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NFL Analyst Bucky Brooks Pleased With the Jaguars 2024 Draft Class

0501 Bucky on Draft Class

JACKSONVILLE – They had objectives, and they overall reached those goals.

Bucky Brooks said that was Takeaway No. 1 when it came to the Jaguars and the 2024 NFL Draft – and he said that made this past weekend productive for the Jaguars.

"I thought it was a good draft," he said.

Brooks, Jaguars Media analyst and longtime NFL Media Draft analyst, spoke to senior writer John Oehser this week – just after a draft in which the Jaguars selected nine players in seven rounds, including Louisiana State wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. in Round 1.

"The theme of the draft was bigger, longer, stronger, more physical," Brooks said. "If you look up and down the draft board, everybody they brought in kind checked off the box when it came to that part – particularly the players at the line of scrimmage."

The Jaguars, after entering the draft with eight selections, selected nine players overall:

  • Round 1, No. 23 overall: Thomas.
  • Round 2, No. 48 overall: Maason Smith, defensive tackle, Louisiana State.
  • Round 3, No. 96 overall: Jarrian Jones, cornerback, Florida State.
  • Round 4, No. 114 overall: Javon Foster, offensive lineman, Missouri.
  • Round 4, No. 116 overall: Jordan Jefferson, defensive tackle, Louisiana State.
  • Round 5, No. 153 overall: Deantre Prince, cornerback, Mississippi.
  • Round 5, No. 167 overall: Keilan Robinson, running back, Texas.
  • Round 6, No. 212 overall: Cam Little, kicker, Arkansas.
  • Round 7, No. 236 overall: Myles Cole, edge, Texas Tech.

"I'm impressed with the people that came in," Brooks said. "There are clear paths for every player brought in in terms of how to get on the field and how to get a jersey on game day. I don't feel like there are the long-term projects that might have been in previous classes.

"These guys are not necessarily ready-made plug and play. But it's easier to see these guys getting onto the field and getting into the rotation."

Brooks said both cornerbacks, Prince and Jones, have an opportunity to contribute quickly with Jones likely to compete at nickel corner.

"He gives the Jaguars flexibility to utilize a few different variations of the nickel package," Brooks said. "Last year's slot defender, Antonio Johnson, can be the big nickel when they go three safeties with [Andre] Cisco, Dewey (Andre Wingard). Jones can come in when they need little nickel to match up against shifty wide receivers."

The Jaguars, after entering the draft with the No. 17 selection in Round 1, traded that selection to the Minnesota Vikings for No. 23. They also received No. 167 (Robinson) and two 2025 selections – a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder.

"The manipulation of the board in the first round was good because you still were able to land the guy that you wanted," Brooks said. "You got some more capital that you could use for future considerations. So that stuff is good."

The Jaguars did not trade after Round 1, selecting linemen – Smith and Jefferson on defense, Foster on offense – with three of their next four selections.

"The linemen coming in fortify the front line," Brooks said. "They make you a much tougher team and they give you a chance to kind of impose your will on the opponent. I think they now are in a better position to compete with the top teams in the division, whether it's a physical running game or if they have to rush the passer."

The Jaguars earlier this offseason signed 10-year veteran Arik Armstead as a free agent from the San Francisco 49ers.

"They're tough, they're physical, they have more size at the point of attack," Brooks said. "When you look at all those guys, particularly the two guys from LSU, they're very physical at the point of attack. That's everything that you want.

"Will they be double-digit sack people from the inside? I don't know, but they're very strong and stout against the run."

Thomas joins a veteran receiver corps that includes Christian Kirk and Gabe Davis along with tight end Evan Engram. An early-entry junior, he was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and a third-team All-America selection in 2023.

He led FBS in 2023 with 17 touchdown receptions, scoring in 10 of 13 games and catching 68 passes for 1,177 yards.

"He's very much a vertical playmaker, a guy that does all the clear out work for guys underneath," Brooks said of Thomas. "He's a perfect complement to what they already have established. If you think about Evan Engram and Christian Kirk being the leaders of the passing game, it allows Gabe Davis and Brian Thomas Jr. to be the vertical guys, the guys that take the top off the defense, the guys that create space.

"Engram and Kirk can work underneath and they also have the big-play ability to kind of bring the deep ball into the playmaking mix. He's in a good spot. He can like thrive in the role initially and if he shows that he can do more, great. If not, there's still a way that he can contribute for a long time playing in that role."

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