JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have the number one overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Las Vegas. A year after picking Trevor Lawrence number one overall, the Jaguars are in the same position again.
The Jags would love to trade out of the spot, but there are likely no dance partners to make a trade. The reason for that is most likely because of the lack of quarterback prospects in this year’s draft.
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Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke told the local media last Friday that the Jags covet four players with the first overall selection. Let’s take a look at who the Jaguars might select around 8:15 p.m. on Thursday.
Travon Walker: The Georgia Bulldogs defensive end has been a draft board riser since January. On Monday, he became the favorite to be the number one overall pick according to oddsmakers. Walker can play all over the place on the defensive front with his skillset and athleticism. The biggest question for a team taking Walker is where does he fit best? At Georgia, Walker was overshadowed by a defensive loaded with talent. At times, they asked him to rush the passer, but they also asked the 270 pounder to drop into coverage. It appears that Walker has a lot of upside, but even on a terrific Dawgs defense, Walker didn’t put up big numbers from a productivity standpoint.
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Aidan Hutchinson: It sure looked and sounded like this was the pick the entire way for the Jaguars, until this week. Hutchinson was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year at Michigan. That is a tough accomplishment for a pass rusher in college football. He was productive last season with 14 sacks. It really was his lone year in college of showing that kind of productivity. If you’re wondering about athleticism, that isn’t a problem for Hutchinson. He showed tremendous numbers at the combine in February. There really isn’t a lot of downside with Hutchinson, but some question how high his ceiling might be in the NFL. This is the projection business and that might concern teams. The Jags can’t miss on the number one pick and many believe Hutchinson is the “safest” pick for the Jags.
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THE OTHER TWO LIKELY POSSIBILITIES:
Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu: The offensive tackle out of N.C. State might be the best player in the NFL Draft this year. Do the Jaguars need an offensive tackle right now? They drafted Walker Little last year, they have Jawaan Taylor and they just put the franchise tag on Cam Robinson with the hopes of extending him. Ekwonu, according to some experts, might be a perennial Pro Bowl guard in the NFL. Is the value of the guard position premium enough to take a guard? Ekwonu is certainly an interesting selection and some fans and maybe even Jags personnel folks would like to beef up the offensive line to protect Trevor Lawrence.
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Evan Neal: The offensive lineman from Alabama was close to a betting favorite a couple of months ago and now he’s almost a longshot to be the Jaguars pick. Neal raises the same questions Ekwonu raised in regards to the Jaguars fit. The upside to Neal is he played guard, right tackle and left tackle at Alabama and he did it at Alabama. There is a lot of good tape for Neal going against some of the best pass rushers in the country and Neal is on the winning side of many of the battles. Versatility is king in the NFL, but like Travon Walker, will a team be smart enough to put Neal in the correct spot to maximize his talents?
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LONGSHOTS AT NUMBER ONE OVERALL
Jameson Williams: He’s coming off an ACL injury, but would be a top ten pick if he wasn’t. The receiver out of Alabama can fly.
Kayvon Thibodeaux: He was the number one overall pick in the fall and then got passed by Walker and Hutchinson.
Malik Willis: Does someone fall in love with the QB enough to trade up to number one overall with the Jaguars?
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