Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft haul rightfully gets low mark
The 2017 season was a ray of light for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After failing to win more than five games in any of the six preceding years, the Jags made an AFC Championship appearance and were one bad call away from making the Super Bowl. They were riding high heading in 2018 and probably one good NFL Draft class away from getting to the top. The problem was that the Jaguars didn’t find any building blocks that year and retroactively got a low mark for their haul.
Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report recently assign grades for each NFL team’s 2018 draft class and Jacksonville got a “D”. He argues that the Jags barely avoided disaster but he can’t overlook the fact that defensive tackle Taven Bryan didn’t pan out.
"The Jacksonville Jaguars avoided a complete disaster during the 2018 draft, but they’d surely love to have another crack at it. It’s hard to get over how big of a bust Taven Bryan was as the 29th overall pick."
On the other hand, Wharton notes that second-round pick D.J. Chark and third-round selection Ronnie Harrison brought something to the table during their time with the Jags.
"Chark showed big-play talent in 2019 when he earned a Pro Bowl bid after catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight scores. He struggled with injuries over the next two years and signed with Detroit this past offseason. Harrison looked like a quality strong safety after starting 14 games in 2019. Instead of building on his 71tackle season, the Jaguars traded him to Cleveland for a fifth-round pick in 2021. Harrison has since been a decent third safety for the Browns."
The Jaguars 2018 draft class set them back a few years
Here’s the list of players the Jags selected in 2018:
- Taven Bryan, DT (29th overall, 1st round)
- DJ Chark, WR (61st overall, 2nd round)
- Ronnie Harrison, S (93rd overall, 3rd round)
- Will Richardson, OL (129th overall, 4th round)
- Tanner Lee, QB (203rd overall, 6th round)
- Leon Jacobs, LB (230th overall, 7th round)
- Logan Cooke, P (247th overall, 7th round)
Only Will Richardson and Logan Cooke remain with the team. The Jags also signed K.C. McDermott and Tre Herndon as undrafted free agents that year and both of them are still on the roster. Richardson is a reserve offensive lineman who can line both inside and outside with Cooke has been one of the best punters in the league. Still, that’s not the kind of success rate you want to have in the draft.
Looking back, the Jaguars’ 2017 draft class while unspectacular wasn’t that bad, especially when you compare it to its 2018 counterpart. Nevertheless, then-general manager Dave Caldwell failed to consistently replenish the roster and seemed more interested in trading the few playmakers Jacksonville had for draft picks. This strategy ultimately blew up in his face as he left the team devoid of talent before he was given his walking papers.
The draft is a crapshoot and no team has a perfect track record. Having said that, the Jags weren’t particularly good in the 2010s when it came to amassing talent. On the bright side, general manager Trent Baalke will have the chance to buck the trend.