JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence doesn’t seem to have a true No. 1 wide receiver in Jacksonville.
Maybe it’s Christian Kirk. Maybe it’s Marvin Jones. Most likely, it will be someone who is still in college.
The Jaguars ended up doing little to nothing to improve Lawrence’s receiving corps in the NFL draft. No receivers. No tight ends. Not even a third down runner.
General manager Trent Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson selected center Luke Fortner from Kentucky with the top pick in the third round (No. 65 overall) on Friday night and added running back Snoop Conner from close range and goal line of Mississippi in the fifth round (No. 154) on Saturday.
They used five of their seven picks on the defensive side of the ball, most notably drafting Georgia pass-rusher Travon Walker with the first overall pick and moving up to add versatile Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd at No. 27.
They also drafted Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma (No. 70) in the third, Ouachita Baptist cornerback Gregory Junior (No. 197) in the sixth and Arkansas cornerback Montaric “Buster” Brown (No. 222) to open the seventh.
However, getting more help for Lawrence will likely have to wait. While many thought adding pieces around last year’s No. 1 overall pick should be the priority for a team with no identity and a new coaching staff, the Jacksonville board fell differently.
“We’re not done yet,” Baalke said, adding that the team still plans to add undrafted free agents and will keep an eye on any veterans who may be available.
The Jaguars spent big in free agency to build around Lawrence. They signed Kirk to a four-year, $72 million deal, signed Zay Jones to a three-year, $24 million contract and landed tight end Evan Engram on a one-year, $9 million deal.
But they will enter the season with Engram and fellow tight ends Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz in the final year of their deals. Same for Jones and Laquon Treadwell.
One thing to consider, though: Jacksonville is counting on dynamic running back Travis Etienne, the 25th pick overall in 2020, to be a factor after missing all of last season following a Lisfranc injury to his left foot.
“Overall, I feel great,” Pederson said. “We addressed a lot of issues early on with free agents and now we’ve brought them back in the draft. … I like this team.”
Collaboration was the word of the weekend, maybe even the last few months, for the Jaguars.
Baalke and Pederson insisted they were on the same page with each pick, and owner Shad Khan reiterated that the communication and cooperation between his front office and coaching staff has been the most enjoyable part of his franchise’s latest rebuild.
“Let’s be honest with ourselves. Our record hasn’t been a good draft, especially in the early rounds, and how can we improve? said Khan, who pointed to the years when the Jacksonville draft board was so secretive that he wasn’t allowed to see it before the draft began. “And really the answer is basically two words: collaboration and transparency. So this has been a very intense process with the coaches, with the scouts watching the movie together, a very exhausting process where there is integrity in the evaluation. …
“Obviously time will tell, but you definitely can’t be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We are doing something very different, and it started from day one. I can tell you that I feel fabulous, and I think we’ve had a really great last couple of days as an organization.”
Lloyd made one of the most impressive picks in the draft. He lifted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell off the ground as he hugged him onstage in Las Vegas Thursday night.
His mother was behind the move.
“I just told Devin to make sure he gets Roger Goodell off the ground,” Ronyta Lloyd said on Saturday. “I didn’t know I was going to pick it up like this. I just wanted to see if he could.”
SMALL SCHOOL ROBBERY?
Jacksonville made cornerback Gregory Junior the first player drafted out of little Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The Jags acquired the sixth-round pick, 197th overall, from Philadelphia for quarterback Gardner Minshew last year.
Pederson had to tell assistant coaches, scouts and even Baalke how to pronounce Ouachita (waa-shee-tuh).
“We are very confident that he will come here and compete,” Baalke said. “He showed in the Senior Bowl that he is capable of taking those steps. We’ll let him in and go to work.”
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