The Jacksonville Jaguars splurged during free agency, and it will likely affect how they’ll proceed later this month at the NFL Draft.
For much of the pre-draft process, the Jaguars have been linked to several prospects as far as the first overall pick goes. Draft boards and mock drafts have had different potential scenarios for Jacksonville. A popular one was with Evan Neal, the offensive tackle from Alabama. The other possibility was Michigan’s much-heralded pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson.
Placing the franchise tag on Cam Robinson surely allows general manager Trent Baalke to go with the best defensive player available. On the other hand, the offensive line, particularly the interior, still needs help. The Jaguars could also pluck at least one wide receiver prospect from a relatively deep class this year. Let’s take a look at one of many possible scenarios that might take place on April 28th.
Jaguars mock draft: 1st round, 1st overall pick – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE
While Hutchinson is the consensus top pick for many, that doesn’t necessarily mean Baalke has him ranked as such. Kayvon Thibodeaux has been the talk of the sports media due to his outing at the NFL Combine. However, if you look at what he did put on display, such as a 4.58 time in his 40-yard dash and 27 reps on the bench press, it was a solid performance. Combined with his Pro Day workout, which was highlighted by his 119-inch broad jump and running his three-cone drill in 7.28 seconds, Thibodeaux did enough to solidify his stock.
On film, it’s not hard to see his remarkable athleticism and natural ability. While many are concerned about his “attitude,” his physical traits are going to be hard to pass up. In terms of statistics, he has 10 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss over the last two years. Thibodeaux was consistently the best pass rusher in the Pac 12 during that run, getting recognized in the top 10 categorically for sacks and tackles for a loss from 2019 to 2021.
Thibodeaux is the perfect blend of quickness, size, speed, and versatility that you look for in a top pick. Once in the NFL, he can be used in a variety of ways, whether you line him up as a traditional edge rusher with his hands in the dirt in a three-point stance or in a two-point stance where he can rush the passer as an outside linebacker. His versatility makes him an invaluable part of an NFL defense.