FRANK FRANGIE: Analyzing the Jaguars 2020 draft picks

FRANK FRANGIE: Analyzing the Jaguars 2020 draft picks

By: Frank Frangie

I liked the Jags draft. Way more good than bad. I might have preferred another playmaker or two on offense, but overall I thought it was a good and important first step toward sort of a new day in Jaguars football. To that end, there were some obvious themes.

Obviously, the character thing. The Jags brass sent a pretty clear message — they have had their fill of Brinks trucks and trash talk and players popping off to the coach on the sideline and players arrested in London and on field skirmishes and the like. Enough is enough. Countless national and local writers had weighed in on what had been a toxic locker room culture. That culture HAD to change.

Give the Jags brass credit. They got it. And they addressed it. After almost every pick, you heard about how the player had great character, was a team guy, worked tirelessly, had been a team captain, etc. What you didn’t hear was a lot of guys talking about themselves. Honestly, it was really refreshing. And it matters.

To assume that, because the Jags focused on guys who had their heads on straight, they were passing up better players, is ludicrous. I saw some on social media suggest that. How dumb. News bulletin: you can be a good guy and a great player.

The other clear message was onfield toughness and physicality. Five times last year, an opponent ran for more than 200 yards. That CAN’T happen. Which is why, even though I would have preferred a few playmakers earlier in the draft, I get it. The needed size, physicality, toughness.

In free agency, the Jags brought in true middle/inside linebacker Joe Schobert, massive 330-pound run-stopping nose guard Al Woods, and physical defensive lineman Rodney Gunter, among others. Then in the draft, they added all world defender K’Lavon Chaisson, massive 320-pound defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, tough as nails, physical linebacker Shaq Quarterman. Message received. You gotta stop the run.

Nobody knows which draft picks will work out. It’s always a crapshoot. But all in all, I’m convinced this team is better than it was before March. And better than it was last Wednesday. It is young, really young. Leadership from the very few tenured Jaguars — Brandon Linder, Myles Jack, a few others — is more important than ever. Leadership from the veterans that have joined the fray — Schobert, Woods, etc. — is really critical.

And leadership from the young leaders really matters. Gardner Minshew, man does he have to be a good leader now. D. J. Chark, Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor, Josh Allen and Ronnie Harrison. Those guys are really young. But they are going to have to lead those who are even younger. They really have to step up. It’s a young team, a young locker room. But I really believe it will be a fun team. We’ll see how good a team it will be.

Other Jags/draft thoughts. …

One key will be how draftees stay healthy and play when healthy. C. J. Henderson was not as good last year as he was the year before. But one reason is he played half the season on a high ankle sprain and refused to miss big games despite playing hurt. That says volumes about his character. Now completely healthy, he is really fast, dynamic.

Laviska Shenault had surgery on a core muscle, from which he has fully recovered. When healthy, he can be spectacular. Collin Johnson was projected as a first round choice early in his career before injuries started to set in. He, too, can be so good if healthy.

I love the new weapons. I don’t think any of them have chronic injuries so there is no reason to believe they won’t be healthy. Man I hope they are. …

I believe more than ever that, when in base, this is now a 3-4 team. Whether they formally announce that or not, show it in their depth charts, is inconsequential. Doug Marrone admitted in post-draft pressers that the Sam linebacker is more likely to line up on the line of scrimmage in base. Dave Caldwell said he envisions Chaisson — the likely Sam — in a two-point stance. Add those two comments up — it adds up to a “50” front, which is a 3-4.

My only other question is, if that is how they line up, do they stand Josh Allen up on the other side — in a two-point stance — allowing him to drop some, play in space some, rush some, etc. Then it is a true 3-4. …

Man did they add to their cornerback depth. Between the draft and the signing of undrafted rookies, they have totally rebuilt that position. … I also wouldn’t be surprised if fifth round pick Daniel Thomas really pushes Harrison and Jarrod Wilson at safety. Watching the highlights, he strikes me more of a box safety than a center fielder, but we’ll see. …

I think people are going to love offensive lineman Ben Bartch. Big, physical, mauling lineman who I sense can play inside or outside. Just the whole Smoothie King thing, coming from such a small school, apparently has a big, fun personality. Can’t wait to meet him. And why do I get this sense he pushes somebody for a starting job right out of the gate? Not sure who, but somebody. …

Love the drafting of Jake Luton. Here are a few reasons why — had the Jags taken Jake Fromm from Georgia, the first time Minshew throws a tipped interception the controversy would begin. Trust me, I know people love Minshew, but they also love the backup quarterback. No position in sports is more beloved than the backup quarterback. And people around here saw how magical Fromm can be at times. Point is, they KNOW him. They like him. Who doesn’t like Jake Fromm?

The only player more popular than the backup quarterback is the backup quarterback that people know. And like. I don’t think that is why the Jags passed on him and took Luton. I think they took Luton because they liked him better and he was there when they were ready to take a quarterback. But a nice fringe benefit is there won’t be a quarterback controversy. This is Minshew’s team.

That said, I do think they may have something in Luton. Pete Prisco, who has more league contacts than anyone I know, tells me GMs love Luton. That there was a buzz about him. Lots of unknowns, he didn’t play that long. But he is big (6-foot-6), strong-armed with a beautiful throwing motion, and can put lots of weight on that frame. With no pressure to win the job, hopefully he learns, develops, and becomes a solid backup in time. That one could really work out. …

I honestly don’t know what to make of the situations with Yannick Ngakoue or Leonard Fournette. It’s clear the Jags aren’t getting the type of potential compensation they would consider for Ngakoue. Maybe no offers at all. And I get the sense they aren’t getting offers for Fournette.

