Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will always think about all aspects of the dynasty season. Managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones who can grab themselves an edge. This article is about the surprising Jacksonville Jaguars, who shocked many last year after a second-half comeback to beat the Chargers in the playoffs. They won their division for the first time since 2017 after making a ton of free agent signings, Trevor Lawrence’s breakout year, picking number one overall two years in a row, and under new head coach Doug Pederson.
Most of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not often be surprised at the outcomes. Look at the Chiefs or Eagles. They have a ton of depth. This allowed them to outlast the rest of the competition and compensate for any injuries.
The draft order used in this article reflects the order following the Super Bowl. Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are generated from this site.
2022 Season Recap
The 2022 season went great for the Jaguars as they roared for the first time in a long time. Lawrence proved why he was drafted number one overall and broke out with real weapons and coaching. Travis Etienne was healthy and had some flashes of greatness. The team’s massive free-agent spending proved wise, with key contributions from new WR1 Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, TE1 Evan Engram, and key guard Brandon Scherff. The team traded for Calvin Ridley, who has been allowed back into the NFL following a year’s suspension for gambling.
The team achieved all expectations and even more under Head Coach Pederson. Following the tumultuous reign under previous head coach Urban Meyer, he righted the ship. First-overall pick Travon Walker proved to be a reliable player with potential stardom. New acquisition Foye Oluokon was dominant as expected, and free agent signing cornerback Darious Williams was a standout. The team, indeed, performed far better than expected.
This all culminated in a Week 18 victory over the Titans, winning the team its first Division Title since 2017. Next, they came back in stunning fashion from 27-0 against the Chargers to win on a last-second field goal 31-30. While they lost in the Divisional Round against the Chiefs, it’s clear that the Jaguars, Lawrence, and Pederson are ready to compete with the big dogs in the NFL. The team is ready to roar loud in Duval County.
2023 Free Agents
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a decent amount of free agents this off-season, but not a lot that will truly hurt them aside from a couple. One was Engram, but the team franchise tagged him. That’s big news, as he was going to be the player that would hurt them the most if he left. It seems like Shaq Griffin will be let go after an injury-plagued year and not playing well enough to earn his $17 million salary for next season. Plus, that saves a ton of cap space. The biggest free agent that hurts them is Jawaan Taylor, who has been a mainstay at right tackle. He’s expected to have a massive market which likely limits the Jaguars from bringing him back.
Key defensive linemen such as Adam Gotsis, Corey Peters, Dawuane Smoot, and Roy Robertson-Harris are other names that will hurt. They must address the lack of depth along the defensive line, especially in the interior. Other impact names are Tre Herndon, a valuable cornerback, and Andrew Wingard. They’ll potentially need a new backup quarterback and tight ends, with CJ Beathard and Dan Arnold, both free agents. Etienne will also need a new backup running back, with both Henderson and Hasty hitting the market. One last name to mention is Marvin Jones, the team’s reliable WR3 for the previous few years.
2023 Draft Picks
The team needs a new cornerback, preferably in the slot, tight end depth, a new right tackle, defensive line depth, especially the interior, safety depth, running back depth, and a new left guard, if possible.
1.24 – Dawand Jones, OT Ohio State
The Jaguars are over the cap and unlikely to be able to re-sign Jawaan Taylor. Thus, this leaves them with a gaping hole at the right tackle. The team doesn’t want to risk Lawrence, so they take a player in the first round who has played right tackle throughout college in, Jones. Jones is a mammoth of a human being at over 370 pounds and 6’8″. He has over a 72″ wingspan! Jones is capable of starting immediately on the right side. He will set up a skyscraper that defenders must try to navigate. Despite being so large, he’s got quick feet and extremely strong hands that prevent rushers from gaining leverage. Just check out this clip of him against the tough Georgia defense.
More often than not, this man pushes back the opponent’s attempts to bull-rush him. He’s like a brick wall. Jones has minor technique issues and isn’t the most athletic guy. However, there’s no doubt this guy has Pro Bowl potential. This allows the Jacksonville Jaguars to get a premium position with a cheap contract and a stud.
2.56 – Clark Phillips III, CB Utah
At cornerback, the number one spot the team needs is a slot/nickel corner. Maybe they fall in love with one that mainly plays outside, and they try to convert him. My thinking is, why go through the hassle if there’s a guy that already plays slot coverage exceptionally well? Phillips is that guy. He’s a proven slot corner that ran a 4.51 40-Yard Dash. Clark will take time to grow into the weekly NFL physicality, but he should be a reliable starting corner on the Jags’ defense. The team locks up two badly needed positions with their first two picks. Phillips would be the best pick for the Jaguars, especially after the Chargers and Chiefs destroyed them in the slot.
