Jacksonville Jaguars Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky – Round 1
I think the Jaguars have the potential for two boom picks between Allen and Jawaan Taylor, but of the two, Taylor actually has a more unique skill set for the NFL, so I went with him in a gutsy projection. Allen should be a plug-and-play starter who immediately helps the Jaguars to live up to the ‘Sacksonville’ nickname.

Allen (6-4, 262) was one of the best players in college football, leading Kentucky to a 10-win season. In 2018, Allen had 88 tackles with 21.5 tackles for a loss, 17 sacks, five forced fumbles and four passes batted. Prior to dominating Vanderbilt and South Carolina, the senior was phenomenal in leading Kentucky to upsets over Florida and Mississippi State. He came up with some massive plays to lead a comeback over Missouri as well. Allen ate up the SEC offensive tackles and provided a plethora of game-changing plays in crunch time to get the Wildcats wins they otherwise would have fallen short on. It was a season of sheer domination.

In the passing-driven NFL, edge defenders who can get after the quarterback are always in demand. With his speed, athleticism, size, strength and length, Allen has the potential to be an impactful edge defender with double-digit sack potential as a pro. He also is a good run defender who is capable of contributing in pass coverage. Allen is a do-it-all edge defender who could be a defensive franchise player to build a pro defense around.

Allen is an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker with his ability to rush the passer and drop into coverage. In the pass rush, the first thing that stands out about Allen is that he is a dangerous edge rusher with natural feel and a nose for the quarterback. He is very fast off the edge with a quick first-step and serious speed to run the loop around the corner. He has a nice ability to bend and quick feet to cut around blockers. Offensive tackles can really struggle to get their hands on him and lock him up. In the pass rush, Allen has somewhat speed-based set of moves. He uses a spin move, speed around the corner, some speed to power, and rushes to the inside. He also has the versatility to put his hand on the ground, stand up over the tackle, or blitz up the middle. On top of getting to the quarterback, Allen gets a lot of pressures while creating sacks for his teammates.

In pass coverage, Allen showed serious improvement as a senior, with his pass breakups being huge plays to lead Kentucky to a road upset over Florida. Allen shows a nice ability to function in space, quality instincts, and fluid athleticism to cover. Allen has the skill set to cover with good speed, athleticism and length. In time, he could end up being an asset to help cover receiving tight ends and backs out of the backfield.

Allen is a solid defender in the ground game as well. He has good instincts, reads his keys well, and consistently is around the ball. Allen uses his speed to chase down backs and flows quickly to the ball. He is fast to the perimeter and is a good tackler in space. For the NFL, Allen could stand to get better at taking on blocks from offensive linemen, but he was stronger and showed improvement in this regard as a senior. He can get covered up and pushed back on runs coming straight downhill at him.

Allen went to a great situation as well. With Yannick Ngakoue on the other side of Allen, it will be hard to double team both of them. Additionally, Calais Campbell and Taven Bryan are interior rushers who will make it harder to send double teams to the edge. Allen is a safe bet to be a solid starter and could easily become a Pro Bowler quickly in his NFL career.

2018: Ronnie Harrison, S
2017: Cam Robinson, OT
2016: Sheldon Day, DT
2015: Dante Fowler, DE
2014: Allen Robinson, WR
2013: Luke Joeckel, LT

Most Likely To Bust

Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State – Round 3
The Jaguars was very thin at the tight end position entering the 2019 NFL Draft, but they addressed the need by selecting Oliver in the third round. Oliver was a worthy mid-round pick as he can provide some contributions in the passing game. As a senior, he recorded 56 receptions for 709 yards and four touchdowns before having a respectable showing at the Senior Bowl.

I don’t think that Oliver was a bad pick for the Jaguars, but I’m not convinced that he is a safe pick to pan out in the NFL. He does not possess a special skill set that projects to be a dynamic receiving tight end. He could struggle to make the jump in the increased competition with faster defenders who make it harder to separate. Of Jacksonville’s early-round picks, Oliver seems like he has the most bust potential.

2018: D.J. Chark, WR
2017: DeDe Westbrook, WR
2016: Jalen Ramsey, DB
2015: A.J. Cann, G
2014: Blake Bortles, QB
2013: Denard Robinson, RB

Potential Boom Pick

Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida – Round 2
Adding a right tackle was a big need for the Jaguars entering the draft, and they landed, in the second round, what many teams thought was the best offensive line prospect. Taylor only slipped to the second night because of concerns about a knee injury that arose late in the draft process. Prior to that injury, many felt that Taylor would go in the first roundm and it was common to see him projected to Jacksonville in the top 10. Landing Taylor in the second round was a steal, and he could be a boom pick for Jacksonville.

