Hayden Hurst was one of my "not" picks, as I reasoned that Tom Coughlin's old-school mentality would prevent him from taking a tight end in the first round. I've obviously changed my mind. There are 18-24 first-round prospects in this class, so this selection is effectively in the second round. Also, I think Coughlin may appreciate a complete tight end, so he'll value Hurst's blocking in addition to his receiving skills.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Courtland Sutton/Christian Kirk, WR - Some might think it's too early for Kirk, but given how quickly receivers have been plucked in recent drafts, and how much wideouts have been paid in free agency the past two springs, this is a possibility. Sutton is also a logical choice.
2. Jaire Alexander, CB - Maurice Jones-Drew mocked Alexander to his former team, and I think the pick makes sense. Someone will need to replace the departed Aaron Colvin.
Rd. 2, Pk. 29
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
The Jaguars have shown interest in plenty of offensive linemen, so I expect them to grab a blocker in the first few rounds.
Rd. 3, Pk. 29
Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
The Jaguars extended Blake Bortles this offseason, but there wasn't much new guaranteed money, so they can get out of the deal easily in the future. Here's a potential upgrade for 2019 and beyond.
Rd. 4, Pk. 29
Jeff Holland, DE/OLB, Auburn
You can never have too many potent edge rushers, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if the Jaguars use a mid-round pick on a player who can apply pressure on the quarterback.
Rd. 6, Pk. 29
Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt
Chris Ivory is gone, so the Jaguars may want to add another running back for depth.
Rd. 7, Pk. 12
Skai Moore, OLB, South Carolina
The Jaguars could stand to add a linebacker in the seventh round in the wake of Paul Posluszny's retirement.
Rd. 7, Pk. 29
Malik Reaves, CB, Villanova
The Jaguars lost Aaron Colvin this offseason, so they'll need to add a cornerback at some point.
If Leonard Fournette is available, I think the Jaguars will take him in a heartbeat. If Fournette doesn't get here, I think the Jaguars might go with Alabama tight end O.J. Howard or Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. Fournette is a no-brainer if he gets to Jacksonville.
In 2016, Fournette averaged 6.5 yards per carry for 843 yards with eight touchdowns. He recorded 15 receptions for 146 yards as well. Fournette set a school record with 284 yards on 16 carries against Ole Miss. The junior played well in 2016, but his ankle injury seemed to be holding back some of the speed and explosion he displayed as a sophomore.
Fournette (6-0, 240) has a serious burst to go along with a powerful build. He is a downhill physical runner who also is a threat to break off long touchdown runs. While obviously big and powerful, Fournette also has some wiggle to him with an elusive running style that makes him really hard to tackle.
Fournette was a superstar in 2015, overwhelming nearly every defense he took on. The sophomore averaged 6.5 yards per carry over the year for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 253 yards.
There were a lot of comparisons made of Fournette to Adrian Peterson when the former signed with LSU, and he validated the hype as a sophomore with his running style being very similar to Peterson's. Fournette didn't disappoint in 2014 either, setting the LSU record for yards from a freshman. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry for 1,034 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
Tom Coughlin's wants the Jaguars to improve their rushing attack and be a tougher, more physical team. They traded for Brandon Albert, but they can't count on the oft-injured veteran to be their long-term left tackle.
Team sources say the medical report on Ramczyk had some concerns. Some teams also question his love for football after he quit the sport after high school. Ramczyk had a strong 2016 season blocking for the Badgers in his debut as their starting left tackle. In 2013 and 2014, he was the starting left tackle at UW-Stevens Point where he earned a lot of accolades before sitting out the 2015 season with a redshirt after transferring to Wisconsin. Ramczyk was one of the better left tackles in college football during 2016.
Ramczyk (6-6, 310) has a lot of good qualities that could lead to him being a starting left tackle in the NFL. He is quick out his stance, fast to hit blocks in the second level, and is able to get in position for blocks in space. In pass protection, Ramczyk can play the type writer with his feet and shuffle with rushers. He gets depth in his drop as well. On some plays, Ramczyk can be slow to react and adjust to counter pass-rush moves, but that will change as he gains more experience. Ramczyk also needs to add more strength. He can get bull rushed and pushed back by rushers. His frame doesn't look maxed out though, and he should get stronger in an NFL strength and conditioning program.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
The Jaguars could use multiple additions to their weak offensive line.
