Fri, 07 May 2021

Looking Back: 2021 NFL Draft, Day 2

Jaguars
02 May 2021, 05:06 GMT+10

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.com by John Oehser & Bucky Brooks

JACKSONVILLE - Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars Media/NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks look back at Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft, on which the Jaguars selected CB Tyson Campbell, OL Walker Little and S Andre Cisco...

Brooks ...

1.Stars matter. It is not a coincidence that the Jaguars spent Day 2 collecting former five-star recruits. Meyer's vast experience recruiting the best high school players certainly influenced the team's decisions to select Campbell and Little - potential impact players in the 2021 class. Campbell and Little were not only celebrated as elite recruits coming out of high school, but they were regarded as the best players at their respected positions, as evidenced by their five-star ratings. This distinction matters in the recruiting world, particularly for college coaches, and that reputation sticks with prospects throughout the pre-draft process. Considering Meyer has always assembled rosters at Florida and Ohio State loaded with blue-chip prospects, the continuation of that trend should not come as a surprise. The draft is about acquiring talent and the Jaguars made it a point to add players with elite traits to the roster.

2.Don't sleep on Andre Cisco. The Syracuse product might've slipped into the third round, but he could be one of the most impactful young players on the Jaguars' roster. Cisco has exceptional instincts, awareness and ball skills as a deep middle defender with a knack for reading the quarterback's eyes and diagnosing routes. Moreover, he isn't afraid to pull the trigger and that is the difference between coming down with an interception or simply registering a PBU (pass break up) on the ball. For a Jaguars defense that desperately needs to generate more turnovers in 2021, the addition of a playmaking safety with a track record of production is a step in the right direction.

3.Day 3 is about finding hidden gems. If you ask long-time team builders about the draft, they will quickly tell you that the great teams find starters on the first two days, but the final day is about finding developmental players with big-time potential. In theory, the Jaguars could take chances on prospects with elite traits (height/weight/speed) or gamble on premier players who were downgraded on draft boards due to medical or character concerns. The risk-reward factor on Day 3 prospects could prompt the Jaguars to roll the dice more on players with "boom-or-bust" potential. This could lead to some surprise picks that don't necessarily fill a need but gives the team a chance to secure a blue-chip talent on the cheap. If the Jaguars can find a hidden gem to add to a draft weekend haul that already features a handful of elite players, this roster could become competitive in a hurry.

Oehser...

1.Andre Cisco has the feel of a steal. The Jaguars selected Andre Cisco, a safety from Syracuse, with the No. 65 selection of the 2021 NFL Draft - the first selection of Round 3. This was later than many observers projected the Jaguars to select a safety, but forget the pre-draft speculation: this has the feel of a critical selection - and the feel of a player who can make a quick impact. Cisco missed all but two games in 2020 after sustaining a season-ending knee injury, but he said Friday he is about 85 percent healthy and is hoping to be 100 percent when training camp opens in late July. If so, look for Cisco to contribute immediately. He is a ball-hawking safety with an eye-catching 13 interceptions in 21 career starts collegiately. Jaguars Head Coach Urban gushed about Cisco late Friday, saying he had the best ball skills of any safety in the draft. "He's a guy we all just fell in love with," Meyer said.

2.The Jaguars like Campbell as a nickel. When the Jaguars used the No. 33 selection on cornerback Tyson Campbell Friday, observers immediately wondered what it meant for second-year veteran CJ Henderson. But Head Coach Urban Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke made clear late Friday that the Campbell selection was about adding a talented young player to the secondary as a nickel corner and not replacing Henderson - the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft - outside. Meyer specified late Friday that he expects Henderson to start outside, and the Jaguars signed cornerback Shaquill Griffin as an unrestricted free agent in March to start opposite Henderson. Campbell gives the Jaguars a third corner capable of playing man-to-man at a high level, something Meyer emphasized late Friday. "If we can hold up, we're going to play much more man coverage," Meyer said. "That hurt the Jaguars last year. That was an area of need, we didn't play well in the back end of our defense."

3.Pedigree is mattering to the Jaguars. Through two days and five selections, a common thread can be seen in the Jaguars' 2021 NFL Draft: physical talent and ability appear to matter very much. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Running back Travis Etienne. Offensive tackle Walker Little. Campbell. All were highly recruited, blue-chip, five-star recruits. Lawrence, Etienne and Campbell performed at a high level collegiately, and Little was a Pac-12 all-conference selection as a sophomore in his lone healthy college seasons. Perhaps this is the influence of Meyer, who was familiar with the top college players from his time as head coach at Ohio State University and as a college football analyst on Fox Sports. Or perhaps it's a desire to select comparatively low-risk prospects in a draft year in which scouting was trickier because of COVID-19 restrictions. Either way, this so far is a class of blue-chip, high-level athletes who have absolutely showed big-time traits throughout their football careers.

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