2022 NFL Draft Rumors: Ickey Ekwonu, Aidan Hutchinson Impress Jaguars

Doric SamApril 4, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 03: N.C. State offensive lineman Ickey Ekwonu answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 3, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a crucial decision to make with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft later this month, and two prospects have reportedly caught their eye.

According to NFL Network's Bridget Condon, Jacksonville has grown "impressed" with both offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

Condon noted that the Jaguars are impressed with Ekwonu because of "how smart he is and his willingness to learn and understand he has room to grow as a player," while they are intrigued by Hutchinson's "size and length in person."

Jacksonville is faced with the task of turning its franchise around, so it's imperative to get this draft pick correct. The consensus belief is that a team can't go wrong with either Ekwonu or Hutchinson, but the question for the Jaguars is whether the most pressing need lies on offense or defense.

After drafting quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall last year, Jacksonville's main goal should be to protect its young signal-caller after he was sacked 32 times in 17 games. The team made a solid investment in free agency by signing Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff and placing the franchise tag on offensive tackle Cam Robinson. But adding Ekwonu to the mix could solidify the offensive line for the next decade.

According to B/R NFL Scouting Department, Ekwonu "has a special blend of size, power and athletic ability to go along with a tenacious, nasty demeanor as a finisher." He excels as both a pass protector and run-blocker, and he would be a significant upgrade to a Jaguars offense that is hoping to take a leap in 2022.

But it's understandable why Jacksonville is also interested in Hutchinson. The team finished tied for 26th in the NFL with 32 sacks last season. Hutchinson notched 14 sacks last year for the Michigan Wolverines, and he would surely be a difference-maker for the Jaguars.