Believe what you want about UCLA linebacker Myles Jack and his knee. The Jacksonville Jaguars have done their homework and it is fair to say that they don’t believe his torn meniscus is an issue. They are reportedly locked into Jack with the fifth overall pick, and this is the player the Jaguars must select in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Jack is the kind of player who should step onto an NFL field and make an immediate impact. The Jaguars need a player of his caliber this season as they are set to contend this year. They spent a small fortune this offseason and have brought in several big name free agents. They are clearly trying to take that next step and get into the playoffs this season and with good reason.
After years of futility, the Jaguars have drafted fairly well and have built a solid offensive core with Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and T.J. Yeldon, who should have a better sophomore season. They did sign Chris Ivory just in case that doesn’t happen.
On defense, they will get Dante Fowler, Jr. back after he tore his ACL in training camp last season. They have veteran Paul Posluszny and added defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Prince Amukamara. They could use another player on defense to team up with Fowler as potential cornerstones for the next few years.
Jack is one of the most dynamic players in this draft on either side of the football. He is one of the most complete linebacker prospects to come out of college in the last few years and would be an instant upgrade for the Jaguars at any linebacker position.
The kind of athleticism Jack possesses doesn’t come around very often, even if he is coming off a knee injury. He showed he was able to hang with tight ends, running backs and slot receivers while at UCLA. He might not be an elite blitzer, but the potential is there. He is a legitimate weapon.
Adding Jack could be the final piece of the playoff puzzle. The Jaguars might have finished 5-11 last year, but they certainly believe they are ready for that next step and there is no reason to think they can’t contend for a playoff spot. Jack would give head coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Todd Walsh a weapon they haven’t had in Jacksonville and it could be just what the doctor ordered for the Jaguars.