ESPN study puts Jacksonville Jaguars among NFL’s worst teams in draft

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have been pretty horrific in the NFL Draft over the past decade. They’ve missed on several first-round picks like wide receiver Justin Blackmon, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., defensive tackle Taven Bryan, and cornerback C.J. Henderson.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the franchise ended up 28th in ESPN’s study of best and worst NFL teams at drafting over the last 10 years. Here is a breakdown of their methodology and an example:

To evaluate the players taken in each of the past 10 NFL drafts (2012-2021), we used Approximate Value (AV) — Pro Football Reference’s method of measuring the performance of every NFL player. We took each player’s career AV and measured it against a value based on where that player was taken in the NFL draft — we’re calling it Career Approximate Value Over Expected (CAVOE).

For example, players drafted in the first or second rounds have a higher baseline for performance, so if they struggle they will have much lower CAVOE scores than a sixth- or seventh-round pick who made little impact.

To get the team ranking, we added up CAVOE scores for all players drafted by teams between 2012 — regardless of how long those players were with the team that drafted them. The idea is to see which teams drafted players who have provided the most value over their NFL careers.

With each team, ESPN also included the best draft class acquired in the last decade and the best Day 3 pick. For Jacksonville, it was 2016 where it ended up with cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Here is what ESPN had to say about it:

Best class from 2012-2021 drafts: 2016. One of the main reasons the Jaguars are picking first for the second consecutive year is that they haven’t drafted well, especially in the first round. The 2016 draft was their best — but the franchise couldn’t even reap the benefits. CB Jalen Ramsey, LB Myles Jack and DE Yannick Ngakoue — their first three picks — are all playing elsewhere. Ramsey didn’t even make it to the end of his rookie contract. Ngakoue and the team couldn’t reach an agreement on a long-term extension and the Jaguars used the franchise tag on him and then traded him to Minnesota. Jack did get an extension but was cut earlier this month. So the best draft class since 2012 is helping other teams. — Michael DiRocco

CAVOE from Day 3 draft picks (Rounds 4-7): -19.0, 26th

Best Day 3 steal? LB Telvin Smith, fifth round, 2014. Smith was knocked for his slender frame coming out of Florida State. Prior to his career derailing after the 2018 season due to off-field issues, Smith was on his way to becoming one of the best and most athletic linebackers in the league. — Reid

The players mentioned like Jack, Ngakoue, Ramsey, and Smith gave the Jags one of the scariest defenses the league has seen in the past decade. Unfortunately, the organization only got one postseason berth out of the group, but it was a group that was so good that it almost got the Jags to Super Bowl LII.

The Jags’ other draft classes from the Dave Caldwell era weren’t nearly as productive, and it ultimately cost the former general manager his job. Hopefully, the 2022 NFL draft will pan out better than the previous ones for Jaguars fans.