Three Teams Who Really Need a Good 2021 NFL Draft: Jaguars, Jets, 49ers

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With the NFL Draft imminent, the sporting world’s attention now turns towards who will be selected, where and what impact they could have in the league.

After an abysmal season with just one win, the Jacksonville Jaguars have the first overall pick in this year’s draft, followed by the New York Jets at #2.

This year’s NFL Draft is already capturing the imagination of players of NFL fantasy football as it features some exciting talent that could give teams like the Jaguars and Jets the shot in the arm that they desperately need next season. The draft kicks off exactly one week from today.

The draft is structured to benefit those teams who performed poorly in the previous season, so as to try and balance things out by giving them first access to the best players in any given class. This means that while every team will always want to have a good NFL draft, for a handful of franchises it is absolutely essential that they get it right, and bolster their teams sufficiently.

The Jaguars are a prime example of this. Their 2020 season was the worst in franchise history, ending with a very disappointing 1-15 record. In November, they fired general manager David Caldwell and followed that up by firing head coach Doug Marrone in January.

Now they hold the first overall draft pick for the first time in their history.

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The Jags are no strangers to drafting in the top 10, but this year they’ll truly have their pick of the bunch and they will surely go for quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The 21-year-old has proven himself a once-in-a-generation talent with the Clemson Tigers and is the sort of offensive gold dust that Jacksonville needs.

However, the Jaguars need a lot more than just a quarterback. Miami’s edge rusher Gregory Rousseau would be an excellent addition to their defensive line, given his enormous size and terrific movement skills (should he be available in a later round). 

New head coach Urban Meyer has also made it clear he wants to create one of the top defenses in the NFL, making TCU safety Trevon Moehrig another smart pick for Jacksonville in later rounds. Beefing up the secondary and adding a solid defensive end would help move towards meeting Meyer’s goal.

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The New York Jets came mightily close to getting the first overall pick and would have had it if not for their win in Week 16, coupled with the Jaguars loss to the Chicago Bears.

They initially went 0-13, which was the worst start to a season in franchise history. They once again failed to qualify for the playoffs, meaning that the Jets currently have the longest active postseason drought in the NFL. 2010 was the last season in which they qualified.

Like a lot of teams this year, the Jets need a standout quarterback and are almost certainly going to miss out on Lawrence. However, there are other excellent players at this position who will be up for grabs.

The two leading candidates are BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Wilson is incredibly accurate and has displayed excellent decision-making skills, while Fields excels with ever-important intangibles and athleticism. Either man would help the Jets offense.

The Jets could also do with a strong cornerback to shore up their defense, and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II would be an ideal fit. Smooth and instinctive, Surtain reads situations very well, but NYJ has to go QB here. 

While the Cincinnati Bengals did not perform as badly as the Jaguars or Jets, they also need a very successful draft, mainly for one reason: protecting Joe Burrow. Their star quarterback found himself sidelined through injury and it’s no real surprise, as the Bengals allowed him to absorb 32 sacks over the course of 10 games. 

They need to bring in some protection and Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell would provide just that, and more. With All-Pro potential and a sturdy frame, Sewell is the best tackle prospect in the draft. With an early pick this year, the Bengals should do what they can to secure him.

LSU wide receiver La’Marr Chase would also be a smart choice for Cincinnati, especially given how he’s a former teammate of Burrow’s.

The San Francisco 49ers traded the no. 12 pick plus two future first and third rounders to Miami in exchange for the no. 3 pick. It’s pretty clear that they’re gunning for a quarterback, though it’s safe to assume they won’t get Lawrence, so they need to get their pick right.

Wilson and Fields again fit the bill, though the latter would make more sense for the 49ers, particularly as Wilson is expected to be the second passer taken off the board, behind Lawrence. 

Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system is built around maximising the talents of the quarterback, and Fields would thrive in such a role. If they don’t go QB, then Michigan tackle Jalen Mayfield is another option for San Francisco.

A good NFL draft can make or break a team’s upcoming season, so it’s vital that they get it right.

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The Jaguars and Jets are the two teams who simply have to make good picks this year in order to turn things around, and with options like Lawrence, Wilson, Fields and Sewell, they’ve got every chance of doing so.

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