National Football League
2024 Jacksonville Jaguars 7-round mock draft: WR to replace Calvin Ridley a priority
National Football League

2024 Jacksonville Jaguars 7-round mock draft: WR to replace Calvin Ridley a priority

Published Apr. 16, 2024 5:03 p.m. ET

Last season's collapse remains front of mind for the Jaguars

At the owners meetings last month, coach Doug Pederson said he doesn't know if he'll ever get over it. Linebacker Foye Oluokun on Tuesday said what happened will never be in the rearview mirror, that it will fuel the team entering 2024. 

After a free-agency period that featured notable additions like wide receiver Gabe Davis and defensive tackle Arik Armstead, which prospects could Jacksonville look to add in the NFL Draft to get the team back on track? 

Here is FOX Sports' seven-round mock draft for the Jags: 


Round 1, No. 17 overall: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 209 pounds
2023 stats (13 games): 68 receptions for 1,177 yards and 17 TDs

Adding Davis in free agency isn't enough for the Jaguars to replace Calvin Ridley, who signed with the rival Tennessee Titans. They'll need a player who has the potential to be a WR1 long-term. 

Thomas, who led the FBS with 17 touchdowns in 2023, was one-half of the most productive wide receiver tandem in college football last season. Along with Davis, the former LSU star would give Jacksonville another outside receiver to take the top off the defense, forming a complement to receiver Christian Kirk (at his best out of the slot) and tight end Evan Engram

Round 2, No. 48 overall: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri
Measurables: 5-foot-11, 183 pounds
2023 stats (9 games): 35 tackles (1.5 for loss), 3 PBUs, 1 FF

The Jags released starting cornerback Darious Williams as a cap casualty, and Tyson Campbell — entering a contract year — had a down 2023. Jacksonville signed veteran Ronald Darby to a two-year deal in free agency, but the reality is that the team still needs a long-term starter at the position. 

An aggressive corner, Rakestraw is at his best in press-man coverage, which makes him a natural fit in new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's scheme. Rakestraw's versatility also makes him valuable. He played outside cornerback on both sides and slid inside in Missouri's defense. He could potentially play slot for the Jaguars, sharing time with veteran safety Darnell Savage

Rakestraw's injury history is one to watch, though. He missed four games last season with a groin injury. 

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Round 3, No. 96 overall: T'Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas 
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 366 pounds
2023 stats (14 games): 45 tackles (8 for loss), 2 sacks, 4 PBUs, 1 blocked kick (special teams)

The Jaguars' big three on the defensive line of Josh Allen, Travon Walker and free-agent acquisition Arik Armstead could use help, particularly out of the interior. Roy Robertson-Harris is entering his age-31 season and DaVon Hamilton missed nine games in 2023. The unraveling of Jacksonville's run defense played a key role in the team's collapse last season. General manager Trent Baalke also has a history of drafting defensive linemen high, dating back to his time in San Francisco. 

At 366 pounds, Sweat could be a force as a space-clogger in the trenches, opening up opportunities for his teammates. Last season, he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and the Outland Trophy winner (awarded to the best interior lineman in college football). 

One of the top defensive tackles in this year's class, Sweat's recent arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated probably drops him into this range. The Jags have the kind of leadership across the defensive front (Allen, Armstead, Oluokun) to make this selection palpable. 

[READ MORE: 2024 NFL Draft DT rankings: Jer'Zhan Newton headlines top-10 prospect list]

Round 4, No. 114 overall: Javon Foster, OT, Missouri
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 313 pounds
2023 stats (13 games): 13 starts at left tackle 

Not only could the Jaguars use more offensive tackle depth in 2024, but they also must start thinking long-term at the position. Left tackle Cam Robinson is entering the final year of his contract, and it's unclear if the franchise views backup Walker Little as a long-term option to protect Trevor Lawrence's blindside. A former second-round pick, Little is also entering a contract year. 

Of Foster's 41 career starts in five seasons at Missouri, 39 came at left tackle. He was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2023. 

Round 4, No. 116 overall (via New Orleans Saints): Kitan Oladapo, S, Oregon State
Measurables: 6-foot-2, 216 pounds
2023 stats (13 games): 10 PBUs, 2 INTs, 74 tackles (3 for loss), 1 sack, 1 FF

On paper, Darnell Savage Jr. looks like a natural replacement at safety for Rayshawn Jenkins, who was cut as a cap casualty. But Pederson indicated at the owners meeting that Jacksonville could play Savage at nickel. That would leave a void at safety alongside starter Andre Cisco

Oladapo projects as a strong safety in the NFL, which would complement Cisco, who typically plays deep. 

Oladapo earned All-Pac 12 honors each of the past three seasons as a starter. He led the Beavers in interceptions and pass breakups in 2023. 

Round 5, No. 153 overall: Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 302 pounds 
2023 stats (9 games): nine starts at right guard

Jacksonville is short on quality interior offensive-line depth, and Brandon Scherff — whose contract was restructured earlier this offseason — is entering the last year of his deal. The team's future at right guard is unclear. 

Robinson started 33 of 45 career appearances for the Aggies at right guard, earning second-team All-SEC honors. His strengths lie in the run game, where the Jags are hoping to make significant improvement in 2023. The team ranked 24th in rushing yards per game and 31st in rushing yards per attempt last season. 

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Round 6, No. 212 overall: Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 212 pounds
2023 stats (15 games): 47 catches for 604 yards and a TD

The priority is special teams help at this point in the draft, but more wide receiver depth wouldn't hurt the Jaguars. Ridley is a big loss. 

Johnson has the size and upside to be a rotational outside receiver in the NFL. He led Michigan with six receiving touchdowns in 2022. 

Round 7, No. 236 overall: Jack Westover, TE, Washington 
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 243 pounds
2023 stats (15 games): 46 receptions for 433 yards and 4 TDs

Pederson's commitment to improving the run game could lead to a prospect like Westover, a versatile tight end who projects as an H-back. He was a two-year starter at Washington and was third in the Huskies' explosive offense with 46 receptions, showing that he could bring pass-catching value to Jacksonville.

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.


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