3 Winners, 3 losers from Jaguars selection of Brian Thomas Jr. in 2024 NFL Draft

• The Jaguars selected Brian Thomas Jr. at No. 23

• Here are 3 players (or staff) who'll benefit from his arrival

• There are also 3 who were affected

Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. poses with NFL
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. poses with NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Now the losers from the Jaguars' decision to draft Brian Thomas Jr.

Loser No. 3: OL coach Phil Rauscher

Offensive tackle was a trendy pick for the Jaguars at No. 17. Had they not moved back, they could've targeted Amarius Mims or Troy Fautanu. It's true that Jacksonville has two left tackles under contract, Cam Robinson and Walker Little, but both of them are set to become free agents in 2025. Thus, it would've been a good idea to add depth at the position and give Phil Rauscher another guy to develop.

The Jaguars may very well give Rauscher someone to work with later in the draft, but it won't be one of the premier left tackle prospects.

Loser No. 2: Defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen

Ryan Nielsen was hired as the team's new defensive coordinator not long after the 2023 season ended. He'll take over an underperforming group and will try to get the most out of them. To do so, he'll be making the switch to a press-heavy scheme.

While Nielsen has some pieces to work with, he still needs a few more to complete the proverbial puzzle. A cornerback who can play man coverage would be great. A third pass rusher to round out the rotation behind Travon Walker and Josh Allen could've been of help. However, he'll need to wait to get reinforcements.

Loser No. 3: Zay Jones

The Jaguars are stacked at wide receiver after drafting Brian Thomas Jr., but the team's brass could make a few changes in the upcoming days or weeks. Thomas will join a unit that includes Gabe Davis, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones. All of them are expected to have starting roles in 2024 but there may not be enough targets for all of them. That could make Jones the victim of the numbers game.

Kirk is one of Trevor Lawrence's most trusted targets, and Davis just signed a three-year deal in free agency. Meanwhile, Jones is entering the last year of the contract he signed in 2022. He's coming off an injury-riddled season and releasing him (or trading him) would create cap space.

Maybe the Jags could keep Jones around but that could potentially hinder Thomas' development. That's why trading him and getting a late-round pick along the way on Days 2 or 3 of the draft may be the best course of action.

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