Jacksonville Jaguars Rookie Forecast 2024

Brian Thomas Jr. Rookie Forecast

Solid Starter

Maason Smith, DT, LSU – Round 2

The Jaguars liked what they saw out of the LSU defensive line doubling up on defensive tackles with the Tigers. They started off by selecting Smith and he was a high upside selection in the second round. Smith looked like he had star potential early on in his collegiate career. With some development, Smith has the upside to become a quality starter in the NFL.

After being a top recruit, Smith played well as a freshman flashing natural ability to get upfield. As a sophomore, Smith looked like he was poised to become a star but an ACL injury cost him the season. In his junior year Smith flashed some but did not look quite as fast and explosive coming off the injury. That is not uncommon, but Smith improved as the season went along. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder has daunting size with surprising quickness and athleticism in a big body. There is no doubt that Smith has a skill set with a lot of upside.

The Jaguars needed to bolster the interior of the defensive line this offseason and were able to do it by signing veteran Arik Armstead. Armstead will also serve as a good example for Smith and he could learn a lot behind the veteran. After starting out as a rotational player, Smith could grow into a starting role and has the talent to be a solid starter in the NFL.

2022: Brenton Strange, TE
2022: Devin Lloyd, LB
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

Jarrian Jones, CB, Florida State – Round 3

Jones was a bit of a surprise pick in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Other teams had Jones buried on day three of their boards. Taking him in the third round when there were other solid cornerbacks available was a surprise. Jones flashed some physical talent in college, but he lacked consistency and polish. He never played up to ability and needs a lot of development for the NFL. Of the Jaguars early-round picks, he looks like the riskiest selection.

2022: Tyler Lacy, DT
2022: None
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

Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU – Round 1

The Jaguars entered the offseason needing to give quarterback Trevor Lawrence some size at wide receiver with some playmakers on the outside. While Jacksonville may have overpaid for Gabe Davis, they came away with a high upside playmaker in Thomas after trading down in the first round.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Thomas has special ability for the NFL. Big receivers are a dime a dozen, but what sets Thomas apart from a typical big wide out is he can really run. He has explosiveness and elite speed to get vertical. After a quick first step, Thomas has a second gear to accelerate down the field and flat out burn defenses over the top. He can run by double coverage and create separation from defensive backs by beating them in a vertical race downfield. His speed allows him to consistently generate separation from defensive backs as he is very difficult to run with.

Thomas height makes him dangerous to reel in contested catches. He uses his height and length to be a weapon for hauling in contested catches over defensive backs. With his height and ability to win 50-50 passes, Thomas is a nice red zone weapon and a point producer for his offense.

There are issues for Thomas to work on for the NFL and they include route-running, playing tougher, getting more physical with cornerbacks, and cutting down on dropped passes.

Thomas has the talent to be a No. 1 receiver as a pro and he walks into a good situation with a capable quarterback in Lawrence. After some pro coaching, Thomas could be a real boom pick for Jacksonville.

2023: Anton Harrison, OT
2022: Travon Walker, DE
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

Jordan Jefferson, DT, LSU – Round 4

The Jaguars reunited Jefferson with Smith and in the fourth round Jefferson was a good value pick. Jefferson is a strong, big, and physical at the point of attack. He is a natural nose tackle that is tough against the run and difficult to move at the point of attack. As a pro, Jefferson may not offer a lot of interior pass rush. That could lead to him not developing into being a starter, but he looks like a safe selection to be a rotational nose tackle and a solid depth player for Jacksonville.

2023: Tank Bigsby, RB
2022: Chad Muma, LB
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