Hall of Fame front office executive and NFL.com contributor Gil Brandt published his list of seven teams that he thinks have the most pressure to do well in the 2021 NFL draft, and in somewhat of a surprise, the Jacksonville Jaguars ranked first.
It’s not that the Jaguars shouldn’t have pressure to hit a few home runs in this year’s draft, but after such a horrendous season in 2020 and a complete facelift with the coaching staff, Jacksonville is in Year 1 of an overhaul that usually results in less stress on rookies and young players to contribute right away.
Regardless, there’s always an urgency to get the first overall pick right, and for the Jaguars in 2021, they also have a second first-rounder who, if things go well, could turn this year’s draft class into a special one for the franchise.
Jacksonville is going to select Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with the first pick, and at No. 25, they could add another offensive tackle or weapon at wide receiver to make Lawrence’s job a little easier.
Brandt cited the Jaguars’ terrible history with top 10 picks from 2011-17 as part of the reason why they must get it right in 2021. In order to become a legitimate playoff contender, they have to break the cycle of poor draft results.
“I think the Jags will finally break this run of bad luck when they take Trevor Lawrence first overall this year,” Brandt wrote. “Still, with the number of holes to fill on this roster, the Jags must do a better job with every pick here than they have in the recent past if they are to construct a solid foundation for new head coach Urban Meyer.”
To be honest, it’s almost impossible for the Jaguars to screw up this year’s draft. As long as they select Lawrence, they’ve won the 2021 draft. He’s a generational quarterback who’s as close to a can’t-miss as they come. Jacksonville has some fun offensive pieces already on the roster too, so Lawrence should enjoy immediate success next fall and instantly bring credibility to Duval.