JACKSONVILLE - Citing this week’s April 23-25 NFL draft as “huge”, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell has worked the past 18 months to secure at least 12 selections that could produce top level college talent.
Jacksonville is scheduled to pick ninth and 20th behind Cincinnat at one, Washington Redskins at two and Detroit Lions at three.
After an 18-month bobbing and weaving phase of preparations, the Jaguars will enter the draft with six choices set by record and six choices set by trades to a slew of high-level trades; Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Nick Foles.
Ramsey’s trade to the Los Angeles Rams netted two Round One choices; at No. 9 and No. 20 in 2021, plus a fourth rounder in 2012. Campbell netted a fifth round draft choice from Baltimore while Foles, sent to Chicago, got a fourth round pick.
“This is the most draft capital we’ve had here,” Caldwell said during a pre-draft video conference with Head Coach Doug Marrone and local media. “We need to hit on all 12; that’s our philosophy.”
The virtual draft brings its own set of unknown parameters as the draft itself involved a slew of phone calls, video chats and behind-the-scenes communications as teams volleyed names around to better opportunity.
“In talking to some GMs across the league, we have started some potential scenarios of potential trading up and trading back,” Caldwell said. “Right now, that’s probably the one thing that gives me a little bit of angst of how the process is going to go on.”
Jacksonville got great mileage out of last year’s top pick in Kentucky’s Josh Allen at linebacker as the seventh overall pick with sixth round pick Gardner Minshew, at quarterback (3,271 Yds, 21TDs), a superb find as the 178th pick who filled in admirably in lieu of Foles’ season-ending injury.
Jacksonville still retains Taven Bryan out of Florida, the top choice in 2018 (28th overall) who is in his third year as a defensive tackle; and Leonard Fournette (2017) out of LSU (4th overall), who rushed for 2,631 Yds, 17TDs last year.
Fowler (2015, traded 2018 to Los Angeles Rams) and quarterback Blake Bortles (2014, now at Rams 2019) are both gone to trade as are Luke Joeckel (2013, OT, 2nd out of Texas A & M, now at Seattle ) and Justin Blackmon (WR, 5th out of Oklahoma State, a Pro Bowler with plenty of legal problems).