Mock draft Roundup: Jacksonville Jaguars fortify their defensive front in Round 1
The Jacksonville Jaguars don't have any glaring weaknesses but must load up on talent in the 2023 NFL Draft if they want to keep up in the AFC arms race. One position group that could use reinforcements is their defensive front, which is why several mock drafts project them to take Clemson edge rusher Myles Murphy with the 24th overall pick.
Kyle Stackpole and Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports both have Jacksonville taking Murphy at No. 24. Similarly, Charles Davis of NFL Media also thinks Murphy will be the pick, noting that the Jaguars must upgrade their pass rush.
"More pressure off the edge for a defense that tied for 25th in sacks last season. Incumbent pass rushers Josh Allen and Travon Walker get a big-bodied running mate."
The Jaguars lost Arden Key in free agency and Dawuane Smoot is recovering from a tore Achilles he suffered last year and remains unsigned. Whether the team's brass brings back Smoot or not, their front seven could use a boost. Murphy could come in and contribute right off the bat.
The Georgia native can beat linemen with his bull rush or use his hands to shed blocks. Similarly, he's got the bend to get around the edge. Even though he's at his best when he's in a three-point stance, defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell could also have him rush the quarterback from a standup position. Either way, having him in the lineup would help Josh Allen and Travon Walker find favorable matchups.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could draft Myles Murphy in Round 1 and take a CB later
Myles Murphy would be a solid pick at No. 24 but the Jaguars have other needs besides pass rush. One of the biggest ones is cornerback. Although Jacksonville has a talented duo of corners in Darious Williams in Tyson Campbell, Jacksonville needs to add one that can line up in the slot.
The Jaguars have Gregory Junior and Montaric Brown waiting in the wing but it would be a good idea to invest an early-round pick in a cornerback, especially when you take into account how deep this year's class is. Also, the Jags could add depth to their tight-end room and a swing tackle to back up Cam Robinson and Walker Little.
Then again, the tight-end class is stacked with talent and Jacksonville just signed Josh Wells in free agency, so they could afford to wait to address both positions in the draft.
Given that the Jaguars could find a quality corner (or two) in the second or third round, it makes sense to take a pass rusher like Murphy with the 24th pick. Moreover, it seems like the front office will prioritize bolstering the front seven in the draft. Most of the prospects they've hosted for visits are pass rushers, so it wouldn't be particularly shocking to see them take one in Round 1 or 2.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could take different paths in the first round of the draft and one of them includes Myles Murphy. When you consider that they can address other positions in later rounds, picking him at No. 24 makes sense.