Jacksonville Jaguars 2017 NFL Draft Retrospective

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

How should the Jacksonville Jaguars feel about their 2017 NFL Draft class after three years? We take a deep dive into it.

Coming off a 3-13 season that saw the front office give head coach Gus Bradley his walking papers after Week 15 of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked as lost a football team as any in the NFL.

Then came the announcement Tom Coughlin had been hired as the team’s Vice-President of Football Operations.

The city of DUUUVAL was filled with excitement to have their old leader back with Doug Marrone as the new man in the hot seat. It was hailed as a huge “get” for the franchise looking for a shot of adrenaline. It was also the first steps taken for an organization about to shock the NFL world and reach the AFC title game against the New England Patriots.

Prior to this draft, the 2016 selection process brought Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue. It set the tone for the sudden explosion of success the Jaguars would enjoy in 2017. It was also the season.

The Jaguars still had issues on offense, which it addressed with three of the first four picks in 2017.

The Jaguars addressed the makings of a solid running game with the fourth pick in Leonard Fournette out of LSU and traded up to grab Alabama tackle Cam Robinson in the second round. Duauane Smoot out of Illinois had been a less-than-effective backup before this season and Dede Westbrook has shown flashes amid injuries to post back-to-back 66-catch seasons.

Remember, the 2017 offseason saw the Jaguars add Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye and Barry Church who were three instrumental pieces of the playoff puzzle.

Original Grade

FanSided: B+

"“When looking through mock drafts a realization set in that the Jaguars almost had to take Fournette. Their defense was absolutely loaded after a major improvement in 2016 and big signings and the thought of even bigger roles for some of the younger names they recently added. On offense, the wide receiver corps was not bad. It left offensive line, quarterback and running back.”"

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 4)

CURRENT TEAM: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars had their eyes on Leonard Fournette to do the same things Ezekiel Elliott did in Dallas in his rookie season the year before. He ran for 1,040 yards in his first season, leading the offense to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

Fournette’s second season was a debacle as injuries and a suspension kept him out of eight games and he fell out of favor with management, to the point he lost all his contract incentives and guarantees. There was some talk he may be released in the offseason.

The third season of his career was a defining one as he led the team in rushing (1,152 yards) and pass catches. He once again became the focal point of the offense and showed maturity on and off the field. He has grown into a leader of this team. That is a major step for the former LSU star.

Round 2 (No. 34)

CURRENT TEAM: Kansas City Chiefs

Just like everyone else, I am not sold yet on Cam Robinson being the team’s left tackle in 2020. I am not sure he is a starter, even with talk of the Jaguars moving him inside to play guard.

Robinson’s rookie season was a growing experience where he looked really good at times and like a spinning top at others. He has the size to become a force on the left side, but has not shown he can handle tough rush ends on a consistent basis.

Robinson suffered an ACL injury early in the season in 2018 and did not look like he had fully recovered. This offseason will be the deciding factor if the Jaguars made the right move to draft the former Alabama beast or they need to move on and find his replacement.

Round 3 (No. 68)

CURRENT TEAM: Jacksonville Jaguars

Smoot showed little in the first two seasons here in Jacksonville. It was a bit of a questionable pick to begin with given the team drafted Yannick Ngakoue the season before. This past season was a different story.

Walking into camp, the former Illinois star was considered a “bubble” player but showed he could finally take the next step in his growth in the NFL. He finished 2019 with six sacks and became an effective pass rusher in the rotation. He also played inside at times to help stop the run.

Round 4 (No. 110)

CURRENT TEAM: Jacksonville Jaguars

Westbrook came to the Jaguars with baggage off the field, but has matured as a player and has been a key cog in the passing game the past two seasons, catching 66 passes in 2018 and 2019.

Injuries have been a concern this past season. Also, since the Jaguars added DJ Chark and Chris Conley to the mix, Westbrook’s production has slipped. This coming season is vital for his growth as a player and whether or not he remains here in Jacksonville.

Westbrook could also help the team on punt returns and remains one of the fastest players on the roster.

Round 5 (No. 148)


Brown played two seasons in Jacksonville before he was released in 2019.

During his time with the team, he had 17 tackles and a fumble recovery. He played in 28 of 32 regular-season games in his career.

Round 7 (No. 222)


No one is quite sure how he did it, but Myrick made the Jaguars squad his rookie season. He played sparingly in his first season and was released the following season. Myrick has bounced around to the Minnesota Vikings a few times in 2018 before signing with the Atlanta Falcons.

He was released in final roster cuts with the Falcons in 2019 prior to the NFL season.

Round 7 (No. 240)

CURRENT TEAM: Houston Roughnecks (XFL)

Williams did not make it through the first season with the Jaguars. The University of Miami product signed his four-year deal with the team in May, was placed on the Injured Reserve list in September and then was released in October.

Williams was signed to Cleveland’s practice squad in December of 2017 and the active roster the same week. Now, he is playing for the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL.

Retrospective Grade

. . Jacksonville Jaguars. 2020 RETROSPECTIVE GRADE. C

Bottom Line:

Here’s the dilemma for this class. Fournette had a solid rookie season in 2017 and an even better one in 2019 as he became the focal point of the offense and led the team in rushing yards (1,152) and pass catches (76). But both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were on the board when Jacksonville took their first pick to the podium.

It’s a day that lives in infamy if you ask Jaguars fans. Fournette gives this team a dual-threat on offense. Robinson is adequate but may be replaced this offseason.

After the 2016 class that brought the team Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue, this still has potential, but the window of opportunity is running out. The Jaguars must decide what to do with Fournette – whether he gets a long-term deal or is let go after 2020.

The Jaguars still need a strong showing from all these picks. The Draft class could be a reason Jacksonville improves on a 6-10 season from 2019.

by David Levin

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