Jaguars grade in 2019 NFL Draft seems a bit high based on return

NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell poses with Jaguars fans during the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.Gw41772
NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell poses with Jaguars fans during the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.Gw41772 /

Grading an NFL draft class isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem. Of course, you can miss on all your picks and say you had a great haul. On the other hand, a team’s mark should go up if they land a franchise building block, which is precisely what happened to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019.

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently took a look at the 2019 draft and graded every team based on the return they’ve gotten over the last three years. The Jags got a B-, mainly because of outside linebacker Josh Allen, right tackle Jawaan Taylor and Gardner Minshew’s outstanding rookie campaign.

"The Jacksonville Jaguars saw three players make an immediate impact, and one of them has shown high-level playmaking ability at a premium position…"

Based on their performance over the last three years, Moton thinks Allen is a “long-term asset at a key position” and describes Taylor as a “low-end starter” due to issues in pass protection.

"The Jaguars have a consistent playmaker in Allen, and Minshew can be a serviceable starter with another opportunity elsewhere, but Taylor may not get another deal in Jacksonville with Little in competition for his starting spot."

The Jaguars have a building block in edge Josh Allen

You always want to find a building block in the draft, especially one that plays a premium position, such as edge rusher. And even though Allen hasn’t realized his full potential, it looks like the Jaguars hit it out of the ballpark when they selected him seventh overall. But how about the rest of their 2019 draft class?

Minshew was a revelation as a rookie and even the national media couldn’t stop talking about Minshewmania. Unfortunately, the former Washington State Cougar came crashing down in his sophomore season and was relegated to the bench due to performance issues.

Looking back, it’s fair to wonder how he would fare when he gets another chance. Last season, he started two games for the Philadelphia Eagles and completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 429 yards with four touchdowns and just one interception. Of course, with Trevor Lawrence joining the Jags, there was no longer room for Minshew in Jacksonville but he will probably get another sniff at a starting job.

Then, there’s Jawaan Taylor, who’s entering a crucial stage of his NFL career. Not only is he set to become a free agent but he’s not a bet to start in Week 1. He will have to beat Walker Little in training camp if he wants to keep his starting job. This could be the year the 2019 second-round pick puts it all together but there’s an equal chance this might be his last season in Jacksonville.

The rest of the Jaguars 2019 draft class was underwhelming

By the start of the 2023 season, Josh Allen may be the only remaining member of the Jaguars’ 2019 draft haul on the roster if running back Ryquell Armstead leaves next year, so you could pretty much say that the B- grade they got from Moton is mostly due to the former Kentucky Wildcat.

Speaking of Armstead, he missed the 2020 season with COVID-19 complications, was released last offseason, and returned to Jacksonville near the end of the year. He started two games and logged 52 yards on nine carries against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18. He’s set to have a reserve role behind Travis Etienne in 2022.

But other than Armstead and Allen, the Jaguars didn’t get much out of their 2019 draft class. They moved on from tight end Josh Oliver and linebacker Quincy Williams after just two seasons while defensive tackle Dontavius Russell last played a football game in 2019.

Hindsight is 20/20 but the Jaguars came out of the 2019 draft with a mediocre haul. Had they found a couple more contributors, it would look much better.

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