Sources say that Davenport has superb measurements to be a starting left tackle in the NFL. He weighed in at the Senior Bowl at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds and possesses excellent length with 36-inch arms and 10.5-inch hands. Davenport has good athleticism with quick feet and a background in playing basketball. He needs to add a lot of strength, however, as he plays too high and can get pushed around. Davenport also struggles with redirecting and can get bull rushed. He needs some developmental time in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
The Jaguars could consider taking multiple tight ends considering Marcedes Lewis turns 33 just after the 2017 NFL Draft and Julius Thomas was traded away.
Roberts (6-4, 261) is a blocking tight end for the NFL, yet he also has some receiving ability. Scouting sources said that Roberts could be the best pure Y - blocking - tight end in the 2017 NFL Draft. They say Roberts is athletic enough to make some plays as a short option or in the red zone. He had a quality week at the Senior Bowl, minus a few dropped passes. In 2016, Roberts totaled 45 receptions for 533 yards with 16 touchdowns. As a junior, he made 21 catches for 234 yards with four scores.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Avery Gennesy, G, Texas A&M
Tom Coughlin wants the Jaguars to get tougher. Here's a blocker to help their competition up front, and they've shown some interest in Gennesy.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Ben Boulware, ILB, Clemson
The Jaguars could use some inside linebacker depth given the age of Paul Posluszny and Myles Jack struggling as a rookie.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington
The Jaguars grab some linebacker depth and brought in Ebukam for a visit.
Jacksonville signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but he was cheap and only signed a 2-year deal, so the team didn't make a long-term commitment. Marcedes Lewis turns 34 after the 2018 NFL Draft, and Hurst is a freaky athlete who would help Jacksonville's passing attack and help block for Leonard Fournette. Hurst, Lewis and Seferian-Jenkins could form some dangerous double-tight sets to help open holes for Fournette with safer receivers for Blake Bortles. The Jaguars are in win-now mode, so the age of Hurst probably won't be a big deterrent. Additionally, they are getting a good value with the best tight end in the draft late in the first round. <br> <br>
Hurst totaled 44 receptions for 559 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. He also rushed for a touchdown. Team sources have raved about Hurst and think that he has a first-round skill set. They say he might slip to the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, but they love the physical talent of the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder. <br> <br>
Sources say they heard early on that Hurst would skip his senior year to enter the 2018 NFL Draft because he is a bit older at 24 years old. Hurst played professional baseball in the minor leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization out of high school. Because of his delayed start in football, sources say that Hurst is still raw as a route-runner and blocker. However, he has a great skill set with upside to improve quickly once he is taught some technique. In 2016, Hurst had 48 receptions for 616 yards with one touchdown. A lack of production from not many opportunities is another factor that could force him down.
Jacksonville has Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson entering free agency, and after Dave Caldwell vastly overpaid Allen Hurns, the Jaguars may only re-sign one of them. Considering Robinson's frustrations with Blake Bortles, I wouldn't be surprised if Robinson signs a 1-year "prove it" deal elsewhere and hopes to cash in on a big contract a year later. If the Jaguars lose one of Robinson or Lee, they are going to need another receiver for their offense. <br> <br>
Thus far in 2017, Sutton has 37 catches for 570 yards with nine touchdowns. He totaled 76 receptions in 2016 for 1,246 yards - a 16.5-yard average - with 10 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions. <br> <br>
Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them in 2016. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Docton, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
If Blake Bortles doesn't have a big season, the Jaguars will be searching for a potential franchise quarterback. Given how Bortles has looked this preseason, Jacksonville could easily be targeting a quarterback high in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars really liked Deshaun Watson as a prospect, and there are a lot of similarities with Jackson as both are very intelligent dual-threat quarterbacks who elevate the play of those around them. <br> <br>
Jackson led Louisville to a shoot-out win over Purdue in the 2017 season opener as he completed 30-of-46 passes for 378 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for 107 yards on 21 carries. <br> <br>
Jackson (6-3, 205) set college football on fire in 2016 while winning the Heisman Trophy. He was a massive point-producer for the Cardinals. Jackson completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,571 yards while averaging six yards per carry. Jackson has a good athletic skill set, but he will need to show more accuracy and pocket-passing skills in 2017 to be a high draft pick. Jackson also faces some size concerns.
