JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars/NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks examine the Jaguars over three days of the 2022 NFL Draft …
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer
- Breaking Down Round 1. The Jaguars went with a combination of need and value in Round 1, sticking to the draft board and Harrison No. 27 overall. They made the selection after trading down one spot with the New York Giants and two more spots with the Buffalo Bills, but Harrison was the target throughout those moves. This move has been described by some as an immediate need selection because Robinson reportedly will begin the 2023 regular season on suspension – and Harrison indeed likely will start at right tackle early next season with Walker Little on the left side. But this selection was about more than a month or so in the 2023 regular season. This was about continuing to invest in the offensive line, something you must do sometimes even when you have starters in the building.
- Favorite Pick: This is close, but give me the Day 2 selections Strange and Bigsby. Many observers wondered about the selections and described them as backups. But the modern NFL is not about 11 players on both sides of the ball. You need 15-to-16 players, and that means more than one tight end and more than one running back. Remember? When Pederson coached the Philadelphia Eagles to a victory in the Super Bowl following the 2017 season? The Eagles were a backfield-by-committee offense and used multiple tight ends. Strange and Bigsby gives this offense versatility and depth. Remember, too: This offense last season didn't have a go-to running option after running back Travis Etienne Jr. last season. Bigsby gives the Jaguars that – and an element of power, too.
- Overall Assessment: This draft has been criticized by some for lack of flash. That's to be expected. When you select offensive line in Round 1 and your next selection is outside the Top 50, it's tough to be flashy. But contending teams that build for the long haul don't always dazzle in the draft. Sometimes drafts are about adding long-term, necessary pieces – and this draft had that feel. Day 3 was largely about depth, particularly along the defensive front seven, and it was about finding good football players who can play special teams. Entering the 2022 regular season, a major storyline was concern over depth. This past weekend was the sort of draft that can end those concerns.
Bucky Brooks, NFL Media Analyst
- Breaking Down Round 1: The Jaguars entered the 2023 NFL Draft without a pressing need that required a blockbuster trade to work their way up the board. Without the pressure to chase a position, the team could wait for the "BPA" (best player available) that suited the team's scheme and culture. Anton Harrison flew under the radar as a potential first-round selection, but he was rated as one of the Top 5 offensive tackles on my board, and scouts raved about his upside and potential in our discussions. The Oklahoma product possesses A-plus size and length while also displaying impressive balance, body control and movement skills. Although his technique needs a little polish, Harrison has the potential to develop into a long-term starter early in his career. Given the impending suspension to Jaguars starting left tackle Cam Robinson due to a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, Harrison will spend the summer on an accelerated development plan that should enable him to walk out with the starters in the regular season opener.
- Favorite Pick: Brenton Strange gives Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson another weapon to feature in the passing game. The Penn State standout is a natural "FLEX" tight end with the athleticism, movement skills and positional flexibility to align anywhere on the field. Strange created and exploited mismatches from the slot, out wide and in an in-line position on the perimeter as a collegian. His versatility will enhance a tight end/wide receiver corps that features interchangeable parts, with Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram displaying the capacity to win from the slot or out wide based on personnel matchups and coaching strategies. With Strange poised to join the party as a TE2, Pederson can incorporate more "12" personnel packages (one running back, two tight ends, and two wide receivers) into the game plan.
- Overall Assessment: The Jaguars added a collection of intriguing blue-collar talents to a roster that has the potential to compete for a top seed in the AFC. General Manager Trent Baalke moved around the board to accumulate more lottery tickets to improve the talent and depth of the squad while fortifying a few key positions with the team's early-round selections. Harrison, Strange and running back Tank Bigsby in particular should immediately compete for playing time as pivotal role players with "super-sub" potential. Antonio Johnson is the group's sleeper as an instinctive safety with extensive experience playing in the slot. If the Texas A&M star quickly masters the playbook, he could fill a huge void as a Nickel or Dime defender in the Jaguars' sub-packages.
Introducing the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars: a photo gallery of the 2023 Draft Class.