To be clear, I’m guessing at all this. The Jags are wisely not saying much about either situation, nor should they. Caldwell made the point that the Jags would welcome Ngakoue back with open arms if he decided to sign the franchise tender and play this year, but I don’t sense that is happening anytime soon. Same with Fournette — hard to get a handle on where that is headed.

Both are very good players. But I do get the sense the Jags are ready to move forward with Chaisson in Ngakoue’s old spot and Rock Armstead and Divine Ozigbo in the backfield if they had to. Stay tuned. …

We’re about two weeks away from the schedule release I think. That’s the next bit of NFL news. I’m chomping at the bit. …

My guess on what happens for the here and now? I’m guessing there are no OTAs, at least other than virtual. Guessing the earliest the Jags can convene will be a traditional training camp in late July.

But I’m not yet convinced that we won’t have a relatively normal training camp. Maybe it won’t have fans in attendance, maybe it will, who knows. But I do think there is a chance that training camp commences as planned. Just a guess. …

Nothing speaks to how far the FSU program has fallen than the fact that Cam Akers was the ONLY FSU player taken in the draft. That is mind-boggling. Now Stanford Samuels and particularly Levonta Taylor could make teams. And there are good players at FSU who ultimately will be drafted. Marvin Wilson and Tamorrion Terry could be first rounders next year.

That said, I think Akers will be SO good as a pro. Both he and Florida’s Van Jefferson landed with the Rams. Both will really help them. Possible bad news since we had hoped that second first round pick next year is a high one. But I do think both are going to be really good NFL players. …

Of the seven Florida players taken, other than Henderson here, the two to watch are the defensive ends, Jabari Zuniga and Jon Greenard. Both have had injury issues, but if healthy, look out. Both can be very good players.

Also, Florida’s four senior receivers last year were really good. Jefferson was by far the best, but Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland and Josh Hammond were terrific as well. None got great acclaim because coach Dan Mullen and quarterback Kyle Trask really spread the ball around, to those four, plus running back Lamical Perine and tight end Kyle Pitts. But they all can play.

Swain (Seattle) and Cleveland (Denver) were taken near the end of the draft, Hammond was undrafted and signed with the Jags. I think all three could stick with their teams.

Here, the wide receiver room is crowded, which is a good thing. You want good competition. With Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley returning and Shenault and Johnson on the team, Hammond would probably have to beat out Keelan Cole and others to stick. May not happen, but I wouldn’t count him out. We’ll see. …

Jacob Eason to the Colts is very intriguing. Big, strong-armed, has all the measurables, but you sense something is missing with the intangibles. Fromm to the Bills is interesting as well. He has none of the measurables, but all of the intangibles. …

Overall, I thought the virtual televised draft was fantastic. They really pulled it off. Roger Goodell trying to rev up the fans got a little corny after the first few times, but for the most part, they all really did a nice job. The ESPN folks, the NFL Network folks, etc.

Yes, I could have lived without a commercial EVERY time the Jags pick was in. But by and large it was very good. …

Finally, I don’t think Shaq Quarterman beats out Schobert or Jack, so he will be a backup. And both are signed for awhile. Both are very good players. But I get this sense that, somehow, the former Oakleaf star really helps the cause here. Special teams, giving a guy a blow, injury replacement. Just really like that he is here. …

Other stuff … Yes, I will watch every swing of the Tiger, Phil, Manning, Brady golf match. Might even record it and watch it again. Can’t wait. …

My quasi-beard is starting to itch. Are beards supposed to itch? …

I think we’re starting to see a light at the end of the sports tunnel. The NBA is opening some training facilities May 1 in states that allow it. I think that is just the start. There will be some pushback, obviously. Whoever takes a first step in any walk of life — the Georgia governor opening for business, even major Lenny Curry here in Jacksonville opening beaches — is going to receive come criticism.

But I do think the sports world is trying. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more NBA players working out by mid-May and teams convening near the near the end of the month. And maybe a plan to start playing games somewhere sometime in June. Just a guess. …

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that baseball could have a plan in place but there is a major holdup because management and the union can’t agree on a split of revenues. Which is so typical baseball. Leave it to baseball’s archaic salary structure and militant negotiating tendencies to keep that sport from moving forward when others are starting to. …

I’m enjoying the Train concert on AXS. Do not judge. …

Tonight it’s Matchbox Twenty. … Stop it …

I’ll reiterate, I’m glad Curry opened our beaches. I haven’t gone out to the beach yet, but I drove around the beach yesterday — on first street in Neptune, Jax, Atlantic Beaches — it was busy but never crowded. Some folks sitting in their driveways, many walking, biking, skateboarding, etc. Lots of people. But didn’t see big gatherings, parties, cookouts, etc. Folks were adhering.

My take? People are chomping at the bit to get back at it, particularly with the weather so perfect here this time of year, but they are being respectful of the rules. Tiptoeing closer to the line, perhaps, but being respectful. …

Episodes 3 and 4 of The Last Dance are tonight. Can’t wait. …

I was so bored over the weekend I vacuumed and did numerous loads of laundry. The wife surveyed my work. I asked her how I did.

She said: “I got it from here.”

Cheers.