Perhaps the Jacksonville Jaguars will make some changes throughout the offseason in 2023. Keep in mind that they still have a few openings on their squad. Of course, they can do so through the draft, particularly with certain players who aren’t currently on anyone’s radar. Here we’ll look at the three sleeper rookie prospects for the Jacksonville Jaguars to target in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars are experiencing a different type of offseason compared to previous years as they will be selecting near the end of the draft for the first time since 2018. For over two decades, the team has typically picked in the top 10. That has made it easier to predict which prospects would be available for selection. That’s not the case this time around, though. One question is this — how will the Jags go? Will they be more offensive-focused as the team and build around Trevor Lawrence? Or will they make their defense more robust, especially after the departure of LB Arden Key?
Although the Jaguars signed a few players during the free agency period, the team is now turning its attention to the draft. Most notably, Jacksonville re-signed Roy Robertson-Harris, backup quarterback CJ Beathard, and running back JaMycal Hasty. They also brought back cornerback Tre Herndon, safety Andrew Wingard, and cornerback Tevaughn Campbell. Looking ahead, coach Doug Pederson & Co. are putting a lot of pressure on their drafting ability this offseason. We’ll see how they do.
Let’s look at three sleeper draft prospects for the Jaguars in 2023.
1. Adetomiwa Adebawore
Kansas City native Adetomiwa Adebawore was a three-star recruit in the 2019 class and ranked as the 27th overall recruit in Missouri by 247Sports. He received offers from 15 different schools and chose to attend Northwestern over programs like Air Force, Army, Colgate, and Yale. As a true freshman, he played in eight games and recorded two tackles and a sack in reserve duty. Adebawore’s role increased in 2020, resulting in multiple starts and 17 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, and two pass deflections. In 2021, he started 12 games and led the Wildcats with 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. These helped him earn an All-Big Ten honorable mention.
Keep in mind that the Jaguars are in need of frontline players. Adebawore is a unique athlete in this draft class who could potentially fill that role. Yes, his career production may not be impressive. Additionally, he is still developing as a high-volume pass rusher. Still, he has the necessary traits to play multiple positions in the Jaguars’ defense. Of course, his potential as an interior pass-rusher makes him a viable replacement for Key. The question is whether Adebawore is worth selecting in the first round. Some experts consider him a reach at No. 24. However, his athleticism may also make it unlikely for him to slip past the 55th pick in the draft. If he is still available at No. 56, he could be a serious consideration for the Jaguars.
I’d recommend not blocking Adetomiwa Adebawore #99 NW with a TE. Doesn’t end well pic.twitter.com/XQys2EFcLs
— Daniel Harms (@InHarmsWay19) April 4, 2023
2. Derick Hall
As the Jaguars consider bolstering their pass rush, someone like Derick Hall should be on their draft board. Recall that he had a strong showing during the Senior Bowl and is projected to be a first-round selection. Take note that Hall has amassed 19.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and 28 tackles for loss over the past three seasons. We have no doubt he would provide the Jaguars with another young pass-rusher to develop alongside Travon Walker and Josh Allen.
Again, remember that the Jaguars need to improve their pass rush as last year’s group may not be able to return a full strength. Despite having a high pressure rate, the Jaguars struggled to convert them into sacks. They even finished the season ranked 26th in sacks and 29th in adjusted sack rate. Selecting Hall with the 24th pick in the draft could potentially help the team flip that trend and improve their defensive metrics.
1. Will McDonald IV
Another potential sleeper is Will McDonald IV from Iowa State. Some feel the Jags are set to pick him to replace Arden Key. McDonald and Key are both similar in size and are most effective when allowed to rush quarterbacks. McDonald has played in over 50 college games and recorded 34 sacks over four seasons. He had his most productive years in 2020 and 2021, with double-digit sacks in each season and receiving Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year and First-Team All-Big-12 honors in 2021. In 2022, his production decreased to five sacks, though. This may have been due to playing in different positions along the defensive front.
McDonald is a speed rusher who uses a quick first step to attack offensive tackles on the outside edges. He has effective hand counters such as the two-hand swipe and cross chop to get the edge and turn the corner on linemen to reach the quarterback. However, his lateral moves appear segmented. He is also limited in his ability to change direction quickly. This may affect his ability to put pressure on NFL-caliber offensive linemen laterally. Still adding him to the Jacksonville d-line could still be a huge plus for the squad.
The post 3 sleeper prospects for Jaguars to target in 2023 NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.