Jacksonville Jaguars will not be successful unless they draft, develop, and re-sign premium athletes – Jacksonville Jaguars blog

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville JaguarsWe are selecting the top 10 NFL draft picks for the 14th consecutive year.

They’ll be making the first overall pick for the second consecutive year and will have a top-five selection for the eighth time in the past 11 years.

They have so many high draft picks. Because they’ve lost 10 or more games in 10 of the past 11 seasons.

They have lost so many games. Because they’ve drafted poorly, especially when it comes to those high picks.

It’s a vicious circle that won’t end until the franchise starts hitting on its picks, developing them into core players and signing them to second or third deals, instead of trying to fix its draft mistakes via free agency.

“If you look at our roster, there's very few players that are second-contract Jaguars, and that's something that has to change if we want to change the culture and the direction of the organization,” general manager Trent Baalke said. “It's going to start there. It's going to start by drafting well, developing well and getting guys into their second contracts.”

Baalke, who is in his second season as the team’s GM, has a pretty low bar to top at this point. Only four current players are currently on the roster with their second or third contracts: left tackle Cam RobinsonGuard/tackle for the second franchise tag Will Richardson Jr., defensive end Dawuane SmootPunter Logan Cooke.

Robinson is the most prominent of the group. However, none of them have even come close to being named to the Pro Bowl. Richardson has only started five games.

Only 10 of the Jaguars’ 59 draft picks between 2012 and 2019 have signed a second contract. Only one (quarterback). Blake Bortles) was taken in the first round (2014). Wide receiver was the other player who signed second deals. Marqise Lee(second round 2014), center Brandon Linder (third round, 2014), linebacker Telvin SmithGuard (fifth round 2014), A.J. Cann (third round, 2015), linebacker Myles JackSmoot (second round in 2016), Cooke (3rd round in 2017), Cooke (7th Round, 2018), Richardson (4th Round, 2018), and Robinson (2nd Round, 2017).

Defensive end Josh Allen was the team’s first-round pick in 2019 and is eligible to sign an extension this offseason; the team has until May 2 to exercise their fifth-year option on his contract.

These were the top 10 picks in the first round from 2012-20

It’s hard to win games when you’re getting little or no production out of your premium draft picks — and it’s hard to catch up when you’re trying to fix those mistakes through free agency.

Jaguars are hoping to draft a quarterback Trevor LawrenceThe first step towards changing the direction of the franchise was to be ranked first in 2021. They also hope to see last year’s second-rounder. Travis Etienne Jr.Will make an impact in 2022After suffering a Lisfranc Injury, Baalke missed his rookie season. Baalke is offered another chance this year’s first pick to add another foundational piece, whether it’s defensive end Aidan HutchinsonOffensive tackles Evan NealOr Ikem EkwonuOr a surprise selection — such as a defensive lineman Travon Walker.

It will take several more years before we’ll know if the Jaguars have reached the point where they’re not relying on free agency to keep filling the holes they’ve created by not drafting well — the way they did this spring when they spent $175.3 million in guaranteed money on free agents.

“The rosters are always evolving in this league,” Baalke said. “You look at the league; the natural thing is 30-40% turnover almost on a yearly basis. There’s a lot of churning of rosters. Guys become free agents and move on. Guys get injured, they don’t come back. There’s a lot of factors involved, but we had to address some serious needs that the organization had. If you look at the past drafts, there just aren’t that many players that are still left for various reasons, whether they chose to go on their own, they were traded out or whatever.

“We feel real good about where we’re at. And what we’re trying to build is stability within the ranks — keep as many guys, don’t churn the roster as much as it has been churned here. Make sure you get guys in their second contracts with the Jaguars. That’s the important thing. Once we start getting in that rhythm, I think the build will really take care of itself.”

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