By Kevin Major @KevinMajor_Rant on April 22, 2014
The Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2013 season ranked 28th in points allowed and dead last in points scored per game on their way to a 4-12 season. In order to change their fortunes in 2014, the Jaguars will need to take advantage of their 11 draft picks and stockpile young talent. With positional needs all over their roster, Jacksonville can go many different directions in the draft. Here is a look at how the Jaguars' draft could break down.
Drafting Khalil Mack would provide the Jaguars with a true playmaker on defense. Mack is a disruptive force who has the potential to dominate as a pass-rusher in the NFL. In addition, he has the athleticism to drop into coverage as a traditional outside linebacker. Mack's versatility would give the Jaguars another weapon on a defensive front that already features Jason Babin, Chris Clemons and Red Bryant.
Jacksonville lacks depth and skill at the cornerback position. Kyle Fuller would be a great choice for the Jags in the second-round. At 6-foot, Fuller has the height to matchup against taller receivers at the next level. His instincts and experience would enable him to start for Jacksonville right away.
The Blaine Gabbert experience has come to an end in Jacksonville, leaving Chad Henne as the team's starting quarterback. The Jags will likely bring in another quarterback through the draft to compete with Henne. Tom Savage is a prospect who is quickly rising up draft boards. He has prototypical size and elite arm strength. If given the time to develop his mechanics behind Henne, Savage has the potential to be a quality starter in the NFL.
The Jaguars signed Zane Beadles this offseason to help improve the interior of their offensive line. Adding Chris Watt in the fourth round would add more depth and skill to the guard position. Watt was a three-year starter at Notre Dame who showed sound technique and above-average athleticism. He could compete with Will Rackley for the guard spot opposite Beadles.
The Jaguars signed Toby Gerhart to replace longtime face of the franchise Maurice Jones-Drew at running back. Drafting Lache Seastrunk would give Jacksonville a young back to pair with Gerhart for years to come. Seastrunk was very productive during his junior season at Baylor, rushing for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. He possesses great quickness and balance that will enable him to succeed at the next level.
Seantrel Henderson has the athleticism and size to be a dominant right tackle in the NFL. Unfortunately, he has been plagued by poor decision-making and inconsistent play that will likely cause him to slip in the 2014 NFL Draft. Still, in the fifth round, Henderson is worth taking a shot on. If Jacksonville can surround Henderson with quality veterans who will keep him in line, he could end up being the steal of the draft.
After missing out on Alex Mack this offseason, the Jaguars are still in search of a center to replace the recently retired Brad Meester. At 6-foot-4, 315-pounds, Bryan Stork is a physically imposing center with above-average athleticism and great football intelligence. The Rimington Trophy winner would compete with Mike Brewster for the starting spot in Jacksonville.
Justin Blackmon remains suspended indefinitely after he violated the league's substance abuse policy for the third time. Consequently, the Jaguars will need to add depth at wide receiver to help offset the loss of the former first-round pick. Cody Hoffman is a tall, possession receiver who was a four-year starter at BYU. At the very least, Hoffman would provide the Jaguars with a red zone receiving threat.
In the sixth round, the Jaguars could add another receiver in Alex Neutz. Like Hoffman, Neutz is a tall receiver who put up big-time numbers while in college. During his final season at Buffalo, he caught 61 passes for 1,024 yards and 12 touchdowns. Neutz's route running ability should allow him to compensate for his average athleticism to become an effective NFL receiver.
As the former defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley understands the importance of a deep defensive line. Drafting Kerry Hyder in the sixth round would add depth to a much-improved defensive front in Jacksonville. Hyder is a tweener who can play both tackle and end. His versatility would help him make the roster and contribute as a rotation player for the Jaguars.
In the later rounds of the draft, teams are looking for prospects who can contribute as special teams players. Deion Belue would be able to help the Jaguars on special teams while also providing depth in their secondary. Despite his size, Belue is a tough competitor who is not afraid to get physical. Down the road, he has the potential to play the nickel corner.
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