The Jacksonville Jaguars 2012 NFL Draft class has not yet stepped on the field, so it is an effort in futility to assign each player a grade until we know a few years down the road how well the actually perform in a Jaguars uniform.
It is not too early, however, to take a look at what kind of impact each draft pick will have in their rookie season as the Jaguars look to improve on their 5-11 record from 2011.
Justin Blackmon, WR
The Jaguars had the worst passing offense in the NFL in 2011, so getting the best wide receiver available in this year’s draft makes a lot of sense. Blackmon will immediately step into a starting role opposite of free agent signing Laurent Robinson and will provide quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the physical possession type receiver he desperately needed.
Blackmon lacks game-breaking speed, but makes up for his lack of speed with excellent route running and great hands. He will be counted on to have a major impact in 2012 if the Jaguars passing offense is going to improve.
Andre Branch, DE
The Jaguars have spent years looking for an elite edge pass rusher and they hope they have found one in Branch. Branch should immediately step in and start opposite of Jeremy Mincey at defensive end and get after the opposing quarterback.
Branch’s strength is his quickness and his quick first step should give NFL offensive lineman trouble. His speed also allows him to be excellent in pursuit when it comes to stopping the run.
Bryan Anger, P
In order to justify this pick, Anger needs to have a massive and immediate impact on the Jaguars special teams in 2012. Without one practice Anger has already locked up the Jaguars starting punter job and will be counted on to help the Jags win the field position battle next season.
Anger has a deadly combination of power and accuracy with his kicks that allows him to flip field position or pin opponents deep in their own territory. If he can do both consistently, he will have a major impact on the Jaguars next season.
Brandon Marshall, OLB
Marshall projects as a reserve linebacker who can fill in at either the strong or weak side linebacker position, however his immediate impact will likely be on special teams.
Mike Harris, CB
Harris projects as a nickle corner in the NFL. He should provide some quality depth at a position that the Jaguars had decimated by injuries last season. He is an extremely physical player who is excellent against the run and should also have an impact on special teams next season.
Jeris Pendleton, DT
Pendleton is another big bodied defensive tackle that could fit into the Jaguars defensive line rotation. He was an extremely productive player at Division II Ashland. Fell to the seventh round due to the fact that he is coming into the league as a 28-year-old. He will have to earn a roster spot with an impressive camp.