The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2024 offseason with plenty of needs. Offensive tackle isn't one of them but analyst Matt Miller of ESPN believes that shouldn't stop them from targeting Houston's Patrick Paul in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Miller identified potential draft targets in the first round for all 32 teams. He thinks Paul would be a great fit in Jacksonville, noting that he may be a bit unpolished but has starting potential.
"The Jaguars' struggles down the stretch point to problems on both lines, and the front office should go with a "best player available" approach in Round 1 with offensive tackles and pass-rushers. Houston's Patrick Paul is an agile easy-moving pass protector who might need a little more seasoning but has future starting left tackle traits. "
Miller, on the other hand, argues that adding a pass rusher in the first round should be an option for the Jags, especially if negotiations with outside linebacker Josh Allen get rocky.
A three-star recruit out of high school, Paul made 44 starts at left tackle for the Cougars. At 6'7" and 333 pounds, he's got the perfect blend of length, athleticism, and power to play in the NFL. However, he's a work in progress and he would be a reach if the Jags took him at No. 17.
For starters, Paul needs to work on his base and overall technique. Brandon Thorn of the Bleacher Report Scouting department points out that his upright playing style leaves his chest exposed. Similarly, his hand placement needs refinement. All in all, Thorn gives the Houston product a third-round grade, pointing out that he has the traits and attitude to earn a starting role within his first few seasons.
Patrick Paul would be a much better alternative for the Jaguars in the 3rd round
The Jaguars have a logjam at left tackle, with Cam Robinson in the fold. Even if they traded either one, it would leave them with one starter in 2024. Heck, they could even move Anton Harrison, who lined up on the right side last year, back to left tackle, his natural position. But let's entertain for a moment the thought of targeting an offensive tackle in the first round. They'll have much better options than Patrick Paul, whether it's Joe Alt, Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Taliese Fuaga, or JC Latham.
Granted, a few of them will be gone by the time the Jags are on the clock, but it wouldn't make much sense to take Paul in the first round, especially when you take into account that they have more pressing needs than left tackle, including but not limited to center, pass rush, cornerback and wide receiver.
Maybe if the Jaguars do move on from either Robinson or Little, targeting Paul in the third round would be reasonable. After all, they would need a swing tackle to back up whoever lined up on the edges next year. When you take into account that Jacksonville is projected to have a compensatory selection in the third round, the team's brass should definitely consider adding depth at offensive tackle.
The bottom line is that there are going to be much better on the board than Patrick Paul when the Jacksonville Jaguars pick in the first round. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what direction they take, as long as they come out with a player who has an immediate impact.