Jacksonville Jaguars 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Jacksonville Jaguars 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off of a 4-12 season as they hold the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. 2013’s losing season marked the sixth straight season the Jaguars finished with a non-winning record. The last time the franchise finished with a winning record was the last time they made the postseason (2007).
Much of the same problems that have plagued the franchise in recent years led to the dismal record and the 0-8 start for the team in 2013. The offense finished dead last in points per game last season. In 2012, the offense finished 30th and in 2011 it finished 28th in the very same category. For three consecutive seasons now, the offensive unit has been one of the worst in the league.
Much of this can be attributed to the lack of quality play at the quarterback position. The franchise has yet to find a franchise quarterback, as 2011 first-round draft selection Blaine Gabbert has been one of the bigger busts of recent memory while Chad Henne is best suited as a veteran backup at quarterback. The biggest priority for the Jaguars entering the draft will be finding a young quarterback to lead the franchise.
On the defensive side of the football, the lack of a pass rush has been evident over the last two seasons. The Jaguars rank dead last in total sacks over the past two years. Jason Babin led the squad with 7.5 sacks. The team’s top priority on defense will be finding a pass rushing defensive end.
Now that the NFL Combine is officially over, here is the Jaguars’ latest seven-round mock draft.
First Round - QB Blake Bortles
The Houston Texans will take Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 1 overall pick. In this scenario, the Jaguars will select University of Central Florida's Blake Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick. There has been the never-ending question of whether the Jaguars will address their quarterback or pass rusher need with the No. 3 overall selection. Considering Jadeveon Clowney should be taken with the No. 2 overall pick, this leaves Bortles to the Jaguars.
Bortles has everything you want in your prototypical quarterback. He has size at 6-foot-5 and 232-pound, and he has the mobility and toughness that is reminiscent of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The Jaguars like their quarterbacks big, as 2011's first-round draft selection, Blaine Gabbert, also stands at 6-foot-5. Expect Jacksonville to select Bortles over the 6-foot Johnny Manziel on draft day.
Second Round - DE Scott Crichton
The Jaguars need a pass rusher in this draft. An elite pass rusher is preferred, but the franchise likely won't get that with their second-round pick. Defensive end Scott Crichton of Oregon State isn't a dominant pass rushing defensive end, but he is a top pass rushing defensive end in this draft class. Crichton had 7.5 sacks in 2013 and nine in 2012. The reason for his decline in sack totals from one year to the next was due to opponents revolving their game plans around slowing down Crichton.
The team will hope Crichton can provide the same impact for the franchise at the NFL level.
Third Round - WR Martavis Bryant
With Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon's future in question with the franchise after having been suspended by the commissioner, the team needs a true No. 1 receiver and a big No. 1 receiver at that. Cecil Shorts is a quality move-the-chains guy, but he should not be a team’s go-to target. That’s the role that he served for the team in 2013, but Shorts is too small for that at 6-foot and 202-pounds.
The Jaguars don’t have a single wide receiver on the roster any bigger. Clemson’s Martavis Bryant is one of the biggest receivers in this draft at 6-foot-5 and a little over 200-pounds. Provided he puts on some weight, Bryant could be the red zone threat that the franchise has desperately coveted for years.
Fourth Round - RB Lache Seastrunk
Franchise running back Maurice Jones-Drew is a free agent and he likely won't be brought back. The 29-year-old running back has clearly lost a step after carrying the franchise for the last eight years. Running back is the easiest skill position to develop on offense in the NFL, so the Jaguars don't have to spend a high pick on a back in the draft. Baylor's Lache Seastrunk should be available in the fourth round.
Seastrunk is a dynamic player with a high amount of potential and could be the team's replacement for Jones-Drew.
Fourth Round - C Marcus Martin
USC's Marcus Martin is a versatile offensive lineman with the ability to play two key positions of need for the Jaguars. Martin started at left guard for the Trojans in 2011 and 2012 before making the transition to starting center in 2013. With 14-year veteran Brad Meester having retired, the team has a void at center. Considering Martin's ability to play both interior positions, the franchise would kill two needs with one pick by drafting Martin.
Fifth Round - G Brandon Thomas
Clemson’s Brandon Thomas has the ability to play both tackle and guard, but at his 6-foot-3 frame, scouts feel he projects better as an inside guard. The Jaguars’ left guard situation is nothing to be satisfied about with inconsistent starting left guard Will Rackley. Thomas served as Clemson’s starting left tackle from 2012 onward. The Jaguars will attempt to upgrade at the left guard at some point during this draft.
Fifth Round - ILB Lamin Barrow
The team needs more playmakers on not only the offensive side of the football but the defensive side of the football as well. Inside linebacker Lamin Barrow of LSU had the third-fastest time of any linebacker at the Combine, running a 4.64. Though the team has its leader on defense with LB Paul Posluszny, outside of Posluszny, the team does not have an impressive linebacker corps by any means. Barrow could be a Day 1 starter and possesses tremendous value as a mid-round pick.
Fifth Round - TE Marcel Jensen
The Jaguars have stability at the tight end position with Marcedes Lewis, who is a valuable pass catcher in a lethargic offense. However, there is no depth at the position. The franchise is simply looking for a big tight end who can line up with Lewis in two tight end formations to help with the run blocking games. Marcel Jensen of Fresno State fits the mold.
At 6-foot-6 and nearly 260-pounds, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger tight end in this draft.
Sixth Round - QB Connor Shaw
Jaguars owner Shad Khan has mentioned intentions of drafting two quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Considering the Jaguars’ mess at the quarterback position, it seems like a good idea. South Carolina's Connor Shaw was one of the more accomplished quarterbacks in college football when he started the past three seasons for the Gamecocks. Versus SEC competition, he threw 24 touchdowns to just one interception.
To make matters even better, Shaw increased his draft stock during the Combine when he ran the fastest 40-yard-dash time of all quarterbacks with a 4.55 on his second attempt. The NFL is a league of young, fast quarterbacks now. Shaw fits that mold and at the very least could be a developmental quarterback in the organization.
Seventh Round - CB Andre Hal
You really can’t go wrong with picks in the seventh round. If a player even appears in a few regular season games for the team as a seventh-round draft pick, it will be considered a successful pick. Andre Hal of Vanderbilt was an All-SEC Second-Team selection in 2013, and he played against some of the best quarterbacks in the country in Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw.
Although Hal struggled against Texas A&M’s Mike Evans in a regular season matchup in 2013, the 6-foot, 188-pound defensive back possesses the ability to provide depth at the defensive back position for an NFL team.