The 2021 NFL Draft is not necessarily filled with drama at the very top. The Jacksonville Jaguars will select quarterback Trevor Lawrence from Clemson No. 1 overall with the expectation that he will help new head coach Urban Meyer turn things around in Duval.
Lawrence has pretty much been the consensus top pick in this draft since his freshman season with the Tigers back in 2018. He boasts all the natural skills and physical ability to be an immediate Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in the same vein as Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert last season.
With that said, it’s what general manager Trent Baalke and Co. do after the No. 1 overall pick that could also define the Jaguars’ success moving forward. Jacksonville boasts the 25th overall pick in the first round as well as two second-round picks (33rd and 45th overall). This is a prime opportunity to build up a roster that lost its final 15 games a season ago.
Below, we look at five ideal Jacksonville Jaguars draft targets after they inevitably select Lawrence with the first pick Thursday evening.
Jacksonville Jaguars add wide receiver Rashod Bateman to the mix
While this former Minnesota star is not considered on the same level as top-tier prospects Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle and Ja’Marr Chase, he’s a potential sleeper. The 6-foot wide receiver hauled in 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019 before a COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. He’s considered a top-line boundary receiving threat with great hands and surprising speed. In short, someone who can help Lawrence out of the gate.
Exhausting the top pick on a quarterback is one thing. Failing to give said signal caller skill-position talent is another thing. This is why Jacksonville should spend the 26th pick on a talented receiver to team up with D.J. Chark and slot guy Laviska Shenault Jr.
Jacksonville Jaguars fish for a tight end in Round 2
Pat Freiermuth from Penn State is considered the second-best tight end in a relatively weak class behind Kyle Pitts. The Penn State product was ultra-productive throughout his three-year college career in Happy Valley — catching a combined 92 passes for 1,185 yards and 16 touchdowns. Said touchdown rate would be absolutely huge for Lawrence as he learns the nuances of the NFL game and looks to have success in the red zone.
Freiermuth might be a tad of a reach for Jacksonville at the top of Round 2 (33rd overall). However, he could be a target for the Jaguars later in the round or following a potential trade down. Remember, the initial pick of Day 2 increases in value after teams reset their draft boards following Round 1.
Read More: Bold predictions for 2021 NFL Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars take a chance on Jaelan Phillips
Considered a potential top-15 heading into the pre-draft process, minor injuries and concussion issues have pushed this Miami (F) prospect down the board some. There’s now a chance that he could be available to the Jaguars at 33. What an absolute steal this would be next to former top-10 pick Josh Allen.
The Jaguars were absolutely atrocious rushing the passer with Allen sidelined to injury for eight games a season ago, recording 18 sacks. It led to opposing quarterbacks throwing 34 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions. Adding an elite-level outside pass rusher in Phillips could solve these issues in a big way out of the gate.
Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Draft: First-four picks
- First round, 1st pick: Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Clemson
- First round, 25th pick: Rashod Bateman, wide receiver, Minnesota
- Second round, 33rd pick: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (F)
- Second round, 45th pick: Pat Freiermuth, tight end, Penn State