The Jacksonville Jaguars came out of the 2022 NFL Draft with a solid haul. They also found a few building blocks, including Trevor Lawrence, last year. However, many of their previous drafts weren’t nearly as productive and the one in 2019 doesn’t look good in retrospect.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports looked back at every NFL team’s draft haul in 2019 and retroactively gave the Jaguars a D after originally assigning them a B+. Prisco points out that Jacksonville’s top two picks showed flashes as rookies but both have seen their performance drop off since then. Moreover, the Jags didn’t get much production out of their other picks.
"First-round pick Josh Allen looked like a future star rusher in his first season, but he’s tailed off in the next two. He has to pick it up this offseason. Season-round tackle Jawaan Taylor also looked like a long-term starter as a rookie, but he’s regressed in a big way the past two seasons. He could lose his job. The rest of the draft produced little, aside from some magical moments from sixth-round quarterback Gardner Minshew."
Outside linebacker Josh Allen went to the Pro Bowl after logging 10.5 sacks as a rookie. However, he’s only registered 10 over the last two seasons. While he was one of the most dominant edge rushers at some point in the 2021 season, his performance faded down the stretch. Meanwhile, right tackle Jawaan Taylor has struggled with penalties over the last two seasons and has given up a combined 14 sacks and 92 total pressures over the last two seasons.
The Jaguars 2019 draft class might be the best of the bunch.
Josh Allen and running back Ryquell Armstead are the only remaining members from the Jags’ 2019 batch, and that’s not something to be proud of. Hitting on two of seven draft picks isn’t the recipe to build a good team. Then again, Jacksonville’s 2019 class was better than their 2020 and 2018 counterparts, and Allen and Armstead could end up having important roles this upcoming season.
The Jaguars exercised the fifth-year option on Allen’s contract, meaning that they see him as a key cog on their defense. The Kentucky product will have the chance to prove he can play at a high level for a whole season. The fact that the front office added plenty of talent to the front seven this offseason should help Allen find more favorable matchups and more opportunities to make plays.
On the other hand, Armstead could be part of Jacksonville’s running back committee. James Robinson will probably miss a good chunk of training camp and might not be available for the season opener. This will be an opportunity for Armstead to earn playing time and take some of the workload off Travis Etienne’s shoulders. He will need to compete with rookie Snoop Conner for carries but could end up becoming the primary backup while Robinson recovers.
Years of bad drafting left the Jaguars where they were last year. If they can get more production from their 2021 class and this year’s lives up to the hype, they will have a solid foundation for the future. Also, general manager Trent Baalke’s reputation might improve a bit in Jacksonville.