Have you ever opened a refrigerator full of food and claimed there’s nothing to eat? Or have you ever switched channels and found nothing to watch? That’s called the burden of choice, you have so many options that you don’t know which one to pick, and that’s the situation the Jacksonville Jaguars may currently find themselves in. But instead of not knowing if they want to watch reruns of their favorite show, the Jags may not know yet who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is the favorite to go first overall but Jacksonville doesn’t seem totally sold on him. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be talks about Georgia’s Travon Walker being a realistic option. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated recently weighed in on the Jaguars’ conundrum, noting they haven’t reached a decision yet and are concerned about the perception problem surrounding them.
"This take from an AFC college scouting director sums up where Jags GM Trent Baalke is right now: “Everyone knows he wants to trade it, and that tells me he’s not in love with any of them.” Multiple rival executives raised to me that Baalke is also sensitive to a perception problem he and his team have right now, and that he, and the team, will get roasted if they do anything other than take Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or get a king’s ransom for the pick."
Breer also points out that teams have noticed the amount of research the Jags have put on the top offensive linemen in the draft, meaning they may not be “as set as some think they are up front”. In the end, Breer believes Jacksonville will choose the safest route and select Hutchinson.
The Jaguars are at fault for not zeroing on someone ahead of the draft.
Preparing for the draft is a year-long process. It will often take a while for a scouting department to reach a consensus and in a year where there’s no surefire prospect things get a bit tougher. Having said that, it’s inexcusable that the Jaguars are still undecided on who they want to take with the top selection. The draft is less than two weeks away and the organization should have a clear idea of who will be the pick but it doesn’t look like that’s the case.
By now, teams should be making slight adjustments to their big boards and it would be a cause of concern if the Jaguars haven’t finalized theirs. Maybe they already have and they’re simply not pleased with the end result and if that’s the case, that’s on them. Let’s say this draft class lacks star power, they still need to find the best non-quarterback prospect of the bunch.
If Hutchinson is really the safest pick, they shouldn’t get cute and just turn in the card with his name when they’re on the clock. Sometimes, the best decisions are devoid of luster and while Walker’s upside might be too tempting to pass up, the team’s brass could be better off taking the less possible risk. After all, they don’t currently have a solid foundation and need to acquire as many building blocks as possible. If their roster was full of talent, they could afford to select a high-risk, high-reward prospect.
It’s possible that the No. 1 will turn out to be just fine for the Jaguars but there’s also a chance they could blow it. They need to stick to their big board and select who they think will help them the most, regardless of the position and what others think.