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Jaguars Focused on Size, Speed and Special Teams on Day 3 of Draft; Observations From the Experts 

042824 Day 3 Observations

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars on Day 3 unsurprisingly kept getting bigger – and they made some serious moves on special teams.

Jaguars Media members senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter/producer Kainani Stevens shared their observations following each day of the 2024 NFL draft.

NFL Draft Day 3 Observations

  • Senior Writer John Oehser: The Jaguars finished the draft as they spent most of it, focusing on getting bigger and stronger and faster – and mostly staying put to do so. The Jaguars made one trade in the '24 draft, sending No. 17 overall to the Minnesota Vikings for No. 23, also receiving No. 167 in this draft and a third- and fourth-rounder in '25. They used No. 167 Saturday on Texas running back Keilan Robinson, who figures to play a key role as a kickoff returner. Why no late trades? This was considered a "shallow" draft past Round 5ish, with teams reluctant to trade early mid-round selections for late rounders. The Jaguars therefore remained workmanlike throughout the weekend, focusing on getting bigger with defensive lineman Maason Smith (Round 2), defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson (Round 4) and offensive tackle Javon Foster (Round 4). They also addressed special teams in a big way with Robinson, sixth-round kicker Cam Little and fifth-round corner De'Antre Prince. Keys to the draft could be Round 1 receiver Brian Thomas Jr. and third-round corner Jarrian Jones, with the former adding a big-play element offensively and the latter filling a position many considered the team's biggest pre-draft need.
  • Senior Correspondent Brian Sexton: General Manager Trent Baalke made "size, strength and speed" his calling cards when discussing preparing for the '24 season. The Jaguars during the draft added size and speed with Thomas, then added size and length with Smith. Thomas blends a six-foot three-inch frame with long arms, huge hands and elite speed and playmaking ability. If he's as good as expected – and LSU offensive coordinator Cortez Hankton told me he is as gifted as any receiver he ever has coached – this was a prescient pick. Smith might be lightning in a bottle. He has the same measurables and athletic ability as All-Pro tackles Chris Jones and Jeffrey Simmons. He's huge, with really long arms, and has the mental approach and work ethic to reach his potential. He could be a steal if he is healthy and ready to work. The Jaguars kept after the big guys with Foster, Jefferson and Round 7 defensive end Myles Cole; all bring size, length and strength to the trenches. Foster and Jefferson could help the Jaguars be better running than they were in 2023 – and more consistent stopping the run, which cost them dearly late last season. Jones and Prince both posted 4.38-second 40-yard dash times at the Scouting Combine, and both are press man corners – the style favored by new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen – and both corners can contribute immediately on coverage units for special teams. Robinson's primary job at the University of Texas was as a returner, so the addition makes sense considering the NFL's new kickoff rules. Little is believed to be a kicker who can take advantage of the new rules with his ball placement abilities and who has the leg strength to connect from as far away as 60 yards. At 20 years old, he's young and could grow into a long-term solution at kicker.
  • Team Reporter & Producer Kainani Stevens: The final rounds of the draft featured some long-shot prospects while also adding depth to defense and special teams. Jefferson will be another big body for Nielsen to work with and Jefferson's mean streak should give some edge to the group. Robinson will likely compete to be a contributor on special teams. I'm most intrigued by Little, who is just 20. The experience in the SEC has given Little the confidence needed to compete for the starting job in training camp.
  • Senior Reporter J.P. Shadrick: The Jaguars went for depth in the final day, while picking a few key players that could play roles on special teams. The pick of Robinson is big due to the rule change on kickoff returns, and with two returners needed, he should be in that competition. Little was consistent in his field goals at Arkansas, but should be a key for the new kickoff rules as well, as the kicks need to land in certain areas between the 20-yard line and the goal line, and accuracy is key. I love the additions of Foster on the offensive line and Jefferson on the defensive line, both adding depth and competition in the trenches. You can rarely go wrong with big, athletic linemen on both sides of the ball, as there are only a limited number of people that have the size and strength to play in the trenches in the NFL.

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