The Jacksonville Jaguars could take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and they would get a potential building block. However, they should consider trading down if they’re made a good enough offer.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently discussed the best plan for all 32 picks in the first round of the draft and whether teams should trade up, down, or stay put. Given the fact that the Jags have more than 10 selections, he believes they should stay put.
"Normally, we’d say trade down just because, even after another veteran spending spree, they could use all the picks they can get. But with 12 selections already in hand, the mission here is simple: secure the best guy. That’s likely Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson, who could pair with Josh Allen to give Jacksonville a legitimate D-line."
Even though the Jags could choose Evan Neal and have him play guard in his rookie campaign, Aidan Hutchinson seems like the most likely pick at this point of the process. Either one could contribute from Day 1. Neal would fortify the offensive line and Hutchinson would bolster the pass rush. On the other hand, Jacksonville could move down a few spots and still select a difference-maker. After all, general manager Trent Baalke told the media that the team is “always open for business“.
The Jaguars can benefit from trading down and here’s why.
Benjamin is right when he says the Jaguars currently hold 12 draft selections but he fails to mention that four of them are in the sixth round and two in the seventh. It’s unrealistic that the front office will use all their selections and there’s a good chance they will use some of them to move up. Having said that, Jacksonville could use a few extra picks in the first or second round this or next year.
Of course, the Jaguars would need to find a trade partner, one that doesn’t want to miss out on a prospect. They should reach out to New York teams, the Giants and the Jets. Another alternative is the Detroit Lions, who have set their eyes on Aidan Hutchinson. Let’s say the Jags do agree to a trade with Lions, by moving one spot, they could secure a second-round pick, which could come in handy, or maybe even a first-rounder. Jacksonville could see that extra pick on a wide receiver or an interior lineman, to positions they need to address in the draft.
Having said that, the Jaguars should only attempt to trade within the top 10, as they may not be able to land an impact player if they were to move down any further. If they’re going to move back, they’re going to do it because they can get extra assets but they shouldn’t do it if that means not being able to take one of the top prospects.
The Jaguars could easily take Aidan Hutchinson No. 1 and call it a day, but they should always welcome the possibility of taking another path.