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Mia’s Mock Draft Mondays 1.0

todayMarch 31, 2024


Mia O’Brien’s Mock Draft Mondays are powered each Monday in the month of April by Play It Again Sports

The programming line-up at 1010XL may be getting re-shuffled, but an old favorite remains constant. 

For the fourth time since 2020 (and the second go-round at 1010XL), “Mia’s Mock Draft Monday’s” are back. Each week, we’ll examine a new set of selections the Jacksonville Jaguars could make in this month’s NFL Draft. Coming off a second-consecutive, 9-8 campaign – but after missing out on the postseason in disappointing fashion – the Jaguars have both holes to fill and options. Each week, we’ll run through different scenarios of which players could fall to the Jaguars, what positions they’ll target high vs. later, and what type of players Trent Baalke’s front office covets.

… and despite “Trader Trent’s” nickname, spoiler alert: no trades allowed in Mia’s Mock Draft 1.0. Trust me, there will be plenty of time for trades in the weeks to come. 

Let’s dive in. 


Round 1, Pick 17

Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State


Is it realistic that the two-time All American could slip all the way to No. 17?

If four quarterbacks go as expected among the Top-12 picks, combined with a potential run on wide receivers and/or offensive tackles: it may not be as far-fetched as you think. 

After amassing 18 sacks and 29.5 TFL in two seasons at Florida State, Verse dazzled at the NFL Combine. His scores were top-five at his position in all but one event, including an Edge Rusher-best 31 reps on the bench press. At 6’4’’, 254 lbs, Verse would be smaller than Josh Allen and Travon Walker, although he has the same arm length as Allen (33 ½’’) and bigger hands (9 ⅞’’). 

There is a notion among some in Duval County that drafting Verse would signal a long-term deal with Allen may not happen. I do not believe this move would be done in hopes to get more leverage in negotiations with Allen. This would, first and foremost, be selecting the “Best Player Available” at No. 17. It would also be a concession from Trent Baalke that, contrary to what he said at his end-of-year presser, he does regret not building a stable of Edge Rushers in 2023, solely banking on development and Dawuane Smoot returning to form from an Achilles tear. Defensive Coordinator Ryan Nielsen never had a bona fide Edge Rusher in New Orleans or Atlanta.And yet 10 players on last year’s Falcons’ defense had two or more sacks. The Jaguars had five players to do so – which includes Allen and Walker, as well as Foye Oluokun’s 2.5 sacks and K’Lavon Chaisson’s 2.0 sacks. While Nielsen has proven he can scheme and create pressure on the quarterback, handing him Verse to go along with Allen and Walker (not to mention free agent signee Arik Armstead) would catapult the Jaguars back into “Sacksonville” territory. 

Despite the laundry list of accolades Verse racked up in just two seasons in Tallahassee, he did not become a full-time defensive end until 2020 – and that was during a COVID-shortened, spring season at FCS Albany. He’ll turn 24 during the season, which may deter some suitors, but the reality may be that his best football still is ahead of him. 



Round 2, Pick 48

TJ Tampa, DB, Iowa State


Fact: the Jaguars will select a defensive back among their first three picks, if not double dip at the position. It’s perhaps the most glaring need, with Tyson Campbell set to play in a contract year and oft-injured veteran Ronald Darby opposite him after inking a team-friendly, two-year deal this offseason. Only two defensive backs on the Jaguars’ 53 man roster last year are set to be under-contract in 2025: back-up Montaric Brown and second-year nickel Christian Braswell, who played in 3 games last year. 

