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Jaguars lock up No. 1 pick in 2022 NFL Draft

Jacksonville could take pass rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon or Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan with the top pick.

The Jacksonville Jaguars could take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the first pick of the 2022 draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the first pick of the 2022 draft.
Lynne Sladky/AP

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to kick off the NFL draft — again.

With the Detroit Lions’ win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Jaguars clinched the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft, marking the second consecutive year that the franchise will hold the top overall selection.

Jacksonville becomes the first franchise since the Cleveland Browns in 2017-18 to earn the No. 1 pick in consecutive seasons.

After using their top selection last year on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars are now poised to become the first team since the 2017 Cleveland Browns to use the No. 1 pick on a player other a passer.

Pass rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon and Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan are widely considered to be the front-runners to be the first player off the board. Either one could start at defensive end opposite 2019 first-round pick Josh Allen and provide significant help for a Jaguars defense that was tied for 30th entering Sunday with just 26 sacks on the season.

Sunday brought a close to a tumultuous season for Jacksonville, which fired coach Urban Meyer after 13 games amid a rash of controversies. A number of fans wore clown costumes to the finale to protest owner Shad Khan’s decision to retain general manager Trent Baalke.

The Jaguars have already interviewed former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

The team plans to interview former Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, a person with knowledge of the situation told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to disclose information about an ongoing coaching search. Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett also confirmed he will interview with the team this week.

Beyond the forthcoming coaching hire and No. 1 pick, the Jaguars are in line for even more change this offseason. The team currently has approximately $68.3 million in cap space for 2022, according to overthecap.com.

Read more at usatoday.com