How Jaguars can have perfect 2020 NFL Draft in five steps, including surrounding Gardner Minshew with weapons
Jacksonville is set up for success during the draft
Not many teams have a pre-draft setup as good as the Jaguars. Not only do they have 12 picks in the draft, the Jaguars have them at desirable spots that includes two first-round picks and eight Day 3 picks, selections that they should be able to use to add to their collection of Day 2 picks.
Without further adieu, here's a look at how the Jaguars, a team that is just three years removed from an AFC Championship Game appearance, can pull off the perfect draft while getting back into the AFC playoff picture in 2020.
Step 1: Address the trenches early
While they have several needs entering the draft, two of the Jaguars' biggest needs are at offensive and defensive tackle. Jacksonville should use the No. 9 and No. 20 overall picks filling these needs.
Louisville's Mekhi Becton and Georgia's Andrew Thomas would both be great options with the No. 9 overall pick, but any of the top four tackles in the draft, including Jedrick Wills and Tristan Wirfs, would be a big addition to improve the team's blocking up front.
South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw would be the ideal choice at No. 20, though it's unlikely he makes it that far. TCU's Ross Blacklock would be another solid option if the team doesn't want to wait until the second round to address the issue, where they could land someone like Oklahoma's Neville Gallimore.
Step 2: Grab a safety and a receiver on Day 2
The Jaguars should spend the No. 42 overall pick on California safety Ashtyn Davis, the third-best safety prospect in the draft according to CBS Sports. While he has some question marks with regard to his tackling in the box as well as jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage, Davis' impressive speed and athleticism should help him make up for some of his weaknesses early on.
While DJ Chark, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook make up a solid receiving trio, the Jaguars should get Gardner Minshew another receiving threat with the 73rd overall pick. Two possible options here include Penn State's KJ Hamler and Minnesota's Tyler Johnson. A slot receiver who also saw time as a kick returner at Penn State, the 5-foot-9, 176-pound Hamler caught 13 touchdowns while averaging 16.9 yards per catch in two seasons with the Nittany Lions. Johnson, a fellow Big 10 receiver, caught 164 passes for 2,487 yards and 25 touchdowns during his final two seasons with the Golden Gophers. His 38-yard touchdown reception against Hamler's Nittany Lions helped Minnesota pull off a late-season upset over Penn State this past fall.
Step 3: Trade up to grab an edge rusher
With 43 selections in between their third and fourth round picks, the Jaguars should use some of their Day 3 picks in order to trade up into the end of the third round. That should allow them to select one of the best remaining defensive ends in the draft.
In his seven-round mock draft, CBS Sports' R.J. White has the Jaguars sending a pair of fourth round picks to the Raiders in exchange for the 91st pick in the draft. There, White has Jacksonville selecting Utah edge rusher Bradlee Anae, a 2019 consensus All-American who tallied 13 sacks and 14 tackles for loss last season. Anae's presence should help make up for the loss of Calais Campbell, who signed with the Ravens earlier this offseason.
Step 4: Load up on cornerbacks, offensive lineman on Day 3
Instead of using a higher pick on the cornerback position, the Jaguars may be better served addressing this position with multiple picks late in the draft. White has the Jaguars spending the 137th and 140th picks on cornerbacks in Penn State's John Reid and Auburn's Javaris Davis. A three-year starter at Penn State, Reid's 37 passes defensed (30 pass breakups, seven interceptions) ranks 11th in school history. Davis, who left Auburn with eight interceptions and 27 pass break ups, impressed scouts after running a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash during February's NFL combine.
White has the Jaguars spending two of their final three draft picks on the offensive line, a position Jacksonville could use more depth at entering the 2020 season. Specifically, he has the Jaguars selecting North Carolina's Charlie Heck with the 189th pick and Michigan guard Michael Onwenu with the 223rd pick. A three-year starter and a second-team All-ACC performer in 2019, the 6-foot-8, 315-pound Heck didn't allow the quarterback to hit the ground much while contributing to a Tar Heels offense that finished 12th in the nation in yards per game. A two-year starter at Michigan, Onwenu was also a two-time All-Big 10 performer.
The Jaguars should also take a tight end at some point during Day 3. An option here could be Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney, who caught 50 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns during his third season with the Commodores.
Step 5: Draft a running back, not a quarterback
While Jacob Eason, Jalen Hurts and Jake Fromm are among the quarterbacks the Jaguars could select to back up Minshew, the Jaguars have too many other positions to address and would be better served not spending a pick on a player that likely won't contribute in 2020. Besides, the Jaguars can surely find a serviceable backup on the free agent market.
That being said, the Jaguars should spend a Day 3 pick on a running back that can help take the burden off Leonard Fournette. Possible Day 3 running back options for the Jaguars include Appalachian State's Darrynton Evans, Florida's Lamical Perine and Memphis' Antonio Gibson.