The NFL Combine — the annual gathering of college players looking to make an impression on NFL teams, both on and off the field — kicks off this week!
The combine officially gets underway (today) on Tuesday, February 26th and runs through Monday, March 4th. Players will have to go through a grueling examination process that will include psych evaluations, body measurements, team interviews, and on-field testing.
From a fan and scouting perspective, the most intriguing aspect of the combine is the measurements and the on-field testing. Special teams players, offensive lineman, and running backs will do their on-field testing Friday. Quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends will do their on-field testing Saturday. The following day defensive lineman and linebackers will take the field. To wrap things up on Monday the defensive backs will do their on-field work.
The Jaguars have many needs heading into this offseason. Here we will take a look at three positions of need and offer some potential fits for the Jaguars at those positions.
The Jaguars are in desperate need of a face-of-the-franchise type QB. They haven't had one since . . . well, ever. Mark Brunell was the closest thing to it in the late '90s and early '00s. This is a franchise desperately in need of a consistent force at the most important position on the field. Blake Bortles will likely be cut at some point this offseason.
Let's dive into the QBs at the combine.
For me, it's a two horse race. Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are BY FAR the two best QBs in this class, and both of them will participate in the combine. To what extent the two will work out is not entirely known. Murray will undoubtedly measure, as questions swirl regarding his height/weight. But will he throw the ball? Will he run the 40-yard dash? I hope the answer is yes. Haskins is expected to participate in throwing work and everything else. He has the alpha dog mentality that many of the best QBs in NFL history have possessed, and he seems to be a stud in terms of football intelligence.
Other players at the QB position that will participate include Will Grier, Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, Tyree Jackson, Brett Rypien, and Jarret Stidham, among others. While each of the aforementioned QBs has potential, none of them possess the skill of a Haskins or Murray.
The Jaguars have a glaring need at wide receiver. Sure, Dede Westbrook, Dede Westbrook, and Marqise Lee will all be huge factors for the Jaguars passing game in 2019, but the team NEEDS more. Lee and Westbrook have proven that they can perform at a high level, but Chark has a lot to prove in 2019.
This year's rookie wide receiver class doesn't necessarily have a ton of first-round talent; however, it is loaded with depth. Players to keep an eye on that could be drafted by the Jaguars and to be a true X-receiver sooner rather than later are DK Metcalf, Kelvin Harmon, and Riley Ridley. But there are plenty of other guys to keep an eye on here. Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, Hunter Renfrow, DaMarkus Lodge, Dillon Mitchell, Parris Campbell, Mecole Hardman, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, David Sills, Emmanuel Hall, and Andy Isabella are all players that have the potential to become big-time playmakers at the next level.
It'll be interesting to see how fast a guy like Andy Isabella will run. He'll be a slot receiver at the next level, but he could run a sub 4.3 40-yard. On the other hand, some receivers will need to test well to prove they belong.
My favorite wide receiver of the group, Kelvin Harmon, seems likely to be drafted in the first round, but if slides to the second the Jaguars should run to the podium.
While tight end isn't viewed as a position that's as important as QB or WR, it's become a massive weapon for some of the best offenses in football. This tight end group is loaded with talent. The Jaguars let their number one tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins walk when they elected not to pick up his 2019 option. They MUST address tight end this offseason.
TJ Hockenson is the cream of the crop. He's a complete prospect with soft hands, plus athleticism, and a mean streak when it comes to blocking. Just behind him in terms of pre-combine grades are Noah Fant and Irv Smith. But the fun doesn't stop there. Jace Sternberger, Dawson Knox, Foster Moreau, Isaac Nauta, and Kaden Smith could all develop into quality starters.
BONUS NEED: The Jaguars also have a need at right guard. 2018 starter AJ Cann is set to hit the free agent market. There are some maulers out there in this class, but the Jaguars will likely need to select one in the first three rounds, and maybe even before round three, to land one that has the potential to be a solid starter early on. Names to watch this week include Chris Lindstrom, Dalton Risner, Garrett Bradbury, and Michael Deiter.
What position are you most excited to watch at the combine this week? Let us know in the comments below!
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