Jaguars snubbed from PFF rookie list despite solid 2021 draft class

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Tyson Campbell (32) at TIAA Bank Field. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars CB Tyson Campbell (32) at TIAA Bank Field. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] /

The Jacksonville Jaguars should feel good about their 2021 NFL Draft class. While it took a while to get results from most of their picks, a handful of them ended up getting starting roles towards the end of the season. If you think a couple of them deserve recognition, you would be right but Pro Football Focus disagrees.

Anthony Treash recently ranked the 25 rookies from the 2021 NFL season. Not surprisingly, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons got the top spot. On the other hand, it was a bit shocking to see no Jaguars’ players make the list. Not including Trevor Lawrence isn’t an issue, as other first-year quarterbacks (Mac Jones) went on to have a productive (or in Mills’ case, serviceable) season.

While leaving Lawrence out is justifiable, Treash should have included cornerback Tyson Campell. The 33rd overall pick in the 2021 draft gave up five passes on five receptions in Week 1 and missed a couple of games with a toe injury but he became a key cog on the Jags’ secondary once he returned to the starting lineup in Week 9.

In the last ten games of the season, Campbell logged two interceptions and gave up a completion rate of 66 percent. While those numbers aren’t eye-popping, they are pretty good when you take into account that opposing offenses often tested him. Putting accolades aside, the former Georgia Bulldog should be even better in Year 2.

The Jaguars had a good 2021 draft class all things considered.

PFF wasn’t going to include offensive tackle Walker Little because he had outstanding performances in the last two weeks of the season. Simply, the sample was too small to make their rankings but he could end up becoming their long-term answer at left tackle. The same is true for Lawrence, who arguably had the best game of his rookie campaign against the Colts in Week 18, completing 71.88 percent of his pass attempts with two touchdowns and no turnovers.

Safety Andre Cisco was also late to the party but ended up flashing his playmaking skills at the end of the 2021 season. He showed enough to have a shot at replacing Andrew Wingard in the starting lineup in 2022. That makes it five rookies who could end up having a meaningful role next year and when you take into account that the Jaguars had nine draft selections, that’s a good success rate. Say what you want about general manager Trent Baalke but this one time, he got it right.

The Jaguars found a few building blocks in the 2021 draft and if they end up turning the corner, last year’s rookie class will be a big reason why.

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