Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, ESPN's two foremost NFL Draft analysts, have both released their second mock draft of 2018. McShay's was released earlier in February, while Kiper didn't share his until Tuesday (yesterday).
Now that both are in, we figured it's time to take a look and break down what these two experts think the Jaguars will do with their first round pick (number 29 overall).
McShay released his first, so let's start there:
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina*
This may be a bit of a reach for Hurst, but he's a big (6-5, 250), athletic target who can contribute immediately. A former pro baseball player, Hurst has good ball skills and can help stretch the field for Leonard Fournette and Jacksonville's offense.
Hurst would certainly open up the middle of the field. With his ability to make touch catches in traffic, he would likely develop into a safety blanket for Blake Bortles (or whoever the Jaguars have under center). His athletic ability is good not great. But he looks like a guy who could develop into a top flight balanced tight end -- something the Jaguars offense has lacked for years. Hurst is from Jacksonville, which makes for a nice story, but he'll be 25 years old before the regular season starts and could be a bit of a reach at 29. I wouldn't criticize this pick, but could potentially see better values for the Jaguars here.
Now let's get to Mel Kiper's Mock 2.0 selection for the Jaguars:
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
I'm giving the Jags a different tight end here after going with Oklahoma's Mark Andrews in my Mock Draft 1.0. Former first-round pick Marcedes Lewis has had a great career, but he's turning 34 this year and isn't much of a receiving threat. I have compared Goedert to Todd Heap and Zach Ertz, two guys who can catch passes and also block. Goedert has a tremendous catch radius at 6-4, 260. He suffered a hamstring injury at the first Senior Bowl practice but should be fine to work out at the combine.
So both experts from ESPN have the Jaguars going tight end in the first round? Not a poor idea. Both players have the physical make up to be excellent receivers, but also competent blockers -- a key in the Jaguars offense. The Jaguars would do well to land either player, but it's possible that the Jaguars are more needy at other positions with greater value in the first round. The apparent depth of the tight end position in this draft class could lead the Jaguars to waiting until round two or three to take a tight end. In that case the Jaguars would likely focus their first round on improving their offensive line or adding a playmaking wide receiver. James Washington, the Biletnikoff Award wining wide receiver from OK State (who I mocked to the Jaguars), would be a fine choice if that scenario were to play out. Connor Williams or Isaiah Wynn could also fit what the Jaguars are looking for at guard and would provide great value at 29.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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