2022 Mock Draft: Erik Hindenburg’s First and Final Mock

The 2022 NFL Draft is finally (and thankfully) upon us. Months of discourse, debates and trolling the mentions of those with differing opinions can lead to most of us just ready for it to all be over, even if just for a week. The staff here at ATB have released several 2022 mock draft pieces this week, and despite my hiatus from content, I just had to get in on the fun.

Full disclosure: this is a predictive mock, not the decisions I would make. I’m only doing a couple of trades in the first round. I’m too lazy to do them in the second, sorry!

As always, I welcome all feedback. Let me know you love, what you hate and why you think I’m an idiot on Twitter (@HindenburgScout). The draft is better than Christmas morning, let’s go! 

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Erik Hindenburg Edition

Photo Credit: sports.yahoo.com

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE Georgia. The Jaguars take a risk here, passing on the “safe” option in Aidan Hutchinson. Walker is an athletic specimen with all the traits to become an elite player on Sundays. The current regime is trusting the coaching staff to develop a raw prospect with potential, something that historically just hasn’t happened for Jacksonville.

2. Detroit Lions: Malik Willis, QB Liberty. Many will expect the Lions to take the hometown kid in Aidan Hutchinson, and they very well may. I don’t believe they will. Dan Campbell has surely figured out that Jared Goff is not the guy to tie his reputation to. Willis is far from perfect as a prospect, and is most certainly the beneficiary of a subpar quarterback crop. He has very enticing traits and is, by all accounts, a leader of men and a high character individual. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Al Goldis

3. Houston Texans: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE Michigan. Hutchinson was never going to fall out of the top 3. The Houston Texans need talent across the board. The Heisman runner up gives them a bonafide pass rusher to bolster the defense, and a player who should make a significant impact as a rookie. 

4. New York Jets: Ikem Ekwonu, OT NC State. The Jets need to figure out their offensive line, including the future of former first round pick Mekhi Becton. Ekwonu is the definition of a bully, and there are whispers that the league is higher on him than the rest of the tackle class.

5. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT Alabama. Once the heavy favorite to be the first overall pick, Evan Neal gives the Giants true bookend tackles for the next decade. Andrew Thomas and Neal will make as good of a starting tackle duo as one can find in the NFL. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo

6. Carolina Panthers: Matt Corral, QB Ole Miss. It happens every single year. There are two categories every team fits in: those who have their franchise quarterback, and those who are desperate to find one. The Panthers are firmly in the latter category, and the owner has made it clear that needs to change. Enter Corral, who’s scheme makes it difficult to project him as a pro. His mobility, arm and production are enough to make the Panthers pull the trigger. 

7. New York Giants: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE Florida State. The Giants continue to emphasize the trenches. Johnson is a very good run defender and still developing pass rusher, with the potential to be a consistent double-digit sack defender. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE Oregon. Atlanta is in bad shape. They just need good football players. Luckily, KT is available here and should be a huge boost to the defense. 

9. Seattle Seahawks: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB Cincinnati. The Seahawks are entering a rebuild. Pete Carroll and John Schneider hope to work the same formula that worked with a young Russell Wilson. Gardner is an alpha, and will be a leader in the secondary. 

10. New York Jets: Jameson Williams, WR Alabama. After failing to trade for Tyreek Hill several weeks ago, the Jets add the speed and play-making ability to the WR room in Williams. Coming off of a torn ACL, Williams should be full go by the season opener. 

Photo Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

11. Washington Commanders: Derek Stingley Jr., CB LSU. Stingley was crowned a future top pick after one of the best freshman campaigns in recent memory in 2019. Injuries and a subpar LSU team have cooled off his stock some, but there’s every chance he ends up the best player in this draft class. 

12. Minnesota Vikings: Kaiir Elam, CB Florida. Elam is a fantastic plug-and-play corner for the Vikings. This corner class has some really, really good players. There’s not many better than Elam. 

13. Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S Notre Dame. Kyle Hamilton is one of the best pure playmakers in the draft class. Don’t over think his 40-yard dash. He’s going to be a perennial Pro Bowl player. 

