The Jacksonville Jaguars will pick 17th in the 2024 NFL draft, but there isn’t much consensus about which direction the team should take.
Still, there are a few needs that jump out as the potential top priority for the Jaguars in the offseason. Namely, the offensive and defensive lines, as well as wide receiver and cornerback.
With the draft now three months away, there are a group of prospects who experts have projected to be the likeliest candidates to be the Jaguars’ pick in April:
Jer'Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
Interior offensive line help is probably top priority, but it’s not the only area of need for the Jaguars to address.
Despite having two double-digit sack pass rushers in Josh Allen and Travon Walker, the Jaguars finished 25th in sacks this season. There was a severe lack of interior push and the run defense was lacking late in the year, as well.
Solutions on both sides of the ball have to start from the inside out for Jacksonville.
In Newton, they’d get a 295-pound game wrecker with the versatility to play multiple spots and be a disruptor in both the pass and run game.
Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington
Jacksonville must find a way to keep Trevor Lawrence upright and adding more talent up front is paramount. Troy Fautanu is an outstanding prospect who has the athleticism and play strength to be an impact tackle or guard at the next level.
Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
Trevor Lawrence and his targets lacked continuity and chemistry in the passing game, and the Jaguars’ wide receiver group had a 4.3% drop rate, sixth worst in the NFL. One missing element is a true 50-50 ball winner on the outside, and at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Coleman can come down with contested catches (13 this season). He would also alleviate some of the attention on Calvin Ridley and open up things inside for Christian Kirk and Evan Engram.
Brian Thomas Jr, WR, LSU
The Jaguars need long-term help at multiple positions, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this pick addresses the defensive or offensive line. But adding another playmaker is as good a plan as any.
Thomas is an outstanding size/speed athlete with a basketball background and huge upside. By the time April rolls around, he might not be an option outside of the top 15.
Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
The Jaguars’ collapse to end the season — they lost five of their final six games and missed the playoffs — exposed some serious roster issues, and they could have more holes to plug this offseason. That’s because top edge rusher Josh Allen and No. 2 wideout Calvin Ridley are free agents, and both could get enticing offers if they hit the open market in March. Ridley is probably more likely to leave, but I just projected five receivers in the top 15 picks, which means Jacksonville might not like the pass-catchers left on the board. That’s why I’m pivoting to a defense that struggled down the stretch.
DeJean, who was having an All-America season before he broke his leg in November, allowed just 3.5 yards per attempt as the nearest defender in coverage this past season. He had seven interceptions from 2022-23, including three pick-sixes. He could play in the slot or outside, making him a nice complementary corner with Darious Williams and Tyson Campbell.
Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
The Jaguars go offensive line to better protect Trevor Lawrence in 2024 and beyond. Jacksonville’s quarterback took a step back in 2023.
T'Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas
Mocks: NFL.com (Bucky Brooks)
After watching the defense crumble over the second half of the season, the Jaguars are intent on upgrading the front line. Sweat is a massive interior defender with the strength, power and heavy hands to snuff out the run at the point of attack.
Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
Mocks: NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah)
Mitchell had a ton of production in 2022 (five interceptions, 20 pass breakups) but wasn’t challenged as much in 2023. He is incredibly gifted and will put on a show when it comes to athletic testing.
Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
Mocks: CBS Sports (Josh Edwards)
Jacksonville’s first priority has to be re-signing Calvin Ridley, but the addition of Rome Odunze gives that room a piece to build around with Trevor Lawrence. Odunze is a bigger body with a diverse skillset.