Jacksonville Jaguars Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah – Round 1
The Jaguars cut veteran Myles Jack in the offseason, creating a huge void in their defense. Not only was Jack the team’s top linebacker, he also the leader on that side of the ball. With Devin Lloyd, the Jaguars were able to land a top talent at linebacker while also filling the vacuum with a new leader for their defense.

Lloyd (6-3, 235) does everything well, and there isn’t a serious weakness in his game. He goes sideline-to-sideline in run defense, relying on his quickness to track down whoever has the rock. Lloyd has good instincts and is adept at reading his keys to explode through the scrum to take down ball-carriers. Lloyd is also big enough to defend against downhill runs coming straight at him. In terms of getting off blocks, Lloyd has potential because he is a physical defender who does not shy away from taking on blockers.

In pass coverage, Lloyd is almost ideal for today’s NFL. While he has some stiffness that can be seen when he drops into coverage, Lloyd compensates with instincts and speed. As a professional, he could contribute to help defend tight ends in man-to-man coverage. Lloyd has good height and length to match up on tight ends and the speed to get down the seam. He was very good in coverage for Utah last season. For running backs out of the backfield, Lloyd is also able to cover them. Lloyd is also skilled at picking up receivers coming into his area in zone coverage and can keep them from getting open. He also flashed as a blitzer for the Utes when given the opportunity to rush the passer. Lloyd should be a true three-down defender in the NFL.

The Jaguars signed veteran Foye Oluokun in free agency, and that should allow Lloyd to play Will – weak side – linebacker. Lloyd could start immediately and quickly become a solid starter for the Jaguars.

2021: Travis Etienne, RB
2020: K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB
2019: Josh Allen, LB
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

It feels odd to project that Jaguars do not have a pick that is most likely to bust, but of their four early-round picks, they all look safe to at least be solid pros. Travon Walker should be a quality starter even if he does not become a prolific sack artist. Devin Lloyd could easily turn into a Pro Bowl linebacker. Third-round center Luke Fortner is a very safe pick to become a solid starting interior blocker, while fellow third-round pick Chad Muma should at least be a good backup rotational linebacker, if not a quality starter. None of Jacksonville’s early-round picks looks like they have huge bust potential, and this is an example of the advantage that a team has whendrafting high in each round.

2021: Walker Little, OT
2020: Laviska Shenault, WR
2019: Josh Oliver, TE
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

Travon Walker, DE, Georgia – Round 1
Walker was a steady riser during the draft process and ended up rising all the way to the top of the first round. The Jaguars needed a disruptor and difference maker on their defensive line to go with Josh Allen, and Walker’s immense upside led to them making him the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Walker has the freakish speed, athleticism, and excellent character to be a boom pick for Jacksonville.

Walker is a versatile and capable pass rusher. He has surprising speed, athleticism, agility, and explosion for a thick-bodied defensive lineman. Walker shows explosives in his burst to close when he gets free. With natural power, Walker can bull rush through tackles or guards, rolling them back to the quarterback. Walker also has quality vision, recognition, and ability to adjust to quarterbacks.

While Walker won’t do much dropping into coverage in the NFL, he did look good doing it when Georgia asked him to. including making a tremendous diving tipped pass that led to a critical interception in the Bulldogs’ win over Florida last season. Walker looks surprisingly fluid and natural in space for a massive body.

As a run defender, Walker is very strong and physical at the point of attack. He uses his strength and length to take on blocks while being very reliable to hold his gap. There is no doubt Walker has developed strength because he is adept at shedding blocks to flow to the ball for stops or disruption. Walker gives superb effort in both phases and always is moving toward the ball. Immediately in the NFL, Walker will be a plus run defender as a defensive end.

Here were the thoughts of an area scout on Walker, “He is one of my favorites. He’s completely untapped, and he can play anywhere on the defensive line in any scheme. He’s my favorite of this defensive line class. He’s already a very good player, relentless, and still has huge upside. Walker can drop 10 pounds and be Cam Jordan, or gain 15 pounds and play DeForest Buckner.”

There is no doubt the Jaguars needed a big-time player on their line to go with Allen. They could have played the safe route by selecting Aidan Hutchinson, but Jacksonville decided to try and land a grand slam in Walker. Time will tell, but Walker definitely has boom pick potential for the Jaguars.

2021: Trevor Lawrence, QB
2020: C.J. Henderson, CB
2019: Jawaan Taylor, OT
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

Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming – Round 3
After giving Foye Oluokun a massive contract and then trading back into the first round for Lloyd, the Jaguars did not need to select another linebacker in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, but Muma was a solid third-round value to be on the field in three-linebacker sets and provide starting-caliber depth behind Oluokun and Lloyd. Muma is an instinctive defender who was a tackling machine for Wyoming in 2021. As a pro, he should at least be a good backup and core special teams player, but he could easily develop into being a solid starter.

2021: Luke Farrell, TE
2020: DaVon Hamilton, DT
2019: Ryquell Armstead, RB
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 2022 NFL Draft Grades:

1. Travon Walker, DE, Jaguars – B+ Grade
Jaguar fans will ask, “Is there anything the Jags could’ve done to get an ‘A’ grade?” The answer is trading down, but that wasn’t a possibility because teams weren’t interested in moving up in this mediocre draft class. So, no. But I was thrilled to get a B+ when I was in school, so this grade is perfectly fine. I like that the Jaguars chose the upside in Walker over the safety in Aidan Hutchinson. Walker has a much lower floor, but you don’t win Super Bowls by being safe.

27. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah – A Grade
Devin Lloyd could have gone 10 picks earlier than this without any complaints, so I like Jacksonville’s decision to move up a few spots to obtain him. Lloyd is a terrific linebacker who is very versatile. He’s a good player, and the Jaguars don’t have many of those on their defense.

65. Luke Fortner, G/C, Kentucky – A- Grade
The Jaguars finally found some help for Trevor Lawrence. It took a while, but better late than never. Jacksonville wanted Tyler Linderbaum at No. 33, but they’ll definitely settle for the versatile Luke Fortner, who should be able to replace the retired Brandon Linder at center.

70. Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming – C Grade
I like the player, but hate the fit. The Jaguars spent tons of money on linebacker in free agency and then traded up for Devin Lloyd. Why would they draft another linebacker? This seems so redundant. Again, I like Muma, but there were many greater needs.

154. Snoop Conner, RB, Ole Miss – D Grade
What are the Jaguars doing? Why did they move up from the sixth to the fifth round to take a power runner they could’ve drafted in the sixth round? Stupid.

197. Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita – B Grade
Gregory Junior was very productive at Ouachita, but he’ll face much tougher competition in the NFL, obviously. This is the right range to pick him though, so it’s a solid pick for a Jaguar team that needed cornerback help.

222. Montaric Brown, CB, Arkansas – B Grade
Montaric Brown was always on the cusp of making the final round of my 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but never got in, unfortunately. The good news for him is that he was drafted. He was productive at Arkansas, so perhaps he can give the Jaguars some needed depth at corner.

2022 NFL Draft Team Grade: C-. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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