JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone didn't hide his feelings.
"I feel like we've hit a home run with those two," the Jaguars' head coach said.
General Manager David Caldwell felt the same way late Thursday night. The consensus of the team's decision-makers was that a busy and unique Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft went very well for the Jaguars.
"We got two tremendous athletes, guys that really fit the mold of what we look for," Caldwell said via videoconference shortly after Round 1 of the '20 draft ended Thursday.
The team entered the NFL's first "virtual" draft with two Round 1 selections, and a relatively quiet round that featured fewer trades than expected went like this for the Jaguars:
*No. 9 overall: Cornerback C.J. Henderson, Florida.
*No. 20 overall: Defensive end/linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, Louisiana State.
"They're all about football," Caldwell said "They're all about team. We look forward to having both of those guys."
Marrone said the Jaguars entered the draft unsure if either player would be available at the selections they were taken.
"We felt very fortunate," he said. "I'm excited about that."
Both players were from the Southeastern Conference, which wasn't surprising considering a record 15 players from the conference were selected in Round 1. But Caldwell said conference didn't play into the selections as much as specific traits about each player.
Caldwell on Henderson: "C.J. can cover. We believe he can take a team's No. 1 receiver because of his athleticism and his speed. He's a great young man and he's all about football."
Caldwell on Chaisson: "He's a tremendous, tremendous team guy. He's 6-3, 265 pounds and we feel like he can bring a presence on the edge. He can set the edge as a very good run defender. You see him against big SEC tackles blocking guys out. We'll play him probably in a two-point stance and he'll be our rusher opposite [edge defenders] Josh [Allen] and Yannick [Ngakoue] and we'll go from there."
Marrone said he was pleased with both selections, having spoken to coaches from both players' college coaching staffs extensively leading to the draft.
"I couldn't have been happier about where we are right now," Marrone said. "I feel like these two guys are going to be great contributors for us."
Marrone stressed that while both are reportedly very solid players in terms of character, that their on-field play was paramount in their selection.
"Is it big? Absolutely. Is it something we stress? Yes," Marrone said of the players' character. "But we were able to do that without sacrificing talent or potential. These guys are talented and have great potential to play in this league.
"They have good production and we feel like they're going to come in and do a great job."
Caldwell said that while the team believed there could be quality corners available at No. 20, the team didn't believe they would like those players as much as Henderson. He also said there were teams that liked Henderson as the draft's best corner.
"We certainly feel like he has the upside to be that eventually in time," Caldwell said.
Caldwell also discussed Chaisson extensively during the videoconference, adding that the team liked his improvement as the 2019 season continued. Chaisson had missed much of the 2018 season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"I really felt he is just scratching the surface," Caldwell said.
Caldwell for the eighth time in as many drafts as the Jaguars' general manager did not trade either up or down in Round 1. He said he received a lot of interest in No. 9 before the selection, but that subsided once the Arizona Cardinals selected Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons No. 8 overall.
"Once he went off it kind of died out," Caldwell said, adding that he had a team reach out to him about – but not make an offer for – the No. 20 overall selection.