Enter Tampa, back home again in the Sunshine State after four years in the Midwest. While Iowa State ran far more zone than what most anticipate Ryan Nielsen will run in Jacksonville (59% of the time), Tampa would slide over a tight end when they did run man-coverage, showcasing his ability to keep up with larger opponents as well as his above-average, 6’1’’ 189 lb frame (not to mention 32 ⅛’’ arms). That outside-inside versatility will also be of interest to the Jaguars’, even if free agent-signee Darnell Savage is expected to see much of the early-snaps at the nickel position. The turnover numbers aren’t eye-popping (three interceptions in three seasons as a starter), but Tampa has a knack for locating and disrupting at the catch-point, as exemplified by 16 pass break-up’s over the past two seasons. While Tampa doesn’t have the blazing, vertical speed some teams may covet (he ran a 4.52 at the Big 12 Pro Day), he compensates through high IQ and staying connected throughout the route. He’s also a willing, physical defender in run support. Google-search his name, and it’s one of the first things you will see: “hard hitting” defender. As the Jaguars try to formulate what their identity will be in 2024, Trent Baalke has stressed a need for physicality. Might they get that in the form of a new starting outside cornerback? 


Round 3, Pick 96

Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice


Fact: the Jaguars will select a wide receiver among their first three picks for the first time since Trent Baalke became general manager. With Zay Jones set to play in a contract year and Christian Kirk entering Year 3 of 4 of his contract, the time to plot out a succession plan is now. 

Why McCaffrey? Good bloodlines, for starters. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of his brother, Christian (San Francisco 49ers), and/or his father, Ed (former Pro Bowl wide receiver). High football IQ is evident throughout his game. Luke McCaffrey began his collegiate career as a quarterback and has only played wide receiver the past two seasons. Despite being a relative newcomer, he caught 129 passes (including 19 touchdowns) for over 1,700 yards over the past two years. His soft hands are considered his biggest strength. While McCaffrey is considered a slot receiver, there are indicators he can play both inside and outside: his biggest highlights have come on contested catches in the red-zone and down the sideline. He had more one-handed grabs in two seasons than most players will in five or six years at the collegiate level. 

McCaffrey is still progressing as a route runner, but that’s what makes he and Jacksonville such an optimal pairing: McCaffrey would not be asked to be the No. 1 option from the jump, and he could learn behind a slot receiver who has proven his inside-outside versatility in his own right, Christian Kirk. It’s also worth noting: at 6’2’’ 198 lbs, McCaffrey would match Zay Jones and Gabe Davis in size, only trailing Elijah Cooks in the Jaguars’ WR Room. 


Round 4, Pick 114

DeWayne Carter, DT, Duke


For the second straight season (Tyler Lacy in 2023), the Jaguars go back to the Senior Bowl-well to find another piece to their defensive line rotation. A three-time captain at Duke, Carter’s production dropped his final season in Durham (5.5 sacks to 1.0 sacks, 11.0 TFL to 3.5 TFL), but never suffered any major injuries or missed time during his five seasons in college. 

Carter is scheme versatile, finding the bulk of his success against collegiate offensive tackles but with the potential to play inside at the 3-tech at the next level. His biggest strength, his hands, can’t be taught. While Carter will defer to a bull rush more often than not, he possesses a workable spin counter and club move to pair with a good first step. 

At 6’2’’, 302 lbs, Carter wouldn’t necessarily be a plug-and-play piece along the defensive line. But with the free signing of Arik Armstead, he wouldn’t be asked to immediately step in for the departed-Foley Fatukasi and start at the 3-tech. Many scouts believe his pass rush skills may actually trump his prowess in the run game, which, while slightly concerning, could be exciting for a Jaguars team desperate for pocket push from its interior.  


Round 4, Pick 116

Deantre Prince, CB, Ole Miss


After selecting the tall and long-armed T.J. Tampa in Round 2, Trent Baalke and Ryan Nielsen double-up on the cornerback position by taking another tall and athletic cornerback. Prince got teams’ attention in Indy after running a 4.38 in the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine – and as a league source who was at Ole Miss’ Pro Day last week told me: “Prince can really run.”  While he measured in at 6-feet-tall,, Prince doesn’t have the longest arms at just under 31 inches (30 ¾”).  With that being said, the Jaguars are at least somewhat interested, having scheduled Prince for a “Top 30 visit” here in Jacksonville.

While the Jaguars’ front office and previous defensive staff is/was high on young players like Montaric Brown, Christian Braswell, and Gregory Junior, an athletic cover-corner like Prince with 21 passes defensed over the past two years would be a worthwhile investment.


