It’s that time of the offseason, when countless Mel Kiper Jr.s and other so-called experts produce seemingly endless mock drafts on the upcoming NFL draft. If you go back through the years and see whom the Jaguars are predicted to draft, and compare it to the actual draft, there are very few picks that are right. Trying to pick the first round is hard enough and all 7 rounds are impossible even just to speculate on. The Jags did coach the Senior Bowl again this season, so some of their late round picks may come off that team, just like last season. However, I’ll just stick to the first three rounds.
Almost every year they are thought to take a defensive end in the first round, and every year they go in another direction. The Jags have the third pick in this year’s draft. This will be the fourth straight year in the top five (in 2012 they traded up into the top five).
This may be the year that the Jaguars finally take a defensive end with an early pick. It would be the first time since the Derrick Harvey disaster of 2008. The defensive front seven of this draft class may be one of the most talented in history. Now would be the time to select a game changer on the D-line.
Another option is trading down from the three spot to a quarterback-hungry team, assuming both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota aren’t gone already. GM Dave Caldwell and the Jags don’t have a history of trading down, but Caldwell has indicated this year he’s more open to trading down. A trade could net them multiple picks in this year’s and next year’s draft.
The Jags will likely head into the draft, depending on what is done in free agency, with needs at right tackle, free safety, tight end and linebacker. This draft does not have that much tight end or free safety talent, but the linebacker and tackle are positions are both deep.
Randy Gregory, Nebraska, DE – At 6’ 5” 235 lbs. he would be a natural fit at the Leo position. Gregory would have the ability to come in and only play on pass rushing downs as he develops his full game. Dante Fowler Jr. from Florida has been a popular pick, and he is bigger, but Gregory offers more explosiveness.
La’el Collins, LSU, OT – A stud tackle from LSU, Collins would fill the hole at right tackle. The only problem is he may be a late first-round pick. Ereck Flowers from Miami and Andrus Peat from Stanford are other quality tackle options that may be available.
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama, RB – This year’s draft is deep in running backs once again. Drafting Yeldon in the third round would fulfill the thought that a solid running game is one of the most important parts of quarterback Blake Bortles’ development. He could compete with Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson for a starting role.