Jacksonville Jaguars don’t need to trade up in the 2023 NFL Draft to land a cornerback

Jacksonville Jaguars fans cheer during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars fans cheer during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /

If the Jacksonville Jaguars manage to keep tight end Evan Engram, cornerback will be their top need this offseason. Due to the limited amount of cap space they’ll have in free agency, they’ll most likely address the position in the 2023 NFL Draft and Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report suggests they trade up in the first round to land one of the top prospects.

The Jags currently hold the 24th pick in the first round of the draft, so they will be in a favorable position to take one of the top corners. However, Knox put together a list of dream trade scenarios for each NFL team and says that Jacksonville should trade Shaquill Griffin and use whatever compensation they get in exchange to try to move up a few spots in the draft. Knox notes that Griffin has been a solid player in the past and believes he could fetch a high late-round pick from a team in need of help at cornerback.

"Given Griffin’s age, past performance, and the value of his position, a high Day 3 selection shouldn’t be an unrealistic expectation for Jacksonville. That could prove valuable if the Jags want to trade up for a top cornerback prospect in the draft.Jacksonville holds the 25th overall pick, which might be too low for a prospect like Utah’s Clark Phillips III or South Carolina’s Cam Smith. It might have to jump the Minnesota Vikings at No. 24 another team that could use a starting-caliber corner."

First, it’s worth noting that Jacksonville holds the 24th overall pick, not the 25th. With that out of the way, it makes more sense, in theory, to trade Griffin and get something in return — even if it’s a Day 3 pick — instead of releasing him and getting nothing. The former UCF Knight is one of a handful of Jaguars that could be cap casualties this offseason. He’s set to count $17.14 million against the cap and moving on from him would free up $13.17 million with $4 million in dead money.

Having said that, Griffin is coming off a back injury and teams might not be interested in taking his current salary. Simply, it’s hard to see other clubs paying him a base salary of $11.5 million in 2023 on top of parting ways with a draft pick, even if it’s a sixth or a seventh.

The Jacksonville Jaguars can land a top CB at No. 24 in the 2023 NFL Draft

Fortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars and any other club in need of cornerback help, this is one of the deepest classes in recent years. Even if Cam Smith and Clark Phillips are off the board by the time they’re on the clock, the Jaguars should be able to come out of the draft with a good one. Film junkie Benjamin Solak of the Ringer says this is a weak draft class overall but the cornerback position is “as strong as I’ve ever seen”.

The Jaguars will have their first share of cornerbacks at No. 24. While it would be great to see Kalee Ringo, Cam Smith, or Joey Porter Jr. land in Jacksonville, Brian Branch would be a great pick, and so would Chris Gonzalez.

Heck, the Jaguars could take a pass rusher, such as Clemson’s Myles Murphy — or a tight end if Evan Engram leaves — in the first round and wait until the second to address the cornerback position and still come out of the process with one of the top prospects.

Keep in mind that the Jaguars already have a good cornerback tandem in Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams. What they need is a nickel or someone who can line up both inside and outside and they won’t need to trade up in the draft to get a player who fits their needs.

The Jacksonville Jaguars could trade up in the first round if they want to call dibs on a prospect they really like. But given how stacked the cornerback class will be, it’s hard to see them moving up to get one.

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