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT Georgia. The AFC North, and the Baltimore Ravens, will always be synonymous with physical football and strong defenses. Adding Davis to the DL rotation improves the front dramatically. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Garrett Wilson, WR Ohio State. The Eagles are all in on Jalen Hurts, at least for this season anyways. Devonta Smith is fantastic, but adding another top-flight option is a must. Wilson is a fantastic prospect who fits in well with the Eagles offense. 

16. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Pickett, QB Pittsburgh. Pickett isn’t generally regarded as having the highest ceiling, but he’s competitive, accurate, and fits the culture and offense in New Orleans. The presence of Jameis Winston gives the team the freedom to let Pickett acclimate at his pace instead of throwing him in the fire. 

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Logan Hall, DL Houston. There’s growing buzz that Hall is likely to hear his name called opening night. The Chargers are a logical landing spot as they look to bolster the trench of their defense. 

18. Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Booth Jr., CB Clemson. The Eagles need corner help. Booth is regarded very highly by some evaluators I have a ton of respect for, and I’m quite high on the former Tiger as well. 

19. New Orleans Saints: Drake London, WR USC. London may very well end up being the best pass catcher in this group. He’s big, physical, and dominant in contested catch situations. He’s exactly what’s needed in the Saints offense.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: TRADE to Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville Jaguars: Chris Olave, WR Ohio State. The Jaguars have invested millions of dollars upgrading the supporting cast around Trevor Lawrence. Olave is the next big investment. The best route runner in the draft class with great speed and reliable hands, he slides into the X role. Doug Pederson’s offense requires versatility at the position, and Olave should see time all over the field.

(TRADE COMPENSATION: JAX receives #20, Pitt receives #33, #106, 2023 2nd round)

21. New England Patriots: Zion Johnson, OL Boston College. The Patriot Way. It’s not flashy, but it’s effective. Zion Johnson is a starter as a rookie and should be one of the best interior lineman in the league very early in his career. 

22. Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks, WR Arkansas. After trading away the best receiver in the NFL, the Packers add a match-up nightmare in Treylon Burks. He’s a big play waiting to happen, and can line up all over the field. 

23. Arizona Cardinals: Charles Cross, OT Mississippi State. The Cardinals get a hell of a player at this juncture of the draft in Cross, who is an immediate upgrade over DJ Humphries. 

24. Dallas Cowboys TRADE to Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City Chiefs: Trent McDuffie, CB Washington. The Chiefs defense played above its talent level a season ago. Adding talent to a secondary that just lost its leader in Tyrann Mathieu is a must. Armed with extra picks, the Chiefs are aggressive in ensuring they get their guy.

(TRADE COMPENSATION: KC receives #24, DAL receives #29, #50, 2023 6th round)

25. Buffalo Bills: Kyler Gordon, CB Washington. Back-to-back Washington corners off the board with Gordon bolstering the Buffalo secondary. Given the star power in the AFC currently, this makes sense. 

26. Tennessee Titans: Travis Jones, DT UCONN. Travis Jones may have been the biggest beneficiary of the pre-draft process and hearing his name called in Round 1 shouldn’t shock anyone paying attention. 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trevor Penning, OL Northern Iowa. Penning plays nasty, and I’m not sure whether he projects better inside or out. Either way, he can start or be really good depth for the Bucs. 

28. Green Bay Packers: Devin Lloyd, LB Utah. The Packers get a very good football player in Lloyd. The position may be seeing some devaluation right now, but Lloyd can start and be an impact player for the Green Bay defense. 

29. Dallas Cowboys (KC): Tyler Smith, OL Tulsa. Tyron Smith is one of the greatest of all time, but his time is coming. Tyler Smith can compete at OG or RT until eventually taking over Dak Prescott’s blindside. Tyler is raw, but he plays with a mean streak and has all the traits to develop into a top tier OT. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs: Devonte Wyatt, DL Georgia. Wyatt is a tremendous football player who will be a heavy part of the rotation immediately. Kansas City is known to take chances with off-field concerns. 

31. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, OL Iowa. The Bengals aggressive approach to the offensive line continues. Linderbaum is considered by most to be the best pure center in the class. 

32. Detroit Lions: Christian Watson, WR NDSU. I think there are better receivers available here for the Lions. I also think the H/W/S and raw potential of Watson is going to be too much to pass on. 

Second Round

33. Pittsburgh Steelers (Jax): Desmond Ridder, QB Cincinnati. The Steelers trade back and still get their guy. The Steelers haven’t made it secret that they are interested in quarterbacks, and want a mobile one. Ridder has plenty of physical traits to be excited about, and goes to a situation where he doesn’t have to start right away. 

34. Detroit Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB Georgia.

35. New York Jets: George Karlaftis, EDGE Purdue. 

36. New York Giants: Jahan Dotson, WR Penn St.

37. Houston Texans: Kenyon Green, OL Texas A&M. 

38. New York Jets: Quay Walker, LB Georgia.

39. Chicago Bears: Skyy Moore, WR Western Michigan.

40. Seattle Seahawks: George Pickens, WR Georgia. 

41. Seattle Seahawks: Bernard Raimann, OL Central Michigan. 

42. Indianapolis Colts: Lewis Cine, S Georgia.

43. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Rhyan, OL UCLA.

44. Cleveland Browns: Nik Bonitto, EDGE Oklahoma.

45. Baltimore Ravens: Alec Pierce, WR Cincinnati. 

46. Minnesota Vikings: Leo Chenal, LB Wisconsin. 

47. Washington Commanders: Demarvin Leal, DL Texas A&M.

48. Chicago Bears: Jaqaun Brisker, S Penn St.

49. New Orleans Saints: David Ojabo, EDGE Michigan.

50. Dallas Cowboys (KC): Drake Jackson, DE USC. 

51. Philadelphia Eagles: Chad Muma, LB Wyoming. 

52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jamaree Salyer, OL Georgia. 

53. Green Bay Packers: Phidarian Mathis, DL Alabama. 

54. New England Patriots: John Metchie III, WR Alabama. 

55. Arizona Cardinals: Christian Harris, LB Alabama. 

56. Dallas Cowboys: Darrian Beavers, LB Cincinnati. 

57. Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, RB Iowa St.

58. Atlanta Falcons: Jalen Tolbert, S. Alabama. 

59. Green Bay Packers: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR Kentucky.

60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE Penn St.

61. San Francisco 49ers: Perrion Winfrey, DL Oklahoma. 

62. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenneth Walker III, RB Michigan State.

63. Cincinnati Bengals: Roger McCreary, CB Auburn.

64. Denver Broncos: Trey McBride, TE Colorado State. 

Week Two Review: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars

KN1_9099
Kam Nedd via jaguars.com

I’m not aware of anyone who picked the Jaguars to win Sunday. A rookie quarterback facing a Vic Fangio defense isn’t exactly ideal. There’s an endless list of things I’d love to point out in this article, but I’m going to condense it quite a bit.

Offensively, Sunday was disappointing. There were major mistakes that just shouldn’t have happened. Defensively, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. This unit isn’t exactly Sacksonville circa 2017, but compared to last year’s edition there is major improvement. Logan Cooke is still good, Josh Lambo is still broken, and Jamal Agnew showed why he is considered among the league’s best as a returner.

The film tells the story. Buckle up, Jaguars fans.

Offense

Sunday wasn’t a great day for many offensive players. Trevor Lawrence looked like a rookie trying too hard and struggling to see the field. Laviska Shenault had a day to forget, perhaps the worst outing of his professional career. For all the talk about the team cutting talent at wide receiver, they gained virtually no separation against the Broncos secondary.

That’s not to say there aren’t positives worth pointing out. Even on a bad day, Lawrence made a handful of plays that demonstrate precisely why he’s been lauded by so many for so long as a potentially generational talent. Marvin Jones is proving to be one of the best free agent signings this team has had in recent memory.

