Pro Football Network mock draft shows Jags addressing several positions of need in top-4 rounds

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Jacksonville is set to pick first overall once again after a disappointing 3-14 season in 2021. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s development was hindered by limited pieces around him and a questionable coaching staff, which is set for a revamp after the dismissal of Urban Meyer 13 games into the season.

Heading into the 2022 offseason, it’s clear that the team has several positions of weakness that it needs to prioritize, and in the latest mock draft from Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson, the Jags address several of them. Here’s how Hodgkinson sees the first four rounds of this year’s NFL draft playing out for Jacksonville.

Round 1 - No. 1

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The pick: OT Evan Neal, Alabama

When the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick last year, few could have possibly predicted that they’d be the first team up to the podium again one year later. As we said at the time (and multiple times since), Lawrence was never going to solely transform the fortunes of the franchise around in one season.

Later in this 2022 4-Round NFL Mock Draft, the Jaguars provide some weaponry for their young signal-caller. However, the first point of service is protecting their franchise quarterback. Evan Neal transitioned from right tackle to left seamlessly this season, providing imperious protection for Bryce Young as he embarked on a Heisman Trophy-winning campaign. Neal combines size, strength, athleticism, and impressive technique to be the obvious first overall choice.

Many expect the Jags to take one of the top edge rushers in Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson, but there are concerns about whether either is an elite enough prospect to justify the top pick. Instead, why not invest in a player that will protect Lawrence’s blindside for the foreseeable future?

Neal can play on the right side, too, and he’s one of the better tackle prospects in recent years. Taking him at the top of the draft would probably be the safest pick the Jags could make.

Round 2 - No. 33

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The pick: DE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

Johnson, who transferred from Georgia to Florida State this season, was one of the top transfers in the country. He was dominant for the Seminoles’ defense, totaling 11.5 sacks on the season. If the Jags decide to pass on one of the two top edge rushers like Hodgkinson projects here, they could do a lot worse than Johnson at the top of the second round.

Round 3 - No. 65

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The pick: WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati

The Jags need some receiver help this offseason, and they could look to target a free agent like Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, or Allen Robinson. They could also look to address the position in the draft, though, and Hodgkinson has them taking Pierce, Cincinnati’s leading receiver from 2021, at the top of the third round.

Pierce reeled in 52 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns this season, and he has good size at 6-foot-3-inches. He may not be a No. 1 option, but he would be a nice addition to the Jags’ offensive repertoire.

Round 3 - No. 70

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The pick: OG Ed Ingram, LSU

Ingram was a four-year starter in college for the Tigers, and with uncertainty about Andrew Norwell’s future as a pending unrestricted free agent, this pick makes sense. Ben Bartch is likely to take over for A.J. Cann on the right side in 2022, but drafting Ingram could give the Jags a new starter at left guard if Norwell isn’t retained.

Round 4 - No. 103

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The pick: CB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State

McCollum is one of the top corners in the FCS, and he totaled 50 tackles and three interceptions in his final season during the fall 2021 slate. Cornerback isn’t a major need for the Jags, as they have their future starting duo in Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin, but they need to add some depth behind those two. McCollum would fit the bill.

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