The Jags are a prime candidate to possibly move up for a quarterback in this draft. In my opinion, they are a rare team that is one player away from being a true Super Bowl contender with this solid roster and that one spot being at quarterback. Plus, if they stay here they are kind of in no man's land on who they might take and either way the player will probably have little impact right away. Maybe they take Kirk if they let Allen Robinson walk. I know they have other smaller slot options who emerged last season, but Kirk is a rare explosive talent who has a chance to be great pick if he slides. Maybe Tom Coughlin will love him like he did with OBJ coming out of LSU while no one else in the NFL really noticed him, similar to Kirk here.
Last Mock Pick: Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
Allen Robinson walked in free agency to the Chicago Bears, so the Jags could be looking for someone to take his spot. A name shooting up draft boards and could very well crack the first round is D.J. Moore, a versatile receiver who can line up anywhere an offensive coordinator wants him to. A lot of people compare him to another former Maryland receiver, Stefon Diggs. Diggs is having a very good career with the Minnesota Vikings after falling to the fifth round. Moore likely won't become a true #1 receiver, but I think he's a very safe bet to become a solid #2 receiver. He'd contribute right away and perhaps become Blake Bortles' new best friend.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with D.J. Moore Going to Jaguars
Rd. 1, Pk. 29
Taven Bryan, DT
Taven Bryan doesn't exactly fill a need, but the first round is not necessarily a time for needs. Selecting the best player available who makes sense is usually a winning strategy, and the Jaguars appear to have made a very strong move.
Bryan was being discussed as a possible top-20 prospect. Getting him at No. 30 is great value, and it doesn't hurt to have another interior pass-rusher to rattle Deshaun Watson.
Rd. 2, Pk. 29
D.J. Chark, WR
D.J. Chark was the fourth- or fifth-ranked receiver by several teams, so it's a bit of a surprise to see him slip so late in the second round. The Jaguars won't complain, as they're getting quite the bargain at No. 61. Chark will fill a huge need at one of the starting receiver positions, vacated by Allen Robinson. It's not out of the question that Chark could be Jacksonville's top wideout by season's end.
Rd. 3, Pk. 29
Ronnie Harrison, S
"Wow" is what I just said aloud. Harrison is the third prospect I forgot was still on the board on Day 2. Harrison was a high second-round prospect, and if he would've been taken late in the first, I wouldn't have hated it. Harrison is a very talented safety who will make Jacksonville's defense even more dominant.
Rd. 4, Pk. 29
Will Richardson, OT
The Jaguars are having a fantastic draft. Will Richardson is a second-round talent, but fell because of off-the-field problems. The time is right to take a chance on someone like Richardson, and Jacksonville seems like the right place for Richardson to stay out of trouble.
Rd. 6, Pk. 29
Tanner Lee, QB
You'd think the Jaguars wouldn't draft a poor man's version of their current quarterback, but that's exactly what they did. Like Blake Bortles, Tanner Lee has a big arm but doesn't really know how to play quarterback well at all. If coached up, he could maybe become a semi-decent backup, but Jacksonville should've gone in a different direction.
Rd. 7, Pk. 12
Leon Jacobs, ILB
Leon Jacobs, if he does anything beyond special teams, will have to be limited to just two downs. He was strong versus the run in Wisconsin, but his coverage skills are questionable. This is a decent pick in the seventh round.
Rd. 7, Pk. 29
Logan Cooke, P
Logan Cooke isn't even a good punter prospect. I'd go lower than a "C" on this if I promised I wouldn't go lower than a "C" in the seventh round.