Jaguars 2022 NFL Draft: Kevin Austin leads list of undrafted free agents

Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. (4) at State Farm Stadium.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. (4) at State Farm Stadium. /

College players spend months preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft. Not only did they have to put good tape together but they also had to prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and the Senior Bowl for those that qualify. Unfortunately, not all of them will had their name called. However, this is by no means the end of the road because as soon as this year’s draft was over, teams rushed to sign as many undrafted as they can and the Jacksonville Jaguars got their hands on a good number, including Notre Dame wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr.

Austin got the spotlight because the Jags didn’t draft a wide receiver and he might be their undrafted free agent with the most upside. The former Fighting Irish got a fourth-round grade from the Bleacher Report scouting department and is seen as someone that can develop into a “depth contributor”.

"Austin’s size, speed, blocking, and positional flexibility should make him a depth contributor sooner than later. Although he’s incomplete out of the gate, he should be able to provide some degree of value early on as a field-stretcher, both from the slot and outside."

Off-field issues forced the 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver to miss his sophomore campaign and had to sit out most of the 2020 season with a fractured foot. However, he bounced back in 2021, hauling in 48 receptions for 888 yards with seven touchdowns. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.43 and logged a 3-cone drill of 6.71. Moreover, he registered a 39-inch vertical jump. Here’s a list of other players the Jags signed after the conclusion of the 2022 draft.

  • Nick Ford, OL
  • Denzel Okafor, OL
  • Lujuan Winningham, WR
  • Gerrit Prince, TE
  • Josh Thompson, DB
  • Sean Mahone, DB
  • De’Shaan Dixon, DE
  • Grant Morgan, LB
  • Israel Antwine, DT
  • Andrew Mevis, PK
  • Shabari Davis, CB, returner

The Jaguars have been good and identifying talent after the draft.

Austin is the kind of player you want to sign after the draft, those with plenty of upside but for whatever reason weren’t able to produce at the collegiate level. Maybe they were stuck behind other players or in his case, off-field issues and injuries.

The Jaguars haven’t been good at drafting over the last ten years but they have sure excelled at discovering undrafted gems. Running back James Robinson is the latest example but far from the only one. Wide receivers Allen Hurns and Keelan Cole come to mind, and so does Tyler Shatley, who is set to start at center in 2022. Cornerback Tre Herndon and Andrew Wingard all were signed after the draft and both of them have started plenty of games in Jacksonville.

Now, expecting to find Pro Bowlers after the draft isn’t a sound strategy but the Jaguars would be thrilled if they can find a few valuable special teams contributors and depth. They made several upgrades in free agency and had a pretty good draft haul, regardless of what some analysts say. Finding a few undrafted contributors would be the icing on the cake.

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