The biggest gripe about the Jacksonville Jaguars’ strategy in the 2022 NFL Draft was that they didn’t add more weapons. Instead of getting more receivers or bolstering their offensive line, they invested most of their picks in the defensive side of the ball. However, the Jags didn’t really have to devote so many resources after all the upgrades they made to the offense in free agency and Trevor Lawrence is “sitting pretty” ahead of the team’s Organized Team Activities.
Mike Florio and Chris Simms recently discussed on Pro Football Talk Live that the Jaguars didn’t have to use many of their picks on offense because they had already spent plenty of money in free agency. In particular, Simms likes what Jacksonville did in the draft and believes Lawrence is in a position to succeed in 2022.
"Trevor Lawrence is good, as pertains to the draft. Nothing was there, but you had the 20th-ranked defensive football last year. It’s gonna be better than that this year with this kind of talent on the football field, that’s for sure… They’re set on offense. They didn’t need to do offense in the draft. But what are they gonna do? They spent $100 million on offense in free agency, Christian Kirk Zay Jones, Evan Ingram superstar talent. You got Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones almost as a 1,000-yard receiver. You got not one good running back, two really good running backs. So again, it wasn’t huge room in the draft but I think he’s sitting pretty with the team got a lot better this offseason."
The Jaguars went defense in the first round of the draft, taking Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the first overall pick, and moved up from the second round to take Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd at No. 27. They did take Kentucky center Luke Fortner in the third round and running back Snoop Conner in the fifth but Jacksonville used five of their seven draft picks on defense.
The Jaguars entered this year’s offseason with a clear plan in mind.
Looking back, it looks like the Jaguars had an outlined strategy and approached free agency and the draft as two complementary parts this offseason. They mostly focused on the offense in free agency and turned their attention to the defense in the draft. That’s why they didn’t draft a wide receiver. They had already signed Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.
While general manager Trent Baalke told the media before the draft that the team’s brain trust wasn’t opposed to making a position stronger, they were going to try to go for the best player available, which is what they did. Instead of reaching for a need, they looked for value and that was only possible because they had already fortified the offense in free agency.
The Jags added a Pro Bowl guard in Brandon Scherff, and tight end Evan Engram, along with Jones and Kirk, will give Lawrence a trio of weapons on offense. Moreover, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault will most probably bounce back now that Urban Meyer is gone.
All things considered, the Jaguars had a superb draft and while you can make the case that they could have gotten Lawrence more weapons, the additions on defense will help take some pressure off his shoulders in 2022.