Between the end of 2012 and April 25th of 2013, there have been more articles and mock drafts regarding who the Jaguars will or should take than any one person can enjoy reading.
Unless the article is written by the general manager of the Jaguars, nobody, not even the experts, has the slightest clue as to what they may do come draft day. The most that can be done is to evaluate needs and which players' skill sets are likely to fulfill those needs.
Starting in December of 2012, I believed that Jarvis Jones was the very possible choice for Jacksonville. At this point, I still believe he is one of the top five choices the Jaguars could make come April's draft.
Jones brings one thing that many prospects do not this year: the chance to become a difference-maker on defense. Capable of getting to the quarterback, Jones would be a tremendous fit in the Jaguars defense. I'm up in the air as to where he would be played, if that is outside linebacker or converted to the Leo end.
Health was the obvious concern that pushed Jones all the way to the second round in some minds, but he has been cleared of all the major red flags, including the rumors of spinal stenosis.
Perhaps the national perception is still to stay away from Jones, but the Jaguars and defensive-minded Gus Bradley know how rare it is to have the chance to bring in a guy like Jones, and he may just fit the new scheme that has been brought to Jacksonville.
The tough part about having the Jags' selection this year is that there are no fancy picks, and nothing would be less fancy than selecting an offensive lineman. Well, perhaps taking a punter would be, but thank goodness that was taken care of last season.
Eric Fisher is a very good right tackle who falls in the list as a potential selection for the Jags.
Fisher's stock has skyrocketed since the end of the college football season. As far as tackles go, he has the athleticism, strength and football knowledge to become an incredibly good anchor to the Jaguars' offensive line.
If the Jaguars are in the market for a right tackle (which they obviously are at this point), they will be able to land either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher. I see Joeckel going first to Kansas City, so I won't waste time putting him on this list.
In what is obvious and yet overstated, the Jaguars need to protect their quarterback. Whether it is Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne or possibly a rookie, the Jaguars cannot head into next season with Cameron Bradfield starting at tackle. The pocket breakdown has been an issue in Jacksonville for the past five years, and it needs improvement in order to see an offense succeed.
Keeping defense in mind, the Jaguars need to improve their pass rush and pass coverage. Dion Jordan would surely help when it comes to rushing the quarterback.
Jordan's a freakish-type athlete which is not only exciting, but also dangerous. On tape, he's a very good player who was productive during his time at Oregon. In the NFL, can he continue his high level of play, or will his athleticism quickly be matched by the talent in the NFL?
At 6'6" and 240 pounds, it's anybody's guess as to where he will play. Does he pack on some weight and play defensive end, or does he stay outside as a linebacker in a 3-4 defense? I have no doubt that Bradley's capable of utilizing Jordan, as he is another candidate for the Leo in the new defense.
With Jordan's speed (4.60 40) and size, he has the potential of becoming a special player, but he also possesses some risk with such a high selection.
Sticking to defense, you just cannot overlook a great talent when he's available about your selection. Sharrif Floyd of Florida is one of those talents.
Floyd doesn't pop out at you with his size, but his talent and ability to get into the pocket are rare. Somewhat similar to Ndomukong Suh, Floyd would give the Jaguars a very, very good defensive tackle and situational end.
In a crowded position already, the Jaguars would need to make sure that Floyd, Tyson Alualu, C.J. Mosley and newly acquired Roy Miller could be utilized to their full abilities and establish a rotation that would give offenses plenty of trouble.
The last player to make the list is Dee Milliner. This is the longest shot out of all on the list, but two things are clear to me: One, the Jaguars are drafting for need, and two, the Jaguars have yet to have a quality starter at corner.
After losing Derek Cox to the Chargers in free agency, releasing Aaron Ross and choosing not to sign Rashean Mathis, the Jaguars are in a complete rebuild at cornerback.
Signing Alan Ball is a nice move for depth, but he cannot be relied on to start. Milliner is almost 6'1", he provides great speed and coverage skills and is the best corner in the draft. The only question is whether or not he can play the physical press coverage that Bradley will seemingly push on his secondary.
The cornerback position offers quality players throughout the first two to three rounds, so it would not surprise me to see the Jaguars pass on Milliner this early. But he makes more sense compared to reaching for a different defensive end or linebacker.
Players that missed the list include: QB Geno Smith, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, DT Star Lotulelei and DE Ziggy Ansah.
Smith, to me, represents a quality prospect who provides the Jaguars the chance to trade down and gather a few more draft picks. With no shortage of teams needing a quarterback, the Jaguars hold a pick before Oakland, Arizona and Buffalo, three teams that may select him if available.
When it comes to the Jaguars taking Smith, I don't see it. New QB coach Frank Scelfo already stated he believed Gabbert would've been the best quarterback prospect if he was in this year's draft, so why would they draft a guy they feel has less to work with?
Mingo is a freak without much production. He's a guy you take based purely on the drills and athleticism, not on the tape. I would not be shocked if the Jags actually pulled the trigger on him due to his size and speed, but it would be a big reach in my eyes.
Lotulelei is a star, but I don't understand where he fits into the rebuilding of the Jags defense. Floyd offers more versatility, as well as the ability to get to the quarterback. Lotulelei can fit into a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, so I would expect him to be gone by pick No. 10.
Lastly, Ansah offers such a high ceiling with such a low basement. Pick No. 2 is not where you select an experiment, and that's what Ansah is at this point. If the Jags sat at pick No. 20, this would be a wonderful pick, but not this year. Ansah has the potential to become a Jason Pierre-Paul, but he could also be a Vernon Gholston.
It's an exciting time with almost a month before the start of the draft. Stocks will rise and fall daily, but rest assured that these players will be in play for the Jaguars' pick.
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