With the Jaguars having addressed a few needs in free agency, it is now more clear, what positions the Jaguars will look to target in the draft. Heading into free agency the Jaguars had needs in a good many positions. They addressed free safety, by adding Sergio Brown; they added an OTTO linebacker in Dan Skuta; a corner back in Davon House; a defensive lineman in Jared Odrick; an athletic right tackle in Jermey Parnell; and a pass catching tight end in Julius Thomas. Adding all of these players in the first week of free agency filled a plethora of needs. Now, as the Jaguars turn their focus to the draft, it appears that unless the they make a big trade, they will need to draft a running back, a pass rusher, an outside linebacker, a receiver, and possibly a free safety.
The Jaguars hold the third overall pick in the draft and could virtually select anyone they want. It is likely that the Buccaneers or Titans will draft a quarterback. With these being the only two teams that select ahead of Jacksonville, only one position player will be off the board, giving the Jaguars many options.
If they decided to take a pass rusher, which is a common theory, there are a few guys who make sense at the number three spot. Vic Beasley is a super athletic edge rusher out of Clemson, who has a great burst off the line. He needs to add more strength because it is unlikely that he will be able to beat NFL tackles with athleticism alone. Dante Fowler is another explosive pass rusher that the Jaguars may target. Fowler is a slightly larger, less explosive version of Beasley. He is much stronger than Beasley and could have more upside. He is versatile enough to do many things for a defense, yet he should be more focused on pass rushing in the NFL than he was in college. He projects to be a monster pass rusher. Randy Gregory is another strong option. He has all the skill in the world to come in and make an impact for the Jaguars as a pass rusher, but he has a long injury history. These three players are the ones most commonly linked to the Jaguars at the number three pick. If the Jags decide against these players, but still want a pass rusher they may look to Shane Ray or Alvin Dupree.
While pass rusher is the most commonly linked position with the Jaguars and their number three pick there are some other legitimate options. The wide receiver class, this year may be just as good as the 2014 class, which was record breaking. There are so many quality receivers for the Jags to choose from. The seemingly endless depth at the position might suggest that the Jaguars should wait until later in the draft to get one. However the receivers at the top could be game changers as soon as they hit the field. It is rumored that the Jaguars will be looking for a guy who can dominate the slot as they have Robinson, Lee, and Hurns manning the outside. If the Jaguars do decide to address the wide receiver position with the number three pick, the most polished player is Amari Cooper. Cooper, out of Alabama, has been one of the best receivers in college football for at least two years. He has good size, at 6’1’’ and 210 pounds, and he is thick enough to take a beating on the inside. He also has the quickness to get open on short and intermediate routes. He performed well at the combine showing good top end speed by running a 4.4 40 yard dash, and elite quickness in the three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle. He was highly productive at Alabama scoring over 30 career touchdowns. On top of all of his numbers and athleticism, he is a gym rat. He will work hard to make himself better. If the Jags decide to go with Cooper, it is not likely to be a decision they regret. While Cooper is the most polished receiver in the draft, there is someone who may have ever more upside. Kevin White out of West Virginia exploded on to the college football scene in 2014, with 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is an athletic specimen. At 6’3’’ and 215 pounds he was able to run an incredible 4.35 second 40 yard dash. With his size and speed he could be a true number one receiver. There are some concerns with him though. He is a one year wonder, as he never got anywhere close to his 2014 numbers earlier in his career and he is not the most versatile or skilled route runner. He will have a lot to learn in the NFL.
Aside from pass rusher and wide receiver there does not seem to be much value for the Jags at the number three pick. If Leonard Williams, the dominant defensive lineman out of Southern Cal, slips to number three, they would have to consider taking him, despite the fact that they appear loaded at defensive tackle. It is highly unlikely that the Jaguars would consider a running back, a linebacker or a free safety at the number three pick. If the Jaguars are able to trade back, they may be able to secure a running back in Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon. The free safety position is weak in this years draft class and there are none that warrant a first round pick.
What we want them to do:
At Generation Jaguar, we would like to see the Jaguars take Amari Cooper. Get Blake another weapon, who is a proven commodity, to help him progress greatly in his second season. The defense is good, but until the offense is able to compete consistently, this team will not win many games.
What we think they will do:
We think the Jaguars will focus on getting a better edge rusher. With that in mind, we think that they will target Dante Fowler, who has good size and speed, to pair with loads of potential. He does not have a history of injury and he he shows good strength and versatility, which is something the Jaguars value.
The coming weeks are sure to be loaded with rumors and speculation. Stay tuned for all the latest regarding the Jaguars!
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