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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Jaguars’ free agency moves change draft dynamic for Lions at No. 2

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For several weeks, the general consensus was that the Jacksonville Jaguars were ready to take an offensive lineman with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. However, the recent moves the Jaguars have made are giving a strong indication. that they’re looking in a different direction with the No. 1 pick, one that has a huge ripple effect on the Detroit Lions and the No. 2 pick.

First, Jacksonville used the franchise tag designation on starting left tackle Cam Robinson for the second straight season. While it’s just another one-year situation, it’s a hefty investment — about $16.5 million — for the 2022 season. Now, the Jaguars reportedly are, too. agreed to sign one of the best available Free agent offensive linemen in Brandon Scherff. Scherff, who made the Pro Bowl in five of the past six seasons, had been the Washington Commanders’ right guard and represents another big paycheck in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have two recent second-round picks, Walker Little (2021) and Juwan Taylor (2019), fighting for the right tackle job against Robinson. Scherff is a premium replacement for free agent AJ Cann.

While it doesn’t eliminate the need for an offensive tackle for the Jaguars, especially in the long run, it does make it seem much more likely that Jacksonville GM Trent Baalke will use the No. 1 pick to help on defense. The likely target is Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, who has been the consensus projection for the Lions at No. 2 overall.

If the Jaguars take Hutchinson, Detroit isn’t in the market for one of the best offensive tacklers. That would leave a choice between Georgia DE Travon Walker, Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton or perhaps a quarterback like Liberty’s Malik Willis at No. 2 for the Lions.

With a new regimen and a young quarterback in Trevor Lawrence who needs all the help he can get, the Jaguars could still take an offensive tackle at No. 1 overall. Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu should still be in contention for the top spot. However, based on the Jaguars’ actions, it seems less likely they’ll use the first pick on an offensive tackle.

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