The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first overall pick in the NFL Draft for the second year in a row and there are two ways to look at it. If you look at the glass half full, they found a potential franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and they will have a chance to add another building block in 2022. On the other hand, the only reason they got the top pick in consecutive years is that they have been the worst team in the league in that span. However you look at it, the Jags must get the No. 1 pick right if they want to get out of the NFL cellar.
Kyle Brandt of NFL Media recently noted on Good Morning Football that the Jaguars have the dubious distinction of having the first overall pick in consecutive years and they can’t afford to have it a third time. He acknowledges that even the best clubs end up with the top selection but it’s extremely rare to own it in consecutive years. Only five teams have done it in the past. Brandt goes on to say this will be a critical pick for Jacksonville.
"This is a very important pick and it’s got down to this nice cute little binary safe bet versus take-a-risk reach discussion which is classic draft stuff. And that thread. If they do take the safe bet and Aidan Hutchinson ain’t that special, who knows they’re not first team three years in a row. If they take the risk, and they do try or they do Tibideaux or someone who …you can’t be back here next year. You just can’t because you think the Houston Texans irrelevant."
Other teams that were brought up in the discussion were the Houston Texans, the New York Giants, and the Carolina Panthers.
Getting the No. 1 pick right will help the Jaguars turn the corner fast.
The Jaguars weren’t very good during the 2010s outside of the 2017 season. However, they really hit rock bottom in 2020, when they managed to win just one game, so they rightfully moved on from head coach Doug Marrone and general manager David Caldwell. They then hired Urban Meyer to fill the void left by Marrone and arguably made things worse, instilling a toxic culture and demoralizing the organization in the process.
Owner Shad Khan deserves plenty of blame for the Jaguars’ lack of success over the last ten years but he doesn’t like to willingly lose games and is aware changes were needed. That’s why he pulled the plug on Meyer after less than a year on the job and that’s why he brought in Doug Pederson, a Super Bowl-winning coach to oversee the team.
Now, Pederson will be invaluable in the Jaguars’ rebuild but he alone can’t right the ship. He will need as much talent as possible. That’s where general manager Trent Baalke comes in. He will have to nail the 2022 NFL Draft and come out with a handful of impact players. Regardless of the regime, the Jags have failed to replenish their roster the past few years and Baalke must buck the trend. Whether it’s Travon Walker or Aidan Hutchinson, they must select someone who will become a franchise building block.
Even if the Jaguars hit it out of the ballpark with the top pick in the draft, it’s not guaranteed they will turn into a perennial playoff team but it will surely increase their chances of becoming one. That’s why it’s so important that they get it right.