It’s officially mock draft season for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the godfather of NFL Draft predictions took his first stab at it.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of the offseason and thinks the Jaguars could use a little help in the secondary. With the 24th overall pick, Kiper thinks Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks is a logical choice:
How about those Jaguars? After an AFC South title in 2022, shouldn’t they be the early favorites to win it again? General manager Trent Baalke did a nice job filling holes last offseason, but the pass rush still was mediocre, the off-ball linebackers struggled badly in coverage and there’s an open corner spot opposite Tyson Campbell. With a strong cornerback class in this draft, Baalke & Co. could target Banks, a man-coverage defender with exceptional physical tools. He could rise as we get closer to the draft once NFL teams see him test at the combine. And yes, this makes five cornerbacks off the board in Round 1.
Another position to keep an eye on for Jacksonville is tight end, where Evan Engram is a free agent. Luke Musgrave (Oregon State) and Dalton Kincaid (Utah) could be options.
The Jaguars began the season with Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin at cornerback, but the latter suffered a season-ending back injury. After struggling to find consistent play opposite Campbell, the Jaguars eventually moved Darious Williams from the slot and found success with the former Rams cornerback playing on the outside.
Williams could be the starter again in 2023, but the Jaguars need help at cornerback, regardless. Tre Herndon is set to become a free agent and Griffin is likely to get released due to his $17.1 million salary cap hit.
Banks was the fifth cornerback off the board in Kiper’s mock behind Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, and Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes.