Trent Baalke joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as their director of player personnel in 2020. He was promoted interim general manager when Dave Caldwell was given the boot later that year and got the job full-time after the team conducted a search early in 2021. Since then, Baalke has been busy replenishing a roster his predecessor left devoid of talent. So far, the results have been favorable.
Sure, the Jaguars went 3-14 in Baalke's first year as the first manager but that was mostly byproduct of Urban Meyer's incompetence. Once the Jags removed the stench Meyer left, they turned things around. Besides winning the AFC South title, they won a playoff game last year. Having a quarterback of Trevor Lawrence's caliber certainly helped, a so did having a Super Bowl-winning coach in Doug Pederson. But that shouldn't diminish the role Baalke had in rebuilding the roster.
Has it been perfect? Certainly not but Baalke has had more hits than misses in his first two seasons on the job. Then again, you can't mention the good without bringing up the duds. With that in mind, here are the worst five blunders of the Baalke era.
No. 5 Jaguars worst pick of the Trent Baalke era: Gregory Junior, CB
Is it fair to expect a late-round pick in the draft to be a Pro Bowler? Not really. In fact, thinking you can consistently find starting-caliber players on Day 3 might not be a good way to build a roster. Instead, clubs often find special team contributors and depth players in the later rounds of the draft. This is why it might be a bit unfair to call 2022 sixth-round pick Gregory Junior a dud.
Then again, you know Junior had a rough rookie season when fellow cornerback Montaric Brown, a seventh-round pick himself, got more playing time than him last year. On the other hand, Junior holds the distinction of being the first draft selection to come out of Ouachita Baptist and that has to account for something, right?
Doug Pederson recently told the media that Junior has made progress since the end of the 2022 season. However, he might have a hard time sticking around in 2023 due to the arrival of Christian Braswell, Erick Hallet II, Antonio Johnson, and undrafted free agent Kaleb Hayes in May. Like other players on this list, he'll need to show out in training camp to remain in Jacksonville for at least one more season.