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NFL Jacksonville Jaguars

2014 NFL Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars’ Early Seven-Round Mock

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Jacksonville Jaguars' Seven-Round Mock

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With the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2013 campaign all but over, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas they must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.

Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest is quarterback. After three seasons at the helm, Blaine Gabbert has proven himself to be a bust. He was rightfully replaced by veteran Chad Henne, who isn’t much better. If the Jaguars have any hope of being competitive in today’s NFL, they’ll need to find a quality quarterback who can cure the offense’s ineptitude.

Despite their need at quarterback, the Jaguars still have other holes across the board. They’re going to need help at running back this offseason with their current starter likely to leave via free agency. Wide receiver is also a concern with their top target facing a big suspension. Just about every defensive position could also use some help. No matter what they use their picks on, they can’t really go wrong.

Either way, the Jaguars need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer them an opportunity to rebuild their roster and replace some of the broken pieces that have kept them in the loss column for the majority of the 2013 season.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Jaguars could choose to do with their 10 current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.

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1st Round: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

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One way or another, the Jaguars need to find themselves a new quarterback this offseason. Gabbert obviously isn’t the answer under center, and Henne is nothing more than a subpar backup. By drafting Bridgewater, Jacksonville would be getting arguably the best quarterback of the 2014 class. He has a terrific arm, phenomenal instincts and pocket awareness that you rarely see from a college passer. There’s still work to be done with Bridgewater, but he’s definitely a Day 1 starter.

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2nd Round: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

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Chances are that Maurice Jones-Drew will leave via free agency this offseason, which means the Jaguars will be looking for their new featured running back. If Gordon is still available at the top of the second round, Jacksonville would be smart to snag him. An explosive runner who only needs a sliver of space to take it the distance, Gordon has burst onto the scene this season. With sensational speed, vision and cutback ability, there’s no denying his talent. Pass blocking is a concern if he comes out early – he’s only a redshirt sophomore – but he’s a homerun threat whenever he touches the ball.

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3rd Round: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

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All year long, the Jaguars have been without a consistent pass rush. Their defensive ends have struggled to put pressure on opposing passers, and that needs to change moving forward. That’s where Crichton comes in. Crichton is an outstanding pass rusher who uses quickness and a wide array of moves to get under quarterbacks’ skin. He isn’t the greatest run defender, and will need some work with that area of his game. Still, he’s a high-motor player who makes plays with his tenacity. The Jaguars would greatly benefit from having Crichton aboard.

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4th Round: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (FL)

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With Luke Joeckel making the move to the left side, the Jaguars need to find a new right tackle to help solidify their offensive line. While Henderson is far from a lock to be a quality starter, the potential is definitely there. Henderson is a mountain of a man, using his massive frame and physicality to dominant defenders. Unfortunately, his size also hurts him, especially against speed rushers who simply run around him. If he can get his weight under control, there’s no telling how great Henderson can be.

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4th Round (via BAL): Mike Davis, WR, Texas

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With little depth and Justin Blackmon facing an uncertain future, the Jaguars need all of the help they can get at wide receiver. While Davis is far from a sure thing, there’s plenty of intrigue in the Texas product. A speedster with outstanding field-stretching abilities, Davis does a great job of getting deep in a hurry and making big plays. He still needs more polish on his route running and isn’t a huge after-catch playmaker, but his hands and blocking make him a great option for Jacksonville.

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5th Round: Ryan Groy, G, Wisconsin

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Heading into 2014, the Jaguars need to find a way to get better all along the offensive line. They’ve gotten terrible protection from their guards throughout the 2013 campaign, a big part of why their offense has struggled so much. By drafting a player like Groy, they’d have a quality guard who has the physical tools to start right away. He is a tremendous run blocker, using strength and handwork to open running lanes. His pass protection needs some work, but Groy would be a quality mid-round get for the Jaguars.

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5th Round (via BAL): Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane

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With intriguing size and terrific production during his college career, Grant has worked his way onto the NFL radar despite playing for a program not exactly known for producing NFL talent. Despite this setback, the Tulane product has made the most of his opportunities, carrying the offense and victimizing opposing defenses week in and week out. He has the size and hands to make a mark in the NFL, but needs to prove that he can be a playmaker against top talent. He’d be a steal in the fifth round.

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5th Round (via DET): Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State

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While their cornerback play hasn’t been horrid this season, they could definitely use some extra depth heading into 2014. Benwikere is a raw prospect who still has a lot to learn before he’s ready to be a weekly contributor in the NFL. He rarely played in man coverage, and struggled when he did. Especially against the run, he was hesitant and often avoided contact when he could. Still, Benwikere always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and has the small-school feel the Jaguars love.

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6th Round: Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford

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Even after drafting Gordon in the second, adding another young runner to the mix couldn’t hurt. Whereas Gordon is the lightning, Gaffney would bring some thunder to the equation. He’s a big, powerful back who uses toughness and tenacity to grind out yards. On top of that, he’s effective out of the backfield and is a capable pass blocker. If the Jaguars aren’t confident in Gordon being an every-down back, Gaffney could provide a quality compliment in a third-down role.

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7th Round: Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana

Via Jordan Tripp's Personal Facebook Page

The Jaguars have always been big on taking late-round fliers on small-school prospects, and their need for depth at linebacker leads them to select Tripp here. A little-known talent out of Montana, Tripp has been an extremely productive linebacker throughout his college career. He’s an outstanding run defender who plays the edge well. While Tripp isn’t a great pass rusher, he has the speed and athleticism to be a quality pass cover man. For a seventh-rounder, the Jaguars couldn’t ask for more value.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Content Planner for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.