Round 5, Pick 153

Will Reichard, K, Alabama


The hunt for a kicker rages on at EverBank Stadium.  Riley Patterson was admirable in 2022, but without the leg strength that the team coveted, he was replaced in 2023 by Brandon McManus. After a strong first half of the season, McManus sputtered down the stretch and ended up in Washington with the Commanders in free agency this spring.  Trent Baalke and Co. attempted to replace him with Will Lutz, but Lutz opted to return to Denver, leaving the Jaguars to sign former Commanders kicker Joey Slye to a one-year deal for the league minimum – and oh yeah: Riley Patterson is also back on the Jaguars’ roster after spending last season in Detroit and Cleveland. 

The Jaguars have been eying kickers in the Draft in recent years – reportedly, Jake Moody of Michigan was someone the team coveted, before the 49ers selected him in the third round last April.  Reichard would provide more competition and loads of experience, as he is the FBS all-time scoring leader.  Reichard’s leg isn’t the strongest either, but he has made 84% of his field goal attempts at Alabama and he was 10 for 13 from 50+ yards in his college career (with a long of 52 yards).  Other kickers to watch for on Day 3 of the NFL Draft are Joshua Karty of Stanford and Cam Little of Arkansas.


Round 6, Pick 212

Marcus Harris, DT, Auburn


With the addition of Arik Armstead in free agency, Jared Verse at No. 17 overall, and DeWayne Carter in the fourth, the Jaguars continue to load up on the defensive line with Marcus Harris in Mia’s Mock Draft 1.0.  Harris is an undersized sub-package interior pass rusher who newly-hired Jaguars Defensive Line Coach Jeremy Garrett knows well, after spending last season together at Auburn.  Additionally, Garrett also recruited Harris’ brother to Auburn in the Class of 2024.

After being selected as a first-team All-SEC performer last year with 11 tackles for loss and 7 sacks, Harris is likely to slide to Day 3 of the NFL Draft.  While he did some good things in Mobile at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Harris will have to find a role as a rotational player on Sundays.  At 6’2 ⅜” and 286 lbs with 32 inch arms and average athletic testing numbers, he is best suited to be an interior pass rusher on passing downs – and that’s the type of role player the Jaguars could use in their rotation.  

The modern NFL requires waves of pass rushers – something the Jaguars haven’tt had in years – and a stable of edge and interior pass rushers that includes Josh Allen, Travon Walker, Arik Armstead, Jared Verse, DeWayne Carter, Roy Robertson-Harris, Trevis Gipson, Yasir Abdullah, Marcus Harris, Tyler Lacy, etc. would be among the tops in the AFC. 


Round 7, Pick 236

Javion Cohen, OL, Miami


With their final selection in this mock draft, the Jaguars finally address the offensive line.  Could the Jaguars’ select an offensive lineman earlier?  It’s possible, but, as of this writing, the Jaguars currently have a much deeper offensive line room than people realize with Cam Robinson, Ezra Cleveland, Mitch Morse, Brandon Scherff, Anton Harrison, Walker Little, Luke Fortner, Cooper Hodges, and Blake Hance all on the roster heading into the off-season program. 

Barring an offensive lineman falling unexpectedly in the early rounds, I believe it’s more likely that the team selects a player on Day Three for Offensive Line Coach Phil Rauscher to develop for a year before – hopefully – he can step into a more prominent depth role (or more). Think Cooper Hodges, last year’s 7th round pick, who many believe is the heir apparent to Scherff at right guard.   

Cohen could fit that billing as a big-bodied (6-foot-4, 324 lbs.) and long-armed (34”) interior lineman.  With three years of starting experience at left guard for Miami and Alabama, Cohen was a Senior Bowl invitee. The key for Cohen will be finding his correct playing weight after he reportedly gained weight for his senior season at Miami. Any lineman drafted on Day Three will not have any expectation of contributing early, but would hopefully be able to develop into a contributor after a year or two through the Jaguars “onboarding” process.

Written by: Mia O'Brien

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