As a pass blocker, Taylor has a lot of unique qualities. Despite being such a large offensive lineman, he is a really good athlete who has speed and shows the ability to bend at the knee. He has quick feet that he uses to mirror speed rushers. His strength and length allow him to sustain blocks well to keep edge defenders from turning the corner. With his weight and strength, Taylor is able to anchor and hold up against bull rushes. While he played at right tackle for Florida, Taylor has the feet and athleticism to play on the left side if his NFL team wants to put him there.

In the ground game, Taylor has the potential to be a road grader. He is strong with a thick frame. There are times when you would see Taylor knock defenders off the ball and open up gaps for his back. He can generate movement in the ground game to supply some excellent lanes for his backs. Aside from being able to play power man, Taylor is quick to the second level and packs a punch when he gets there. Taylor shows nice awareness to hit combo blocks on defensive linemen and linebackers. With his athleticism and quickness, Taylor could be a fit in a zone-blocking scheme as well.

Jacksonville had an excellent draft, coming away with two players who have true top-10 talent. Taylor could be a force for the Jaguars at right tackle during his NFL career, and he has the skill set to move to left tackle after some grooming. He has the talent to be one of the top right tackles in the NFL, and if that pans out, he would be a boom pick for the Jaguars.

2018: Taven Bryan, DT
2017: Leonard Fournette, RB
2016: Myles Jack, LB
2015: T.J. Yeldon, RB
2014: Marqise Lee, WR
2013: Jonathan Cyprien, S

Future Depth Player

Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple – Round 5
The Jaguars should be set for many years with Leonard Fournette as their starting running back, but after losing T.J. Yeldon in free agency, they could use some depth behind Fournette in case he gets injured again. Armstead could be a solid backup running back. In 2018, he ran for 13 touchdowns with 1,042 yards. Armstead could have the ability to contribute as a runner who lightens the load on Fournette and also could be a good candidate to be a special teams contributor. Armstead (5-11, 220) really helped himself with a fast 40 time at the combine of 4.45 seconds to go along with showing off good size. Armstead may never be the feature back in Jacksonville, but he could be a quality depth player for the Jaguars.

2018: Will Richardson, OT
2017: Dawuane Smoot, DE
2016: Brandon Allen, QB
2015: Michael Bennett, DT
2014: Chris Smith, LB
2013: Ace Sanders, WR

Walt’s 2019 NFL Draft Grades:

7. Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky A+ Grade
Josh Allen could have been the third-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft with no criticism. He probably should’ve been the fourth-overall choice with Quinnen Williams off the board. Yet, the Jaguars obtained an absolute steal with Allen. I wondered if Jacksonville would choose Jonah Williams over Allen, whom I had sliding in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft, as the Jaguars have to protect Nick Foles. However, you can’t pass on a blue-chip prospect like Allen. He’ll take their defense, which declined a bit in 2018, to another level.

35. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida B Grade
I’m sure many publications will give this an “A” grade because of the perceived extreme value. However, I was told that Jawaan Taylor would be chosen in the 20s or later because of his knee problems and some off-the-field concerns. Still, it’s a nice time to take a gamble on Taylor because if he pans out, he’ll be an excellent protector for Nick Foles. The Jaguars had to address their offensive line, and it could be argued that Taylor is the best player available. He comes with considerable risk, however.

69. Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State B+ Grade
The Jaguars needed an upgrade at tight end, and they managed to find a good player at the position. Oliver is very athletic, and he also has earned high-character marks. He’ll try his hardest for his new team, serving as a reliable weapon for Nick Foles. Oliver doesn’t block well at all, but that won’t matter much, given what his role will be in Jacksonville.

Umm… who!? Quincy Williams was not rated in my top-500 players. I don’t feel bad for not knowing him, as the NFL Network analysts were befuddled as well. This is such an awful pick that I’m beginning to think that the Jaguars wrote down the wrong name on their card.

140. Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple B Grade
The Jaguars needed a viable backup behind Leonard Fournette, given Fournette’s injuries last year and Carlos Hyde’s struggles. Ryquell Armstead is a tough runner with limited upside, but he can pass protect well, making him a possible third-down back in the pros.

178. Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State D Grade
This seems to be a wasted pick, as I can’t see a Mike Leach pure system quarterback panning out in the NFL. Gardner Minshew was the worst signal-caller at the Senior Bowl, and I wrote back in January that it would take a “miracle” for him to be drafted. Well, ladies and gentlemen, someone may as well have walked on water because we just experienced a miracle!

235. Dontavius Russell, DT, Auburn B+ Grade
Dontavius Russell was highly recruited out of high school, but never lived up to his potential. He can plug the run well, but offers nothing as a pass rusher. He’s a limited athlete, but has a chance to develop into a two-down run plugger. He’s a solid choice as a potential role player, which is what you want from a seventh-round pick.

2019 NFL Draft Team Grade: A- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

Jacksonville Jaguars Season Preview

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 12

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 9

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12