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That's a Wrap: National Media and Analysts Grade the Jaguars 2024 NFL Draft

0429 Draft Grades Article

JACKSONVILLE – The picks are in.

With the 2024 NFL Draft in the rear view, let's examine how analysts viewed the Jaguars' third draft with Head Coach Doug Pederson and fourth with Trent Baalke as general manager. The nine-member Jaguars '23 draft class:

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

The Jaguars executed one trade over the three-day draft, sending the No. 17 overall selection to the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 23 (Thomas) and 167 (Robinson) selections – and third- and fourth-round selections in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Here's a look at how analysts saw the Jaguars' class:

  • Chad Reuter, NFL Media (Overall): A. Trading down for three picks (including two mid-rounders in 2025) and still landing a downfield target like Thomas was a win for the Jaguars," Reuter wrote.
  • Reuter, NFL Media (Round 1): A. "They may have selected Thomas at No. 17 if they stayed. Along with using his speed and length to separate downfield, he can also adjust to underthrown balls," Reuter wrote.
  • Rob Rang, Fox Sports (Round 1): A. I love this selection for the Jaguars, especially after trading down. It isn't often that a receiver leads the nation in touchdown receptions and remains nationally underrated, but that might be the case with Thomas," Rang wrote.
  • Ben Arthur, FOX Sports: A-. "Only time will tell, but the Jaguars had a great draft on paper. They were able to trade down in the first round from 17 to 23 to get Brian Thomas Jr., whom general manager Trent Baalke said would've been the pick at 17. He had been valued by many as a mid-first-round pick. Jacksonville also leaves the draft with tremendous depth and on the defensive line behind standout trio Josh Allen, Travon Walker and Arik Armstead," Arthur wrote.
  • Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: B. "I have been critical of Trent Baalke's drafts in the past, but this was a good one. First-round receiver Brian Thomas Jr. gives them a game-changer on offense that they've lacked, while Smith can be a beast up front. Trading down and adding picks in this draft and next year's draft was a smart move by Baalke," Prisco wrote.
  • Chad Reuter, NFL Media (Day 2): B. Jacksonville found an athletic big-bodied defensive lineman in Smith in the second round; he should complement free-agent addition Arik Armstead quite nicely. The Jags then addressed their need at corner late in Round 3 with Jones, a leader on the field who has good feet and challenges receivers with physicality," Reuter wrote.
  • Pro Football Focus: B. "Thomas' calling card is his explosive speed and ability to win vertically. He led the nation in 2023 with a 99.9 PFF deep receiving grade and 12 deep receiving touchdowns. He'll instantly threaten safeties vertically, and if he improves his route running, he has WR1 potential," PFF wrote.
  • Associated Press: B. "Traded down to No. 23 and got a player many projected they'd take at 17 in WR Brian Thomas Jr. Filled defensive needs with DL Maason Smith (48) and S Jarrian Jones (96)," AP wrote.
  • Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: B-. "After Thomas Jr. in Round 1, which happened after a trade back, I liked but didn't love what the Jaguars did. Smith has immense upside but never quite put it together at LSU, and Jones was one of the better nickel corners in the class. Foster has girth to play with power consistently," Trapasso wrote.
  • Bleacher Report: B-. "The Jacksonville Jaguars desperately needed to upgrade their receiving corps after losing [wide receiver] Calvin Ridley in free agency. LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. might not be a finished product, but he's an explosive playmaker with the size (6-feet-3, 209 pounds and speed to become a future No. 1 target," Bleacher Report wrote.
  • Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: B-. "Baalke threw a few late picks at his cornerback room, but I'm not sure that's enough for a team with questions there. I do like Thomas, though, and his contract is certainly much cheaper than [wide receiver Calvin] Ridley's," Kiper wrote.
  • Danny Kelly, The Ringer: C+. The Jaguars' draft is built on a whole lot of upside. After trading back in the first round, Jacksonville grabbed a scintillating playmaker in LSU receiver Brian Thomas Jr., who brings sizzling speed but is still developing his skills as a route-runner," Kelly wrote.
  • Nate Davis, USA Today: C. "Trading down in Round 1, for a pair of mid-round picks next year, and still getting LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr. is solid use of the board; third-round CB Jarrian Jones could be a heist, and it's probably a win if one of the LSU DTs, Maason Smith (Round 2) and Jordan Jefferson (Round 4), hits," Davis wrote.
  • Matt Verderame, SI: C. "Down the board, Jacksonville did add defensive help, but is it enough? The Jaguars are betting on mid- to late-round talent to shine through early on that side of the ball," Verderame wrote.
  • Charles McDonald, Yahoo Sports: C. "Thomas has the ability to be a star deep threat in the NFL. He has the tools — size, speed, tracking ability — to scare defenses if he develops well," McDonald wrote.

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