The offensive line is a point of major disagreement between the team and the fanbase. On Sunday, at least, the powers that be looked right. Jawaan Taylor had arguably the best game of his career considering he was assigned future Hall of Famer Von Miller most of the afternoon. Not that they are getting the chance to show it often, but the unit is still solid when run blocking too.

Here come’s the film, for all you football nerds.

Sunday was just a brutal day for a player the team relies on so heavily in Shenault. He’s going to bounce back. The team just isn’t good enough to overcome a bad day by a prominent player.

Remember when people tried to act like not giving a rookie quarterback a true threat at the tight end position, or even a reliable safety blanket, was no big deal? Fun times.

Shenault was far from the only skill position player to struggle. Here, Johnson just get bullied by a rookie defensive back who makes a great play resulting in a turnover.

This was Trevor Lawrence’s second worst play of the day in my eyes. He’s as aggressive as they come and unafraid of any throw. This is a good thing. Passing up easy chunk plays for a low probability deep shot is not. Taking what the defense gives him is the biggest area he needs to improve, and quickly.

Whatever caused this hesitation needs to be figured out. It’s very on brand for the Jaguars to turn an easy completion for a big gain into a turnover. There will be plenty of days to show the highlights for the offense. This isn’t one. Too many fundamental issues across the board to justify the silver linings. It was a bad day.

Shout out to the offensive line though. They played very well, all things considered.

Defense

Joe Cullen was a home run hire as defensive coordinator. The improvement against the run is real, and impressive. The unit is near the top of the league in pressure percentage. The secondary is, and will remain, a work in progress.

DaVon Hamilton is a rising star at nose. Josh Allen is playing like the 2019 version of himself. K’Lavon Chaisson is showing legitimate signs of growth. Chaisson still has every chance to become a very good starter in this league.

Myles Jack isn’t playing as consistent as one would expect, but should be fine as his comfort level grows in the new scheme. The overall success of the defense hinges on the development of guys like Cj Henderson, Tyson Campbell and Andre Cisco. Until they are consistently good, the secondary won’t be.

Hamilton is good, y’all. Very good.

Right now, communication is a much bigger area of concern for the Jacksonville defense than talent. The development of the trio I mentioned above, and the return of Tre Herndon, should help tremendously.

Mobile quarterbacks are poison to a blitz heavy, man coverage centric defense like the one employed by Cullen. The Jaguars have opened the season against two quarterbacks very capable of escaping pressure and extending plays. *Checks Week Three schedule* More about that in another article….

What Have We Learned?

Some fans drank the Kool Aid and wore the teal shaded glasses and believed the addition of Trevor Lawrence alone could elevate this team from 1-15 to the playoffs. Others think the sky is falling, Urban Meyer is a few more losses away from a medical episode and a change in location from Florida to California. Neither is true.

The reality is this team isn’t very good. They are young, in their first year in new schemes offensively and defensively, and need more talent on both sides of the ball to join the ranks of contenders. Focusing so heavily on role players and special teams in free agency was a half measure for a team loaded with salary cap and a stark lack of game changing talent.

Try to enjoy the rest of the season. Adjust your expectations. Trevor Lawrence is going to be incredible. The team will improve as the season progresses. The Denver Broncos are a better football team than the Jacksonville Jaguars, yet the game could have easily gone Jacksonville’s way.

If you are interested, check out my Twitter feed for a more thorough review of the game. It might be surprising how many game changing plays that could have drastically altered the game were left out on the field. Check back in later today or early tomorrow for the preview of Sunday’s contest with the Arizona Cardinals!

It’s a long season folks. The Jaguars are 0-2. Breathe. 15 more weeks of Jaguars football awaits.

Week Two Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars Host the Denver Broncos

Week One brought it’s fair share of surprises for fan bases all across the league. Move on. Let it go. You’ll be happier for it. It is a long season. There’s no reason to dwell on the Jacksonville Jaguars poor showing against the Houston Texans when there’s sixteen more chances at heartbreak and disappointment! Kidding, kind of, hopefully.

