Try as teams might, the Jacksonville Jaguars are not planning to part with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville is expected to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall next Thursday when the draft begins with Jacksonville on the clock for the first time under the power structure of general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Urban Meyer.
“We’ve fielded a couple of calls, but I think we’re going to hold tight,” Baalke said of trade interest in the No. 1 pick. “Again that decision is made organizationally and our ownership is involved with that as well.”
Meyer claimed Wednesday in the joint video conference the Jaguars haven’t finalized plans for the top pick. He said that could come this week during a meeting with owner Shad Khan.
“Ultimately, the owner is going to pull that ticket on that one,” Meyer said. “We’re going to have a great meeting and I imagine we’ll get closer to a decision.”
The rest of the world expects Lawrence to go No. 1, including oddsmakers.
Lawrence is a -10000 favorite at PointsBet to be the top pick, odds that were much shorter one year ago — a mere -305, in fact. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has the next-best odds to be the first pick at +1300.
Seemingly pre-ordained for the No. 1 slot since his fantastic freshman season, Lawrence passed for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns with 17 interceptions for the Tigers. He ended his college career at 34-2, third-best all-time among quarterbacks with at least 30 starts (Ken Dorsey and Matt Leinart are first and second).
Meyer was coaxed out of retirement and Baalke joined the franchise after previously serving as a scout and general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.
They’ve spent hours with Lawrence and evaluating his game, while also tapping into those closest to him, former teammates and coaches, to erase any hidden concern about his future.
“No negatives,” Baalke said of what he found researching and scouting Lawrence. “You’re always looking for the stars to align when you’re looking at prospects — whether that be from a physical, mental, character … whatever the case may be. With his situation, like many others in this draft, the stars all align. And that’s what you’re looking for.”
The Jaguars have 10 picks in the 2021 draft. They also pick 25th in the first round — compensation for cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was traded to the Rams — and 33rd, the top pick in the second round, which begins Friday.
Meyer said his focus is on speed and “immediate value” as the Jaguars attempt to climb from the AFC South basement.
Jacksonville has drafted quarterbacks in the top 10 before, dating to Byron Leftwich (seventh overall in 2003), but the Jaguars’ recent history in this territory is dicey.
They took Blake Bortles third in 2014, Blaine Gabbert 10th in 2011 and will be selecting in the top 10 for the 13th time since 2008.
–Field Level Media