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Jacksonville Jaguars NFL draft picks 2021: Analysis for every selection

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Trevor Lawrence's college highlights show his NFL readiness (1:25)

Relive QB Trevor Lawrence's college career at Clemson as he heads into the 2021 NFL draft as the top overall prospect. (1:25)

The 2021 NFL draft was held April 29 through May 1, and every Jacksonville Jaguars draft pick has been analyzed here.

After last season's virtual draft, Cleveland played host to the festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.

Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Jacksonville has selected will fit.

Analysis of every NFL pick | Updated NFL depth charts


Round 1, No. 1 overall: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

My take: This was a no-brainer for the Jaguars, who have been searching for a franchise quarterback since Mark Brunell led the team to four consecutive playoff appearances (including two AFC title games) from 1996 to '99. Lawrence is the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, and he has lost just four games as a starting QB since he began high school. Lawrence steps into a situation with a 1,000-yard rusher (James Robinson), a veteran receiver (Marvin Jones Jr.) and an offensive line that returns all five starters. He's also got an experienced offensive coordinator in Darrell Bevell, so things are in place for him to have success as a rookie.

No. 1 QBs: Lawrence is the 26th quarterback taken first overall since 1970, and his goal is to snap a streak of those QBs failing to win a Super Bowl. The last QB taken first overall to do that was Eli Manning (drafted in 2004), who led the New York Giants to a pair of titles. Lawrence is also trying to snap the Jaguars' first-round QB misses. They've previously taken three -- Byron Leftwich (2003), Blaine Gabbert (2011) and Blake Bortles (2014) -- but Bortles is the only one to have won a playoff game. When he starts Week 1, Lawrence will be the seventh QB to start a game for the Jaguars since the beginning of the 2018 season.

Rare Tiger: Clemson produced 64 NFL draft picks under head coach Dabo Swinney from 2008 to '20, but the Jaguars drafted only one of those players: DE Andre Branch (38th overall in 2012). In fact, Branch was the only Clemson player the Jaguars had drafted in franchise history until taking Lawrence.


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Travis Etienne bringing his big-play ability to the NFL

Check out the highlights that make Clemson's Travis Etienne a coveted RB prospect ahead of the 2021 NFL draft.

Round 1, No. 25 overall: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

My take: Urban Meyer said he wanted to add speed at receiver and running back and Etienne qualifies (he ran a 4.45 at his pro day). Expect the Jaguars to use him as a third-down back and line him up in the backfield, in the slot, and flexed out wide. It's similar to the way Meyer used Percy Harvin at Florida, and he brought up Harvin's name in his comments after the pick. Etienne is a home-run threat and that's not something the Jaguars have had at running back since the first few years of Maurice Jones-Drew's career.

Wear and tear: If there's a concern about Etienne it's the amount of wear and tear on his body. Etienne had 821 touches (686 carries, 102 receptions, 32 kickoff returns, 1 punt return) in his four-year career at Clemson. He was extremely productive, though: He's the ACC's all-time leading rusher (4,952 yards) and he scored 78 total touchdowns from scrimmage. Etienne certainly won't have the workload he did at Clemson, with James Robinson and Carlos Hyde handling the bulk of the carries.

Finding big plays: Etienne was a big-play machine at Clemson and that's something that Meyer noted was missing from the Jaguars' offense in 2020. They had the fewest rushes of 20 yards or more and receptions of 30 yards or more in the NFL with 16. They scored only three TDs on those explosive plays, which was fewer than every team except Chicago and Miami.


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Tyson Campbell's NFL draft profile

Check out the highlights from Georgia CB Tyson Campbell's college career.

Round 2, No. 33 overall: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

My take: This pick may be more about the way the Jaguars feel about CJ Henderson than anything else. The Jaguars took Henderson ninth overall last season, but he struggled with consistency and missed eight games with a groin injury. They signed Shaquill Griffin to a three-year, $40 million contract ($29 million guaranteed) in March, so he'll be one starter. Campbell and Henderson will have to compete and the loser likely moves inside as the nickel back. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Campbell allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 59% of their passes when they targeted him in coverage last season. Campbell is a three-year starter and has just one interception in 33 games.


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Walker Little's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from Stanford OT Walker Little's college career.

Round 2, No. 45 overall: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

My take: The Jaguars are looking ahead to 2022 with the Little pick. The team franchised Cam Robinson this year, so it would seem a long-term deal for Robinson is unlikely -- or the Jaguars could potentially move Little to right tackle if Jawaan Taylor doesn't work out and they do opt to keep Robinson beyond 2021. The tackle play has to improve, because Robinson (nine) and Taylor (18) combined to allow more than half of the Jaguars' 44 sacks. Little, who played 796 of his 804 snaps at Stanford at left tackle, was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection as a sophomore in 2018, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2019 season opener, and opted out of the 2020 season.


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Andre Cisco's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from Syracuse S Andre Cisco's college career.

Round 3, No. 65 overall: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

My take: The Jaguars need playmakers in the secondary and Cisco was one of the best in the country in 2018-19 when he had 12 interceptions (most in FBS). All of the Jaguars' safeties from 2018-20 combined for 10 interceptions. Cisco finished his career with 13 interceptions in 24 games. The Jaguars signed strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins in free agency and Cisco will compete with Jarrod Wilson to be the starter at free safety. Cisco did, however, miss 11 games last season after suffering a torn ACL when he collided with a teammate during pre-game warmups, so it's unclear at this point when he'll be completely cleared.


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Jay Tufele's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from USC DT Jay Tufele's college career.

Round 4, No. 106 overall: Jay Tufele, DT, USC

My take: Tufele opted out of the 2020 season because several family members contracted COVID-19. However, he was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2019 when he had 41 tackles (6.5 for loss) and 4.5 sacks as a sophomore. This pick likely signifies the end of the road for 2018 first-round pick Taven Bryan, who lost his starting job midway through the 2020 season. Tufele played defensive tackle and nose tackle at USC and at 6-3, 315 pounds, he has the size and versatility to play inside and outside.


Round 4, No. 121 overall: Jordan Smith, OLB, UAB

My take: Smith (who started his career at Florida but was dismissed from the program for his involvement in a credit card fraud scam) is a physical mismatch at 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds. He was very productive at Butler Community College (22.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks). He had 10 sacks and four forced fumbles in his first season at UAB, 3 pass breakups, and a forced fumble. The Jaguars needed edge rush help since Josh Allen is the only proven pass-rusher on the roster (12.5 sacks in two seasons). K'Lavon Chaisson, the 20th pick in 2020, had one sack as a rookie. The Jaguars' switch to a 3-4 scheme meant this position was going to be a big need.


Round 5, No. 145 overall: Luke Farrell, TE, Ohio State

My take: The Jaguars finally drafted a tight end -- just not one regarded as a good pass-catcher. Farrell had just 34 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns in 44 career games (he played under Urban Meyer for two years). He has good size (6-foot-6, 258 pounds) and is regarded as a solid blocker, which will certainly help in the run game. The Jaguars signed Chris Manhertz in free agency to be a blocker (12 career catches in seven seasons) and now they have two tight ends they can use in the run game.


Round 6, No. 209 overall: Jalen Camp, WR, Georgia Tech

My take: Camp is a big (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), fast receiver who had a monster performance at Georgia Tech's pro day. He did 225 pounds on the bench press 30 times -- which would have broken the NFL combine record for receivers -- and ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. Camp had 29 catches, 439 yards and four TDs in 2020, after he had 19 receptions in the three previous years when Georgia Tech ran the option. Urban Meyer wanted to add speed to the roster and Camp certainly helps. Expect him to find a role on special teams.