Tale of the Tape

Denver Broncos (1-0)

  • 420 Total Yards
  • 6.4 Yards per play, 5.9 yards per carry
  • 7/15 on 3rd downs, 3/3 on 4th downs
  • 0 Turnovers
  • Gave up just 3 yards per carry and 314 Total

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

  • 395 Total Yards
  • 5.8 yards per play, 4.8 yards per carry
  • 3/11 on 3rd down
  • -3 Turnovers
  • Gave up 3.9 yards per carry, 449 Total Yards

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the advantage in the all time series record against the Denver Broncos 6-5

A Look at the Opposition

Von Miller during the Broncos' Week 1 game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 12, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel Christus)
Photo credit: Gabriel Christus via denverbroncos.com

The Denver Broncos have one of the best defenses in football. Von Miller is one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. Bradley Chubb is a fantastic player on the other side. It has taken an injury to get top 10 pick Patrick Surtain II into the starting lineup in the secondary.

The defense is fast, physical and disciplined. Vic Fangio’s unit is masterful at disguising different coverages and blitzes. This is a tough, tough match up for any offense, particularly one led by a rookie quarterback. Keep an eye on Safety Justin Simmons, one of the very best at his position in the league right now.

Offensively, the Broncos are a different team with Teddy Bridgewater under center than the inconsistent Drew Lock. Bridgewater is much more suited to run Pat Shurmer’s offense and it was clear most of the offseason he was the preferred choice of the coaching staff. He rewarded their confidence with a 264 yard, two touchdown game with, most importantly, no turnovers.

Courtland Sutton is still working his way back to form from an ACL injury, but he is very dangerous. Noah Fant is a match up nightmare at the tight end position. KJ Hamler is a house call threat every time he touches the football. Rising star Jerry Jeudy will be out several weeks with an ankle injury.

The offensive line may be down a starter in Graham Glasgow, but the unit is solid. The running back duo of Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams is probably one of the best tandems in the NFL. Simply put, this Denver Broncos roster is very good. Many believe they are a franchise quarterback away from being legitimate Super Bowl Contenders.

Key Battles

As with any game, there are a few critical match ups that will have a drastic impact on the outcome and overall quality of the game. Let’s take a look at 5 key battles between the Broncos and Jaguars.

  • Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor vs. Bradley Chubb and Von Miller
  • Tyson Campbell vs. KJ Hamler
  • Jaguars front 7 vs. Broncos backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams
  • DJ Chark/Marvin Jones vs. Patrick Surtain II
  • DaVon Hamilton vs. Lloyd Cushenberry

Final Thoughts and Predictions

The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off of a rough start to the season, performing poorly in a game they were expected to be competitive and able to win. They have to prove they can avoid beating themselves with mental mistakes and drive killing penalties. James Robinson must be able to get going, early and often.

KN1_4169
Kam Nedd via jaguars.com

The offensive line allowed just one sack on almost fifty pass attempts, but the right side in particular didn’t exactly play well. For this contest to remain competitive, the unit must have a good day at the office. Dropped passes are another theme from Houston that cannot carryover.

Defensively, all eyes will be on Tyson Campbell with Tre Herndon officially ruled out by the team. He needs to put together a consistent game and reward the faith the team has shown him. The defense has said it’s game plan is to take away the running game and put the ball in Bridgewater’s hands. DaVon Hamilton, Damien Wilson and Myles Jack will determine if that happens or not.

KN1_3634
Kam Nedd via jaguars.com

Overall, this is bad match up for a young Jaguars team. It’s not unwinnable by any stretch of the imagination, but what have the Jaguars done to earn a vote of confidence? Nothing. Perhaps I’d feel differently if they had performed to the level I expected last week. Trevor Lawrence is good enough to win these types of games, and at the very least, keep them in it.

Ultimately, the Jacksonville Jaguars are who they are until they aren’t. The franchise is beyond any moral victories. Their record says there are 0-1. I expect Teddy Bridgewater to play mistake free football and for the Broncos to leave Jacksonville 2-0. Broncos win, 33-24.

Week One Review: Jaguars at Texans

@HindenburgScout reviews the Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the Houston Texans.

