There’s no doubt that the NFL Draft is a crapshoot and months of research and due diligence don’t guarantee success. While it’s easy to assign grades based on how clubs address their needs and prospects’ upside, it takes a couple of years, if not more, to make an accurate assessment. For example, the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t get high marks this year but their 2022 class is filled with potential, so they could get a high grade down the road.
Having said that, there were many prospects that the Jags could have taken but opted not to. In particular, they might regret passing on these five players in the upcoming years.
No. 5 player the Jaguars might regret not drafting: Trey McBride, TE
This year’s tight end class didn’t have a prospect of the caliber of Kyle Pitts, who was selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2021. Nevertheless, there was some talent at the position, and the Jags could have chosen one of the top tight-end prospects in the second or third round.
The first tight end taken was Colorado State’s Trey McBride, who went to the Arizona Cardinals with the 55th overall selection. The second tight end, Jelani Woods, went to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 73. The Jaguars could have selected McBride with their second-round pick (No. 33) instead of moving up to take linebacker Devin Lloyd with the 27th overall choice. Another path would’ve been to move up from the 65th pick and get ahead of the Cards.
Jacksonville didn’t draft a single tight end this year because they signed Evan Engram earlier this year. But he, Chris Manhertz, and Dan Arnold are set to become free agents next offseason. It may have been a good idea to draft McBride, and have him ready to go in case Engram or Arnold don’t return in 2023.
McBride had a combined 74 receptions in his first three seasons at Colorado State but had a breakout year in 2021, catching 90 receptions for 1,121 with one touchdown. The former Ram is a good route-runner with dependable hands. He needs to improve his pass-blocking skills but that’s something he should be able to work on in his rookie campaign.