The Jacksonville Jaguars couldn’t afford to squander any of their NFL draft capital in 2022, and they had quite a bit of it with the first overall pick and nine more selections in the top 200 prior to a few trades during the event itself.
They already wasted a year after taking Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall and then pairing him with Urban Meyer, whose disastrous coaching tenure ended (mercifully) after a single season but set the franchise back significantly through the lack of development and cultural regression under his supervision. Still, with Travis Etienne Jr. coming back from an injury that wiped out his rookie year and a host of first-year players set to join a squad that already made big and expensive free-agent moves, the future is at least bright.
Maybe. Jacksonville has had plenty of top picks before and gone the wrong direction, and that risk hasn’t gone away. Plus, it still has to figure out solutions along the offensive line, throughout a porous defense, and, well, just about everywhere else.
2022 NFL Draft picks by Jacksonville Jaguars
- No. 1 Overall: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
- No. 27 Overall: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
- No. 65 Overall: Luke Fortner, C, Kentucky
- No. 70 Overall: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
- No. 154 Overall: Snoop Conner, RB, Ole Miss
- No. 197 Overall: Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita Baptist
- No. 222 Overall: Montaric Brown, CB, Arkansas
No. 1 Overall: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
General manager Trent Baalke loves home run swings, and this is the latest example. Travon Walker is a high-ceiling prospect thanks to the tremendous athleticism that allowed him to chase down skill-position players from behind at Georgia, made him a combine star, and now gives him so much potential when he’s not asked just to seal the edge. Landing a premier edge-rusher was a need for Jacksonville, and Walker, even with some lower-floor risk, could be a pick knocked out of the park once the Jaguars accepted that no one was willing to assist them in trading down.
No. 27 Overall: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Landing arguably the best linebacker in the draft class when linebacker is a huge positional need? Check and check for the Jaguars, who continue to focus on shoring up a porous defense that ranked 28th in scoring and 20th in yardage during the 2021 season. Devin Lloyd has plenty of speed (4.66-second 40-yard dash) and ranges from sideline to sideline as a two-time Butkus Award finalist. He excels against the run so long as he’s not disrupted by physical blocks and also has great awareness in pass coverage.
Baalke was swinging for the fences with his first pick but might have hit the actual homer at No. 27 with a prospect who has drawn Darius Leonard and Willie Gay comparisons.
No. 65 Overall: Luke Fortner, C, Kentucky
Drafting an interior offensive lineman, even one who typically prevents penetration up the middle in pass protection, isn’t the most glamorous move. Fortunately for the Jaguars, Luke Fortner does at least check the “need” box and could spend years snapping the ball to Trevor Lawrence — if his versatility doesn’t prompt a move to guard.
No. 70 Overall: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
This was tremendous value for a Jaguars organization that can’t possibly add too much talent to a porous defense during one draft. With Travon Walker rushing the passer, Devin Lloyd filling gaps on the inside, and Chad Muma excelling against the run (potentially for all three downs), Jacksonville now has significantly better defensive infrastructure in place.
Day 3 Picks
No. 154 Overall: Snoop Conner, RB, Ole Miss
Did the Jaguars really need to trade up again to get Snoop Conner, who still would have been there at No. 188?
No. 197 Overall: Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita Baptist
Ouachita Baptist’s first-ever NFL draft pick, Gregory Junior will obviously face much tougher competition in the NFL. But the Jags need help at cornerback, and he fits that bill.
No. 222 Overall: Montaric Brown, CB, Arkansas
Brown was a bit underrated at Arkansas and had five picks for the Razorbacks in 2021. He’ll add some much-needed depth at corner for Jacksonville.