Jaguars should double dip at wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft
The 2022 season is going to be a critical year for Trevor Lawrence’s development. The Jacksonville Jaguars front office has already added a few difference-makers on the offensive side of the ball this offseason but they should continue to load up on talent in the 2022 NFL Draft. In fact, they should consider taking not one but two wide receivers.
The additions of guard Brandon Scherff, wide receiver Christian Kirk, and tight end Evan Engram should immediately improve Lawrence’s supporting cast. However, the roster has been so depleted of talent in recent years that the Jags need to keep adding skill-position players. Many people anticipate Jacksonville to spend at least their second-round pick on a wide receiver this year in hopes of finding a game-changing playmaker.
There are a lot of talented wide receivers in this year’s draft and there is no guarantee that just because you select one with the 33rd pick that they will successfully adapt to the NFL level and stay healthy enough to contribute. Lawrence’s development could greatly benefit from playing with an elite wide receiver as we have seen other young quarterbacks do in recent years.
Kyler Murray got some serious help at the wide receiver position when the Arizona Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins and the Cincinnati Bengals made a similar move for Joe Burrow when they drafted Ja’marr Chase last year. Fans saw Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills struggle in his first few years without a top receiving target. However, the arrival of Stefon Diggs in Buffalo has helped the young signal-caller make giant leaps in his progression in the last few seasons.
The Jaguars already tried this approach in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars’ front office could take an approach like the one in 2014, when general manager Dave Caldwell invested two second-round picks at the wide receiver position in Marquise Lee (39th overall) and Allen Robinson (61st overall). That strategy proved to be wise as Robinson has gone on to meet and maybe even exceed his draft expectations while Lee failed to stay healthy enough to make a major impact. The chances of hitting on that position in the second round are no sure thing, and they only get worse as the draft goes on.
The Jags find themselves in a similar position this year as they have significant draft capital at the top of the draft with a pick at the top of the second round and two in the third round (No. 65 and No. 70). The front office could package one of their third-rounders with some of their late-round picks to attempt to get back into the second round as they have four selections in the sixth round and two in the seventh.
Even with the arrival of Kirk, the team still needs to develop a legitimate number one wide receiver. After all, Kirk was paid like he’s going to be the top option in the passing game but there is no telling if he can be that guy for the Jags going forward considering he has not shown as much in his career so far. Marvin Jones Jr. made a considerable impact in the passing game last season but did not look like a number one receiver that opposing teams would have to game plan for.
Lawrence needs a reliable, game-changing target that can stretch the field and demand attention from defensive coordinators. If the Jags are serious about hitting on a big-time weapon for Lawrence in this year’s draft, then investing heavily at the wide receiver position early will increase their chances of bringing one to Duval.