Draftees not named Lamar Jackson the Jaguars regret ignoring in favor of Taven Bryan

Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Taven Bryan (Florida) is selected as the number twenty-nine.
Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Taven Bryan (Florida) is selected as the number twenty-nine. / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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Player 1 the Jaguars should've drafted instead of Taven Bryan: Shaquille Leonard, LB

Colts general manager Chris Ballard is likely entering the 2023 season on the hot seat after failing to find a long-term answer at the quarterback position. Anthony Richardson might very well turn out to be it but if he isn't, Ballard might get kicked to the curb in the not-too-distant future. It wasn't always like that though. Back in 2018, he earned a reputation as an outstanding talent evaluator after coming out of the draft with several building blocks.

Besides All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and right tackle Braden Smith, Ballard also found linebacker Shaquille Leonard. In fact, Indy picked him right before Smith. It's true that the 2022 season wasn't particularly kind to Leonard but he was dealing with a never issue that limited his impact throughout most of the year. To make matters worse, the former South Carolina State Bulldog then suffered a concussion and was shut down for the season.

Leonard has had lots of time to heal and it wouldn't be shocking to see him reclaim his place as one of the top linebackers in the league. It's easy to forget it now but made the Pro Bowl three times and got as many First-Team All-Pro designations in his first four NFL seasons.

Imagine if the Jaguars had paired Leonard with Myles Jack. In 2018, Jack was still at the top of his game, so he and Leonard could have formed one of the most dynamic linebacker tandems in the league.

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