The Jaguars should not take an edge rusher with the first overall pick


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Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence behind the 2021 offensive line.

Ethan K.

As the 2022 NFL Draft inches closer, rumors regarding the draft stock of prospects and the intel of NFL executives tend to be released, many of which are completely false. With the first overall pick in this year’s draft, talks over the Jaguars’ thought-process have continued to ramp up. In my opinion, it is clear what they must do with their pick: draft a lineman and wait on an edge rusher—despite how good they may think that Travon Walker is. 

While the debate over the Jaguars pick started with Evan Neal and Aidan Hutchinson as the major prospects to consider, ESPN reports have been released stating multiple teams’ belief in Travon Walker as the best prospect in the class, including Jacksonville. It is not ridiculous to view Walker as a high first round talent, but there is simply no need for Jacksonville to select him with their pick. In the offseason, they bolstered their lineup in virtually every position (including edge-rushers) except offensive tackle. The weak offensive line must be improved, and with the number one overall pick, the Jaguars are free to select either of the three top tackles (Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal and Charles Cross) that they feel fit in improving their lineup. 

Despite the potential of bolstering a still weaker defensive front, offensive tackle is a much more pressing need for Jacksonville. Back-to-back years with the first overall pick is never good and poor draft scouting is very much the root of the failure. Selecting a better right tackle for Trevor Lawrence to pass behind would be very beneficial in taking Doug Pederson’s squad to the next level.

It won’t be easy, but in order for the Jaguars to make a turnaround, they must go after an offensive tackle early in the draft. Travon Walker is talented, but studs like David Ojabo and Jermaine Johnson could still be available in the second round for Jacksonville’s taking. In addition, the introduction of Foyesade Oluokun, a tackling monster, to the franchise this offseason makes interior and outside linebackers much less of an issue. Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal being the number one overall pick is the only way that I can see Jacksonville escaping 2022 with more success than that of their miserable past two seasons.