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

They came, they saw, they got conquered. So rarely do teams get the opportunity to start a new era with as much optimism as the Jacksonville Jaguars were given. So rarely do teams coming off of fifteen straight losses have a chance to open the season against a team with as much turmoil and uncertainty as the Texans. Simply put, most expected the Urban Meyer/Trevor Lawrence tandem to start their respective NFL careers with a win. But, that’s why they play the games, right?

What Went Wrong?

In short, pretty much everything at one point or another. Procedural penalties, dropped passes, miscommunication and a forced abandonment of the run game put the offense and Trevor Lawrence in an impossible situation. Defensively, this team misses Tre Herndon.

Tyson Campbell may yet end up a fantastic player, but right now he’s not. Andrew Wingard playing vital snaps over rookie Andre Cisco was a predictable gaffe for the coaching staff. The pass rush actually had an impressive day generating pressure and harassing All-Pro journeyman starter Tyrod Taylor, but the veteran was able to escape and extend play after play.

The list could go on and on discussing what went wrong. Let’s look at some critical plays early in the game.

Damien Wilson and Tyson Campbell look uncomfortable and out of place here with a zone responsibility. Campbell must improve in this area, and several others, if he is to be the contributor he was drafted to be.

Communication simply has to better on the back end. Giving up easy completions like this to the Texans isn’t something this team can afford to do. Urban Meyer has already spoke of how narrow the margin of error is the NFL, and the Jaguars have less than most any.

This is the risk you run in a man heavy scheme against a mobile quarterback. Pressure is great, but if the pass rush doesn’t get home and the play is extended it really stresses a secondary playing man coverage. Griffin and Henderson are a fine starting duo, but they won’t hold up forever.

Will The Real DJ Chark Please Stand Up?

Dj Chark gets his own section in this week one review as a result of his play in the Jaguars match up against the Texans, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. Chark is absolutely vital to the success of the offense. His speed, big play ability and (usually) reliable hands are unmatched by anyone else on the roster.

Holding penalties that stall drives, dropped passes on third downs and getting handled by the likes of Vernon Hargreaves III cannot happen to Chark. In a year where strong play could earn him a lucrative extension in an offense that will challenges defenses vertically with balls thrown by Trevor Lawrence, he just has to better than he was Sunday.

This isn’t to say he didn’t make plays against the Texans or that I expect his target share to dry up. He caught a beautiful touchdown. He ran a good dig on third and long to extend a drive. His route running is crisp, and he has all the ability to be The Guy for Trevor Lawrence moving forward.

Sunday’s game was a rough start for DJ Chark. He resembled the guy who struggled mightily last year more than the 2019 version who posted a 1000 yard season. Tyron Johnson is going to be given the chance to be the recipient of some dep shots. Moving forward, Chark must play like the talent the team believes he is.

Is There Reason For Hope?

Absolutely. Trevor Lawrence is going to be the best quarterback in franchise history. Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell flashed some creativity with play calling, especially on first down. James Robinson is still a stud at running back, and one would believe holding penalties won’t completely dismantle the running game every week.

The run defense gave up less than four yards per carry to the Texans running backs. CJ Henderson and Shaq Griffin played well, excellent at times. Tyrod Taylor was pressured on a consistent basis and plenty of quarterbacks on the Jaguars schedule won’t be able to escape as often. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson looked like a viable pass rush tandem for maybe the first time together, though the latter still has a long way to go.

Laviska Shenault is going to get his touches in this offense. Tunnel screens were called frequently on first down, and the play above was a great play call.

Using Trevor Lawrence’s mobility and comfort on these concepts is something the team must do more frequently. Lawrence said as much post game. Here, Lawrence reads the Cover 3 concept and puts the ball exactly where it needed to be.

DaVon Hamilton is going to be really, really good in this defense y’all.

Overall

If you won’t believe me, believe someone smarter than me. Lawrence made a litany of rookie mistakes Sunday. Three turnovers is a bad day at the office for anyone. Despite the struggles, he showed exactly why he’s been considered the best quarterback prospect in perhaps a decade.

