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NFL Draft '22: No. 1 overall "a work in progress…"

April 22_Coach Trent PreDraft

JACKSONVILLE – A final decision has not been made.

With six days remaining until the 2022 NFL Draft, General Manager Trent Baalke on Friday afternoon said the Jaguars have not yet determined who they will select No. 1 overall.

"That's still a work in progress," Baalke said.

Baalke, who spoke to local media at the Jaguars' annual pre-draft luncheon, said the team is considering four players at No. 1.

"The pick doesn't have to be made today, so there's no sense in forcing it right now," Baalke said. "We still have several meetings to go through, a lot of discussion between the coaching staff and the personnel staff. We're continuing to dig up and do research on these guys.

"We've got plenty of time. We're ahead of last year's schedule in terms of preparation. We've worked hard to get there. The decision doesn't have to be made right now, so why make it?"

Baalke appeared at the availability with Doug Pederson, who discussed the importance of immediate impact at No. 1 overall in his first draft since becoming the Jaguars' head coach in early February.

"You better be right," Pederson said. "That person is going to come in and start. That's why you pick him first overall."

Baalke, entering his second draft as the Jaguars' general manager, said much of the pre-draft work is complete.

"We're in a good place," Baalke said. "The offensive and defensive staff has met with the personnel staff the last two days. We feel good about where we're at."

Baalke added with a smile, "We'll probably get away from it for the weekend and come back to it Monday and see if someone moved any cards around."

Baalke declined to name the four players being considered at No. 1, with many analysts speculating in recent weeks the Jaguars are considering Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson, Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker, Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal and North Carolina State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu there.

"There's so much that goes into these decisions," Baalke said. "It's not just the film. It's all the other things that go into the guy having success or not having success. Most of the time they don't fail because they're not physically gifted; they fail for other reasons.

"Making sure that we've done all of our due diligence in those areas is critical to the decision-making process."

Discussing Hutchinson and Walker specifically, Baalke said: "They're both productive in their way. [They played in] totally different schemes and were used differently in those schemes. You're looking at how they made their plays, how they were used and then you have a vision for how you can use them.

"All of that plays a part. Traits are important. Production is important. You weigh it all."

Baalke, who said the team had not received calls from teams interested in trading for the selection, said the team has removed an estimated 20-to-30 players from consideration and that the draft board is "95-to-97 percent" complete.

"We've got players valued in every round that we feel good about," Baalke said. "You have to have a little luck for the draft to fall the way you want it to fall. You also have to put the right players in the right position and value them correctly. We're in a good place.

"We've got one more major meeting we've got to go through that could bump some guys up or move some guys down, but for the most part the board is set."


Baalke said the team continues to seek a long-term deal with left tackle Cam Robinson, who is scheduled to play 2022 on a one-year contract under the franchise tag. "We're continuing to work and have had some great discussions with Cam and his agent," Baalke said. "I think that's moving in the right direction. We're going to continue to move down that road and see what we can get done." Baalke said Robinson's situation won't impact the No. 1 selection. "We're looking at who can help this football team the most," he said. "Some people have said we've got Cam tagged so we're not looking at the tackle position. I wouldn't go down that road. Right now, everybody's fair game as far as this draft is concerned – and every position."


Baalke: "We worry about our board and how we have players valued. I really don't pay much attention to what other people are thinking or saying, because you don't know what's fact or faction. It's a unique period that there are a lot of guys who are valued very similarly. The quarterback position is what it is this year. It will be interesting how the Top 10 play out when it's all said and done."

View all Jaguars Draft news here.

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