JACKSONVILLE – Five down, five to go.
That's where the Jaguars stand after two days of the 2021 NFL Draft – and on Day 2 Friday, a few themes were clear.
1) Secondary really was an offseason priority.
2) The Jaguars will take some chances.
3) Tight end remains an issue.
The Jaguars on Friday selected Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell No. 33 overall, Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little (No. 45) and Syracuse safety Andre Cisco (No. 65). They now have used five of 10 '21 selections, with Campbell/Cisco addressing one of Head Coach Urban Meyer's offseason priorities – improving a secondary that often struggled last season.
"That was an area of need," Meyer said Friday.
Meyer said Campbell should allow the Jaguars to effectively play more man-to-man coverage, with Campbell capable of playing as a nickel with second-year veteran CJ Henderson and fifth-year veteran Shaquill Griffin outside.
"You need more than two," Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke said of the cornerback position. "With as many four and five wides as you're seeing in today's game, you need guys that can cover. The whole goal was to do a good job of increasing our ability on the back end on the defense and I think we've done that."
Henderson was the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft and the Jaguars signed Griffin as an unrestricted free agent last month, and Meyer said Campbell's flexibility was critical to the selection.
"He didn't play a lot inside for Georgia, but he was a safety in high school," Meyer said. "We love that guy on film. You've got to get your best players on the field and if we can hold up, we're going to play much more man coverage.
"That hurt the Jaguars last year. We didn't play well on the back end of our defense."
Baalke and Meyer both noted the size and speed of the three corners – Henderson (6-feet-1), Griffin (6-0) and Campbell (6-2) – with Baalke saying, "You have six-foot, six-foot, six-foot plus across the board. That's what you're looking for: height, length and speed."
A second theme could be seen in the day's second two selections, with Little and Cisco entering the NFL after periods of inactivity – for different reasons.
Little, considered the nation's top offensive tackle in his senior year of high school, played just 14 games at Stanford. He missed all but one game in 2019 after a Week 1 season-ending knee injury, then opted out of the 2020 season when COVID-19 disrupted Stanford's season.
"He's just a guy that's going to have to get in here and go to work in the weight room, on the field, technique – all those things that you lose when you're not out on the field," Baalke said. "He's going to start from a little bit behind the eight ball. It's our job to get him up to speed as quickly as we can and [we're] very confident we can do that."
Cisco, considered college football's top safety by Lindy's entering the 2020 season, sustained a season-ending knee injury after starting two games this past season. Meyer called Cisco the player with the "best ball skills in the back end in the draft" and a "value pick."
Meyer called the decision to select the two players under the circumstances "very hard."
"I needed help with that, to be quite honest," Meyer said. "We had to do as much intel as we could, but if you look at sheer talent … The good thing is we have great connections with Cisco and we had great connections with Stanford and Walker Little."
Baalke said, "There's risk reward in what we do, and you have to vet it. You have to do the best job you can, which if you shy away from it, you lose a lot of options on draft day."
The final theme was about what hadn't happened in the first two days of the draft. With the Jaguars selecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall and running back Travis Etienne No. 25 overall Thursday, the first five selections passed without the team selecting tight end.
"We're still looking around," Meyer said, adding that he had asked Baalke before the draft about the possibility of acquiring University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts – who was selected No. 4 overall by the Atlanta Falcons.
"I said, 'how do we get him?''' Meyer said of Pitts. "Trent looked at me like I had five heads. You'd have to mortgage your future for that. But that's one we have not addressed yet. There are some conversations going on right now about how to try to find a tight end."
Asked about acquiring a tight end before the end of the draft, Baalke said, "I hate to even speculate on it. We're always looking. You're always looking at every avenue you can to improve the football team. You have the draft, you have trades, you have free agency, you have cut downs. There's a lot of different ways and we're monitoring every situation we can to see if we can improve the football team.
"We like where we're at. There are still players on the board we like at the tight end position and at other positions, so we'll figure it out. You can't fill every position with one pick. It's a process, so we just have to go through a process and let it materialize."