If you’ve ever watched any sort of behind-the-scenes video of a real NFL draft room, you’ve certainly seen the blurring of that team’s draft board in the background, so as to not reveal what it thought of various other prospects.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, it seems, are balking at such convention.
In a team-produced series called “The Hunt,” the Jaguars have given their fans a peek behind the curtain of how they put together a star-studded draft class that includes Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and others.
One interesting element revealed in Episode 3: The NFL apparently made the Jaguars wait before they selected Lawrence with the first pick overall, and there’s a pretty funny backstory to it.
But for the NFL draft junkies, there was more intrigue.
Right around the 6:51 mark of the video, we see Jags owner Shad Khan placing the Lawrence magnet next to the team’s slot on the draft board. But if you really squint, you can see what all the magnet says — including his draft grade. (We circled the grade in red.)
Lawrence has a mark of 8.0. So what does that mean? We don’t know exactly, mainly because different teams use different grading systems. But on a traditional scale, which often goes from 3.0 or 4.0 all the way up to a 9.0, his 8.0 grade would mean the Jaguars viewed Lawrence as a pretty special prospect.
Naturally — they selected him first overall, after all.
But here’s the fascinating part: The Jaguars had at least one other 8.0 prospect on their board, and the one we know about isn’t another quarterback.
Check out the whopper of a grade the team slapped on Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle, who went sixth overall to their downstate neighbors, the Miami Dolphins.
If your eyesight is lacking, that also is an 8.0 grade. That’s a pretty big number for any player, much less one who missed more than half of his final season in college and who only started nine games total for the Crimson Tide. (then again, Waddle was our No. 5 overall prospect, he went sixth, so it might not be that much of a stretch.)
Right below Waddle is his new teammate, Jaelan Phillips, who earned what looks to be a 7.5 — another robust grade for a player Miami drafted. The Jaguars and Dolphins meet in Week 6 in England, so it will be interesting to see how those players fare vs. Jacksonville.
But there’s more …
We also can stand to reason that the Jaguars did not view BYU’s Zach Wilson — who went one pick after Lawrence, to the New York Jets — as being on quite the same level as the prospect they ended up drafting.
A 7.0 for Wilson is nothing to sneeze at — we’ll provide context in a second — but it’s clear that Jaguars were not tempted at all by Wilson. based on information we gathered during the pre- and post-draft process, it’s very likely that Ohio State’s Justin Fields was QB2 on the Jags’ board. (They didn’t reveal Fields’ grade, sadly.)
Wilson can use this “slight” as motivation when the Jets and Jaguars meet in Week 16. But check out USC OG Ali Vera-Tucker, the Jets’ second first-round pick. No slight with AVT— he earned a 7.5, even higher than his new teammate Wilson, who went 12 picks earlier.
Wilson’s grade, it turned out, was the same as the Jaguars’ second first-round pick, RB Travis Etienne, who also is going to play some receiver for Urban Meyer’s new team.
This picture is a bit more clear:
Oh, you thought that was it? We also got a peek at the grade of a player who will be trying to sack Lawrence two games a year for the next several seasons.
It appears that the Jaguars gave Indianapolis Colts first-round pass rusher a 6.8 grade. Again, without knowing the inner workings of the Jaguars’ grading system, it’s hard to say what this equates to — a low first-round pick? A second-rounder?
We just don’t know. But typically, each whole number tends to represent a step down, projection-wise, which could mean the Jags likely wouldn’t have selected him had Paye and Etienne both been on the board at the Jaguars’ No. 25 overall sot.
Another player the Jaguars are sure to see a lot of (if he’s healthy) is Titans CB Caleb Farley. His name briefly is revealed when the Jaguars took Georgia CB Tyson Campbell (whom we later see had a 6.9 grade).
Can anyone make out Farley’s grade?
The Jaguars also clearly liked Syracuse S Andre Cisco, whom they snagged at the top of Round 3. He earned a 6.9, a higher mark than the Jaguars’ second second-rounder, Stanford OT Walker Little, who got a 6.8. We’d guess positional need factored into the Little pick, as it might have with the Jaguars’ first fourth-round selection, USC DT Jay Tufele, who earned a 6.4.
We also caught glimpses of a few other teams’ picks along the way.
Now, knowing all this information, we just need to figure out exactly what these numbers mean. We’re sure the Jaguars will provide absolute clarity on this if we blow in a call to them.
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