to execute.