Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

NFL Draft: Jaguars protect Trevor, add picks on productive first night

todayApril 28, 2023


Jaguars protect Trevor, add picks on productive first night of NFL Draft

By Hays Carlyon

We all remember the feeling.

Young Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence writhing in pain on the ground after being sacked in an eventual loss at Detroit.

Many of us in the stadium thought Lawrence was hurt and the season was over.

Thankfully, his injury wasn’t severe. Lawrence actually found his stride playing through the toe injury, leading the Jaguars to the AFC South title and a playoff win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Still, that memory of Lawrence grabbing his leg in pain should linger. He must be protected. Look at how little protection Indianapolis gave “generational” quarterback Andrew Luck. He was retired before hitting 30, tired of the constant physical toll.

Now, consider the Jaguars lost right tackle Jawaan Taylor in free agency to Kansas City and the reality that left tackle Cam Robinson could be facing a multi-game suspension this season.

It all added up to a glaring need to fortify the line.

Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke and coach Doug Pederson selected Oklahoma left tackle Anton Harrison with the 27th pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Harrison will likely start at right tackle, while Walker Little mans the left side if Robinson does miss games.

The expensive Robinson is also likely playing his last season with the Jaguars this season. The tackle position simply couldn’t be neglected.

Baalke and Pederson were able to maximize the value by trading back twice before securing Harrison. In doing so, they added a fifth-round pick and seventh-round pick from the New York Giants by moving down one spot. Then, they moved down two spots with Buffalo, adding a fourth-round pick from the Bills.

The Jaguars now have 11 picks remaining in the draft after already adding Harrison. With edge rusher, cornerback and tight end the three biggest remaining needs, Baalke and Pederson will be able to aggressively move up in the second and third round.

There is no way 11 draft picks are making this 53-man roster.

The Jaguars could move up in the second round from pick No. 56 to the early 40s by shipping out the third-round choice.

Packaging two of the three fourth-round picks could likely move the Jaguars up nine spots in the second round.

Of course, the Jaguars could also simply trade some these selections to further boost the 2024 draft class.

This was an excellent night for the Jaguars.

They acquired a player that should help protect Lawrence. The 21-year-old Harrison started 23 games at left tackle for the Sooners and one at right tackle. You have two young pieces on the line as Harrison joins second-year center Luke Fortner.

They also built a strong position of draft capital that will allow easy passage up the board should the right prospect appeal to them.

The Jaguars lacked sizzle Thursday night. No one will talk about them nationally today.

That’s fine.

This was a winning night for the Jaguars.

They made it more difficult for the rest of the AFC South to catch them.


(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).

Written by: Hays Carlyon

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