3.88 – Jaquelin Roy, DT LSU
Roy is a solid defensive tackle that can play day one next to Fatukasi. He’s a strong run defender that can prevent blocks from forming. There are signs of him developing a pocket-collapsing solid game, which would help the Jaguars’ defense. Roy has a ton of athleticism for his size, allowing him to take his game to the next level in the NFL with proper technique and coaching. If that can happen, there’s the chance he can take over Fatukasi in a year or two when he hits free agency.
Doug Pederson knows that you need a ton of talent in the trenches to win NFL games. Roy helps replace the guys who left in free agency and brings you an even higher level they can reach. The Jacksonville Jaguars snag an ascending play-making player that can become a starter on their defense. Roy would be a steal at this pick, and it can happen. He’s not receiving nearly enough attention from the media.
4.121 – Luke Schoonmaker, TE Michigan
Schoonmaker not only has a super fun name to say, but he’s super enjoyable to watch. He won’t start day one, as he’ll be behind Evan Engram. However, Schoonmaker has the talent to start year two. If Engram doesn’t replicate last year or gets too expensive, the team has a ready-made cheap replacement behind him. He will start as the TE2 on the offense as a blocker. He’ll excel at blocking, as that’s the best part of his game. Yet, he is more than adequate as a pass-catcher. Schoonmaker played in a pro-style offense requiring a polished blocking game and receiving game at Michigan.
Schoonmaker has good speed and fluid route-running skills with decent hands. He’ll have to work on catching contested catches or gaining yards after the catch. He can quickly develop into a TE1 and would give the Jaguars another talented weapon for Lawrence to throw to. Schoonmaker is not worth drafting in dynasty, so don’t unless you have massive rosters. This is another excellent pick for the short-term in replacing the Jacksonville Jaguars’ tight end depth and as a long-term pick.
4.127 – Emil Ekiyor Jr, G Alabama
The Jaguars potentially need a new left guard after their starter last year missed nearly the whole season. Ekiyor provides the best potential at this stage in the draft and the ability to play any interior positions. He’s a developmental guard prospect, but if coached right, he could become a stalwart player on the inside of the offensive line. Ekiyor is a three-year starter at Alabama, so you know he can ball. He’s ready to play immediately but could use the time to develop even better with his quickness and foot movements. Ekiyor fits this team’s pro-style rushing offense. The Jacksonville Jaguars garner yet another starter this late in the draft.
6.185 – Evan Hull, RB Northwestern
I like Hull to become the backup to Travis Etienne. The running back won’t wow with his talent, but he does everything well. He has impressive speed and burst with a 10’3″ broad jump, 1.53 second 10-Yard Split, and a 4.47 40-Yard Dash. Hull does everything Hasty does but much cheaper. He’s a reliable pass-catcher who hauled in 55 catches alone last year at Northwestern. Hull can run routes from the backfield or slot and has decent contact balance and vision. Hull’s a solid running back that does the little things right and will provide valuable insurance or rest for Etienne. Just don’t ask Hull to block until the NFL coaches him up.
6.202 – Caleb Chandler, G Louisville
No NFL team can have enough interior offensive linemen. The Jaguars aren’t an exception and take another backup guard that can play nasty in the run game. Chandler is an angry player that loves to bully opposing defenders in the rushing game. He struggles in the passing game a bit too much due to mainly technique. However, he’s got a ton of potential that the Jaguars can try to harness. There’s no such thing as too much depth in the NFL. Just look at the Chiefs and Eagles.
6.208- Mekhi Blackmon, CB USC
Blackmon was a solid cornerback at USC. The Third-Team All-American is a tough and physical coverage guy that garners a ton of penalties. He has a habit of grabbing opposing wide receivers. If that can be fixed, the versatile slot/perimeter cornerback could become a valuable weapon on defense. If not, he’s a solid enough depth player to provide injury insurance to a crucial part of the team’s defense.
7.228 -Trey Dean III, S Florida
Dean is a depth pick at this spot. He won’t do much more than provide depth at their safety position, which is thin. Plus, he’s a solid special teams player. There’s a possible chance he converts to cornerback. More likely, he’s just another solid guy that the Jacksonville Jaguars can plug in emergencies or as injury coverage.
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As always, May the Force be with you…