Mock Draft season is in full effect, folks. Two of the biggest names in the industry, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Jr., hold it down over at ESPN. Let's take a look at what two of the foremost draft experts in the business think the Jaguars will do come April 23rd.
We'll start with Kiper, who projected just one round in his latest mock draft.
#9 Overall: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell are gone, while 2018 first-round pick Taven Bryan has disappointed, which means the Jaguars' once-excellent defensive line needs reinforcements. They have tremendous edge rushers in Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen, but Kinlaw would give them a 324-pound run-stuffer with some upside as an interior pass-rusher. I considered a quarterback here, but it appears Jacksonville is committed to Gardner Minshew. Cornerback is an option, too, though Jacksonville could use the No. 20 pick to address the secondary.
My Take: It's hard to fault this pick. I think Kinlaw is the best DT prospect in this class. He's shown that he can play nose and 3-tech effectively. He's stout against the run and has the potential to be one of the most explosive interior penetrators in the game. The Jaguars have a long term need at defensive tackle, and they lack impact players on the defensive side of the ball. Kinlaw helps in both departments.
#20 Overall: Antoine Winfield Jr., S/CB, Minnesota
Where could Winfield play? How about ... everywhere. He has the versatility to play deep safety, nickel corner, strong safety and even some linebacker. At 5-foot-9, 203 pounds, he's not the biggest guy, but you couldn't tell from his tackling on tape -- he's not afraid to hit a ball carrier. Winfield stayed healthy in 2019 and had seven interceptions. He's a ballhawk, which is something Jacksonville could use after it traded Jalen Ramsey last year. I really like Winfield, and this is a great landing spot for the best defensive back left on my board.
My Take: Another pick that I'm a fan of. Winfield was bred to play football, literally. His dad was a Pro-Bowl cornerback for the Vikings. And Winfield brings his dad's playmaking ability to the NFL. He's had some injury history, which is slightly concerning, but he's a clean prospect. He's athletic, a strong tackler, and excellent in coverage. I'm not sold that he fits what the Jaguars traditionally look for in a defensive back — they love length — but Winfield would be an immediate impact player for the Jaguars' young secondary.
Now it's time to shift to Todd McShay's most recent mock draft, which covers the first two rounds. Buckle your seatbelts; this one wild.
#9 Overall: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Jags could go a couple of directions in this spot, and I originally was thinking wide receiver. And while I really wouldn't be surprised to see them take a different route, I just don't see how the Jaguars could go into the 2020 season with Gardner Minshew II -- who I do like! -- as their only option at quarterback. Especially with all their picks. Draft Herbert and let the big-armed mobile QB compete with Minshew in camp, address other needs later in the draft and go from there.
My Take: Wow. To start, I don't feel confident Herbert will make it to nine overall. I'd be pretty surprised if he's there when the Jaguars pick. But in this scenario, he was available. Even more surprising would be if the Jaguars actually selected the Oregon QB. Herbert is a big, strong-armed, athletic QB, but he lacks the killer instinct and leadership that most teams value at the quarterback position. Gardner Minshew possesses both of those traits and did enough to not be forced into a camp battle at the quarterback position. The Jaguars' best plan of action is to build around Minshew, not trying to replace him.
#20 Overall: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
DJ Chark Jr. had a huge season in 2019, and Dede Westbrook is more than capable, but the Jags could use a wideout like Aiyuk. He tracks the ball vertically very well, has the wheels to get open, displays the hands to pluck on the run and shows lots of ability to create once the ball is in his hands. Herbert's arm strength and Aiyuk's vertical talent would be fun to watch.
My Take: This is another pick that threw me for a bit of a loop. Aiyuk is a fine player, with plenty of qualities to like, not the least of which are his pterodactyl arms. And I'm an advocate of the Jaguars adding another bigtime receiver to the fold. But with Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, and Justin Jefferson still on the board, I'd be dumbfounded by this selection.
#42 Overall: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
Two first-round picks went to the offense. But the Jacksonville defense isn't what it was when it carried the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game back in the 2017 season. Calais Campbell was dealt away, and Yannick Ngakoue could still be traded on the franchise tag, too. Gallimore has athleticism on the interior and fills a need on the front. I mean, did you see him run a 4.79 at 300-plus pounds in Indianapolis?
My Take: Finally, McShay gets one right. If the Jaguars don't address defensive tackle in the first round, Gallimore would be a smart choice in the second. He's got excellent movement skills and strength. He really turned it on in his final year at Oklahoma. A big key to his turnaround? Weight loss. If Gallimore can keep his weight in check at the next level, he has the potential to be an impact defensive tackle for many years to come.
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