Jaguars Exploring WRs In Draft, Attempting To Move Up

APRIL 25: Jacksonville is indeed looking to move up the Day 1 order, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports. She adds teams view the Jaguars as being interested in “a specific pass-catcher.” The No. 17 spot is far beyond the range of the top three receivers available, but an aggressive push could change that with the right trade partner in place.

APRIL 23:┬áThe Jaguars were ready to make a substantial commitment at wide receiver this offseason. Following their agreement with Gabe Davis, the Jags made an aggressive effort to re-sign Calvin Ridley. A monster Titans offer intervened, but Ridley’s defection still leaves the Jags with three veteran receiver contracts on their payroll.

In addition to the Jaguars’ contracts allocated to Davis, Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the team has Evan Engram going into the second season of a three-year, $41.25MM deal. Despite a heavy commitment to staffing Trevor Lawrence‘s aerial corps, the Jaguars are still looking at receivers in this draft.

Jacksonville has done “a lot of homework” on this draft class’ top wide receivers, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes. The team has also explored moving up the board. The Jags hold the No. 17 overall selection this year. It would take a substantial trade package to move into range for one of this draft’s top three wideouts. That Marvin Harrison Jr.Malik NabersRome Odunze trio could well be off the board in the top 10. The Bears and Jets have been linked to pass-catching additions at Nos. 9 and 10, though Brock Bowers going to one of those teams could potentially help Nabers or Odunze fall out of the top 10.

With most of the trade-up talk involving quarterbacks, the Jags’ interest in adding yet another receiver is interesting. The team has not drafted a wideout in Round 1 since the Justin Blackmon miss in 2012. While the Jags have an expensive receiving corps, the $18MM-AAV Kirk contract has turned into a pay-as-you-go deal. Ditto the Jones accord, which has one season remaining. Kirk’s contract calls for a $14.5MM base salary this year; his $15.5MM 2025 number is nonguaranteed.

The Jags eyeing an early-round rookie receiver also adds up due to the team’s Lawrence situation. The fourth-year QB is on track to earn a contract in the $50MM-per-year range, and both team and player have acknowledged negotiations are ongoing. Lawrence at that rate will make veteran receiving help more difficult to afford, likely meaning changes to the former No. 1 overall pick’s weaponry contingent are coming in 2025.

Beyond the draft’s top three at receiver, this crop brings another deep group. Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com big board lists LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. and Texas’ Xavier Worthy at Nos. 16 and 17, with South Carolina’s Xavier Legette at No. 25. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah also listed Texas’ Adonai Mitchell as a first-round-caliber WR prospect. Our Ely Allen profiled the two ex-Longhorns weapons recently. Barring a trade-up, the Jags look to be a team to watch as the second wave of receiver picks starts.

Jacksonville is coming off a woeful defensive finish, and reporting has tied the AFC South club to an early-round investment — perhaps at cornerback — on that side of the ball. But the team does appear prepared to add a receiver to its stable. Due to the terms of the 2022 Ridley trade with the Falcons, the Jags do not have their own third-round pick. But they hold a compensatory third-rounder. The team also possesses its first- and second-rounders, opening the door to a wideout investment to potentially align with Lawrence’s high-priced second contract.

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