The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the busiest drafts of all the teams in the NFL in 2023. They came away with a whopping 13 new rookies, including 10 selections that came on the third day.
Yahoo Sports’s Charles McDonald dinged Jacksonville for not using some of their six picks in the sixth and seventh rounds of the draft to try to move up to grab more established talent to help franchise Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the team capitalize on the momentum they built through the end of the last season and their surprising playoff run.
While it would have been nice to see the Jaguars trade up in the draft, McDonald contradicts himself by questioning some of Jacksonville’s earlier selections in the event, claiming that they were questionable selections and possibly even far reaches at their respective spots.
It was clear, though, that the Jags brass intended on giving their franchise gunslinger more weapons to work with on offense.
They started by grabbing tackle Anton Harrison out of Oklahoma, who should be a significant boon to their offensive line for next season and down the road. Protecting Lawrence and giving him more time to dice up defenses from the pocket was a main concern for Jacksonville entering the draft, and Harrison should be an impactful tool to accomplish that goal.
With their next two picks, they grabbed offensive weapons that will diversify the Jaguars offensive attack and take pressure off of Lawrence.
In the second round, they grabbed tight end Brenton Strange out of Penn State.
While Strange might take time to develop into a consistent performer, giving Lawrence a major weapon who threatens to rack up yards after the catch could prove instrumental for Jacksonville’s offense moving forward.
The Jaguars are gonna surprise some people this year.
QB Trevor Lawrence
RB Travis Etienne Jamychal Hasty
WR Christian Kirk Calvin Ridley Z Jones
TE Evan Engram Brenton Strange
Am I missing something? #DUUUVAL #Jaguars #Jags pic.twitter.com/AinkDDYqZ3
— Clay Harbor (@clayharbs82) May 9, 2023
Next, they selected running back Tank Bigsby out of Auburn. That selection is a bit peculiar for a team that recently drafted Travis Etienne and traded away James Robinson. But Bigsby north-to-south style and pure physicality will be a perfect complement to Etienne’s technical game out of the backfield.
Grabbing a back who can be trusted to push the line in short-yardage situations will only make Jacksonville’s offense exponentially more dangerous and consistent. Having two foils in their backfield on rookie contracts could pay dividends for the Jaguars in their short-term future.
While there may have been better value on the board, the top of the draft for the Jaguars clearly showed that they are prioritizing their rebuild around Trevor Lawrence, which can’t be anything other than a smart direction.
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| Title: Jacksonville Jaguars, 2023 NFL Draft shows they want to build around Trevor Lawrence
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: May 9, 2023