2. Trent Baalke has added talent to the Jaguars but has also had blunders
Trevor Lawrence was the top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft and any general manager that hypothetically held the No. 1 pick would’ve chosen him. For that reason, Trent Baalke might not get much credit for taking the former Clemson Tiger, who’s having a solid sophomore campaign and is solidifying his case as the face of the franchise.
But even if you take Lawrence out of the equation, the Jaguars came away from last year’s draft with many potential building blocks. Running back Travis Etienne and safety Andre Cisco are starters while offensive tackle Walker Little is currently waiting in the wings. Having said that, Baalke wasn’t successful with some of the team’s later picks.
Wide receiver Jalen Camp never played a down for the Black and Teal. Defensive tackle Jay Tufele, one of the Jags’ two fourth-round picks, was waived before the start of the season and he’s gone on to become an important piece in the Cincinnati Bengal’s defensive line rotation. Similarly, Jacksonville hasn’t gotten much production from the 2022 class.
The Jaguars knew that drafting Travon Walker first overall was a long-term investment but outside of center Luke Fortner, they still waiting on their other picks to produce on a consistent basis. Running back Snoop Conners has been a healthy scratch for most of the season while linebacker Devin Lloyd has struggled, which has paved the way for Chad Muma to earn more playing time.
Of course, you can’ measure the impact of a draft class after just two years but the early returns haven’t been outstanding. For the time being, Baalke most likely gets a pass from ownership but if he doesn’t hit a few home runs next year, his seat should get considerably hotter.