Jaguars could fill need for playmaking wide receiver in NFL Draft

ESPN's Mel Kiper has Jaguars selecting Florida WR Kadarius Toney in 2nd round

John Reid
Florida Times-Union
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Possibly the 2021 receivers class for the upcoming NFL Draft could likely make the most significant immediate impact among any other position besides quarterback.

It's a deep, talented group and comparable to the 2020 class that had 13 receivers selected over the first two rounds. Teams like the Jaguars need not panic if they have to fill more vital roster spots in the first round than at receiver.

Former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the Jaguars' presumptive No. 1 overall pick, but several mock drafts have the Jaguars selecting a safety or offensive tackle with their 25th overall pick in the first round.

How to watch:The 2021 NFL Draft — all three days of it — on TV, live stream

The Jaguars signed former Detroit Lions veteran receiver Marvin Jones Jr., in free agency and they already have young emerging receivers DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault.   

Nonetheless, this receiving is deep enough that the Jaguars could land a potential star even if they wait until Day 2 or 3 of the draft to select a receiver.

''All the way into the fourth and fifth round, there's going to be good wide receivers,'' NFL draft expert Daniel Jeremiah said. 

Talent hunt:Trevor Lawrence, then who else? Here's our Jaguars seven-round mock NFL Draft

Priorities:2021 NFL Draft: Jaguars still need more defensive line help

Talent topped by Ja'Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith

But the elite talent of the group - LSU's Ja'Marr Chase, Alabama's DeVonta Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, and Alabama's Jayden Waddle, are all projected to be among the top 13 picks in the first round. 

Seven of Jeremiah's top 50 players are receivers - Chase (No. 3), Waddle (No. 5), Smith (No. 6), Kadarius Toney (No. 23), Terrace Marshall Jr. (No. 37), Elijah Moore (No. 38), and Rashod Bateman (No. 48). 

''Ja'Marr, to me is the best receiver in the draft, just because of everything he can do,'' Jeremiah said. ''I think a lot of times when you're watching receivers, you see guys that can win with separation and quickness, and you see guys that can win with physicality. When you watch (Chase) at LSU in 2019, you see examples of both, where he can separate from people off the line of scrimmage and at the top of his route. He plays big to go up and get the football.''

LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (6) runs the ball for a touchdown against South Carolina.

In ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, he has Chase going seventh to the Detroit Lions and Smith at No. 8 to the Carolina Panthers. Kiper has six receivers going in the first round - including Waddle at 11th to the New York Giants, Ole Miss' Moore 22nd to the Tennessee Titans, LSU's Marshall 27th to the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota's Bateman at 29th to the Green Bay Packers. 

Kiper has the Jaguars using their 33rd pick, the first overall selection in the second round, to select Florida's Toney. Kiper wrote that Jacksonville could be a great spot for Toney because Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell could scheme up ways to get him and Laviska Shenault Jr. out of the slot. Because of his big-play potential, Toney would help take the pressure off quarterback Trevor Lawrence with some easy touches, Kiper wrote.

A four-year player for the Gators, Toney caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, averaged 14.1 yards per catch. 

Toney ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at Florida's Pro Day on March 31. 

''I felt I came in and handled business like I was really supposed to,'' Toney said after his Pro Day performance. ''Teams got a better feel of the kind of person I am and the type of skill set I bring to the table.''

North Carolina's Dyami Brown (2) pulls in a pass in front of North Carolina State's Malik Dunlap (24) in an October game.

If the Jaguars don't opt to select a wide receiver in the first two rounds, they could still meet their needs for a playmaking caliber receiver in the middle rounds of the draft. The Florida Times-Union mock draft has the Jaguars selecting North Carolina wide receiver Dyami Brown with their third-round pick, No. 65 overall.

Brown caught 55 passes for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns last season and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds at the Tar Heels Pro Day on March 29. 

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