He’s only going to get better with experience. He has the ability to elevate this Jacksonville Jaguars team beyond it’s perceived ceiling. Sunday was tough. Guess what? There are going to be weeks that worse. But there’s also going to be weeks that are so much better. Yes, there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the Jaguars.

Let me know what you think, Duval. I’m here for y’all. I want to be where you come for all things Jacksonville Jaguars. So, if there’s a specific player or part of the game you want a film breakdown of, just let me know!

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Match Up Preview

@HindenburgScout previews the Jacksonville Jaguars week one showdown against their division rival Houston Texans

Credit: lineups.com

Tale of the Tape

Jacksonville Jaguars

2020: 1-15 (15 straight losses to end season)

Defense ranked 31st, registering just 18 sacks

Offense ranked 28th, averaging 326 yards per game

Key Addition: Trevor Lawrence

Houston Texans

2020: 4-12

Defense ranked 30th, registering just 9 takeaways

Offense ranked 13th, averaging 375 yards per game

Key Addition: Tyrod Taylor

The Houston Texans lead the all time series 25-13

What’s Changed in Duval?

Short answer? Everything. Shad Khan brought in one of best collegiate coaches of all time, one with a stellar track record and a burning hatred for losing. Trevor Lawrence is one of the most highly regarded quarterback prospects of the last decade. A new, aggressive scheme defensively is noticeably improved in the front seven. The secondary, although young, is very athletic and filled with play makers.

The optimism around the team is as high as it has ever been. Sunday’s game in Houston marks the beginning of a new era. This is so much bigger than a week one divisional showdown on the road. There are no moral victories to be had when playing for Urban Meyer. The expectation is to win, whatever the cost.

A Look at Houston

Um, Houston? You have a problem. The Texans are one of the most talent barren teams in the NFL. Without going into depth and opinion surrounding the star quarterback, suffice to say without him the Texans are downright bad on paper. Marcus Cannon starting at right tackle, a last minute change at kicker, former Jaguar Chris Conley a starting receiver, times are tough for the Texans. First year Head Coach David Culley absolutely has his work cut out for him.

Tyrod Taylor is a veteran presence at the quarterback position, and he should be aided by a consistent run game. How much pressure the Jaguars generate in passing situations and how well they defend the run will dictate this game. Defensively, the Texans can make life difficult for an offense that hasn’t had a chance to gel quite yet. Whitney Mercilus has always been a problem for the Jaguars offensive line.

Very few situations would lead one to believe a team coming off of 15 straight regular season losses deserve to be favored, but this is one. The Texans are seemingly without any sense of identity or stability right now. Divisional games are always a bit unpredictable, but it is difficult to point to any phase of the game and argue the Texans are better right now.

Key Battles

As with every game, there are critical match ups that can greatly influence the outcome. Here are five of the biggest battles to watch on Sunday.

  • Jaguars OT’s v. Whitney Mercilus
  • Texans OT’s v. Josh Allen/K’Lavon Chaisson
  • Jaguars secondary v. Brandon Cooks
  • Texans secondary v. DJ Chark
  • Trevor Lawrence v. Texans DC Lovie Smith

Final Thoughts and Predictions

It is easy to get excited if you are a Jacksonville Jaguar fan right now. Why wouldn’t you be? However, let’s take off the teal colored glasses for a moment. The Houston Texans won 4 games to the Jaguars 1 a season ago. Much of the Jaguars fortunes rests on young players adapting to the NFL.

A brand new coaching staff and scheme on both sides of the ball will have growing pains. Trevor Lawrence will make rookie mistakes. The Texans are a veteran team who could easily force a game defining mistake or two. The secondary could fail in big moments. This is an NFL regular season game, and anything can happen. All the optimism in the world doesn’t change the fact that this team was the worst in the league a year ago.

But… I feel confident in predicting the Urban Meyer era starting in the win column. The defense will harass Tyrod Taylor and register 3 sacks and 1 takeaway. Trevor Lawrence throws for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Chark and Shenault. James Robinson breaks 100 yards on the ground and adds a score of his own. Oh yeah, and Lambo is automatic. Jags win, 27-17.