Jaguars 2024 day two mock draft

Round one of the 2024 NFL draft is in the books, with Jacksonville moving down the order and netting picks this year and next, yet ultimately selecting the prospect it claimed was the choice all along on Thursday night, wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. from LSU.

“He was going to be the pick at 17,” Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said after the first round.

“We just felt the way the board looked and where the needs were, the teams in between us, we felt we had a chance. There’s risk, there’s reward. You make the move back, but we felt we were going to get a really good football player that we had high on our board with the move back. Fortunate that Brian was still there.”

Moving forward, the Jaguars have eight selections over the draft’s remaining six rounds, including picks No. 48 in the second round and No. 96 in the third round on Friday.

Additionally, the trade Jacksonville completed with Minnesota on Thursday strengthened the Jaguars’ arsenal of 2025 picks to nine, including six between rounds one through four. The club could use present and future picks as chips for a potential trade-up over the next 36 hours.

Jaguars Wire projects Jacksonville’s approach to its day two selections below.

Jaguars Wire used the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator for this exercise, with all slider settings median.

Round 2, Pick No. 43 (trade with Atlanta): Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) gestures in celebration after Tennessee failed to convert a 4th down in the fourth quarter of a football game between Tennessee and Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023.

Jacksonville receives: No. 43 overall (second round) 

Atlanta receives: No. 48 overall (second round), No. 116 (fourth round, via New Orleans)

A bigger move-up was considered here as Buffalo took cornerback Cooper DeJean with the first pick of the second round.

But with the run on wide receivers continuing into the 30s, pushing the next defensive back selection to No. 42 (Houston: safety Tyler Nubin), Jacksonville was fortunate to see another respected prospect slip outside their pre-draft projected range and didn’t rush a move in this scenario.

Still available at pick No. 43, Jacksonville trades with Atlanta — arguably in need of more picks after spending its first on a quarterback who probably won’t start until 2026 — to hop cornerback-needy Las Vegas (No. 44) and Indianapolis (No. 46) and take Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry.

The 5-foot-11 and 1/2-inch, 199-pound McKinstry is considered one of if not the best man coverage cornerback in this draft class, making it surprising that he fell out of the first round. His average athletic testing results while running on a Jones fracture in his right foot at Alabama’s pro day could have played a factor.

Still, McKinstry proved dominant against opposing receivers throughout his college career. He started a game by Week 2 of his freshman year and several more before it was over, defended 16 passes as a sophomore and allowed 40+ receiving yards in a game just twice as a junior.

In total, McKinstry tallied 92 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, two interceptions and 25 passes defended over 42 games and three seasons with the Crimson Tide. He allowed 47.9% (70-of-146) of his career targets in coverage to be caught, per PFF.

With 35 punts returned, 418 punt return yards and 11.9 yards per punt return on his résumé from Alabama, McKinstry could reasonably fill the NFL’s recently-instituted second return specialist position for Jacksonville.

Round 3, Pick No. 96 (compensatory pick): Michael Hall Jr., DL, Ohio State

Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr. (51) sacks Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) in the second quarter of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium.
Osu22msu Kwr 70

The Jaguars held onto the cornerstone of their defense by giving edge rusher Josh Allen a five-year extension earlier in April and solidified their interior defensive line by signing veteran Arik Armstead in free agency the month before.

But Jacksonville’s defensive trenches remain in need of depth reinforcements and potential long-term starters. Four interior linemen, including Armstead, will play the 2024 season at 30+ years old.

Enter Michael Hall Jr. from Ohio State, who Jacksonville snags here with plenty of tread on his tires. A redshirt season in 2021 and lingering injuries in 2022 limited Hall to 301 defensive snaps over his first two seasons, before starting in seven of 12 appearances in 2023.

In those three years, over 714 snaps, Hall recorded 45 tackles including 10 for loss, six sacks, one fumble recovery and 48 quarterback pressures, the latter stat via PFF. His 7.5 tackles for loss in 2022 led the Buckeyes, despite his lack of consistent playing time that season.

Hall presents a unique frame — 6-foot-2 and 3/4-inch, 290 pounds — making him a tweener defensive line prospect, likely to split time between strong-side defensive end and three-technique defensive tackle.

No matter how you look at Hall positionally, he possesses an above-average wingspan and arm length for a defensive line prospect, which is certain to catch Baalke’s eye. 13 of the 17 defensive line prospects he’s drafted in his career as a general manager have had 33+ inch arms; Hall’s are 33 and 1/2-inch.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire