The Jaguars needed offensive line help much more than another player on the defensive front heading into free agency, but they signed Jermey Parnell to a big contract, so they can definitely go with the top player on their board. While many believe that to be Leonard Williams, I'm hearing that Williams isn't as highly regarded among teams as he is in the media, as there is some concern with his consistency. Dante Fowler might be higher on Jacksonville's board. Besides, Fowler fills a greater need in the wake of the Jared Odrick signing. The Jaguars have to find a better edge rusher.
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Rd. 2, Pk. 4
Byron Jones, CB/S, Connecticut
The Jaguars signed Davon House to a terrible deal - check the NFL Free Agent Signing Grades page for details - but they still could use another cornerback, and Byron Jones has the size Gus Bradley likes.
And yes, Byron Jones could go this early. In fact, he could be chosen in the first round. He already had good tape, so he's not just a workout warrior. The athleticism he displayed at the NFL Combine could push him into Thursday.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford
The Jaguars should look at the secondary again, as all they did at the safety position this offseason was sign Sergio Brown.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn
It was obvious that Toby Gerhart was going to be a bust signing, and he predictably disappointed. Denard Robinson looked decent at times, but he can't handle a full work6load.
Rd. 5, Pk. 3
Martrell Spaight, OLB, Arkansas
The Jaguars could stand to bolster their linebacking corps. They signed Dan Skuta, but he won't be enough.
The top talents available for Jacksonville are Fowler and Leonard Williams. The Jaguars need an edge rusher more as Jared Odrick was signed, Sen'Derrick Marks was their best player last year, Roy Miller was re-signed, and David Caldwell just brought back Tyson Alualu to go with Ziggy Hood. Thus, Jacksonville is deep on the end/tackle types. Chris Clemons had eight sacks in 2014, but he turns 34 later this year, and Jacksonville could use an edge rusher on the other side from him. Fowler has the high character and leadership the Jaguars are drawn to while being able to fill the LEO linebacker position or defensive end. He makes tons of sense to be the organization's pick.
Fowler finished 2014 with a total of 60 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, one pass broken up and a forced fumble. He was extremely disruptive and a big presence behind the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-3, 261-pounder is fast and physical. He has a lot of upside for the NFL. Fowler could play defensive end or stay as a 3-4 outside linebacker. At the Combine, he showed excellent speed and athleticism while also interviewing well with teams.
Fowler was excellent for the Gators in 2013. He racked up 50 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one pass batted and three forced fumbles for the season. Fowler was a First-Team All-SEC Freshman-Team selection in 2012 even though he was a backup. Fowler recorded 47 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks that year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 4
Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State
The Jaguars need a feature back to lead their offense. Ajayi's three-down skills should make him a good fit for Greg Olson's system.
Ajayi is a versatile back who looks well suited for NFL offenses. The 6-foot, 221-pounder averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2014 for 1,689 yards with 25 touchdowns. Through the air, he notched 45 receptions for 536 yards and four touchdowns. Ajayi has the speed to break off yards in chunks, plus is athletic and tough.
Ajayi broke out for Boise State in 2013 as he averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 1,425 yards with 18 touchdowns. Ajayi also dragged down 22 receptions for 222 yards and a score. He ran for 548 yards and four scores as a freshman. Ajayi has some quickness to go along with quality size.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
D'Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic
Jacksonville needs a free safety to pair with Jonathan Cyprien. Some think that Smith could play that position.
Smith is a corner who has impressed sources, and his strong play in 2014 earned him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He totaled 53 tackles with eight passes broken up and one forced fumble on the year. Smith has the speed and athleticism to be a cover corner, which is partly why opponents didn't throw his direction much this past season. In 2013, he recorded 13 passes broken up, seven interceptions and 35 tackles.
Smith (5-10, 189) is put together well with speed and athleticism. He looks like a possible second-day pick and had a respectable, but unspectacular, Senior Bowl.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
The Jaguars grab a trusty slot receiver for Blake Bortles.
Hardy is a quick receiver who combines good route-running with reliable hands. The senior recorded 121 receptions for 1,494 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, including an impressive performance against Florida. Hardy had a huge junior season with 114 receptions for 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns. He totaled 88 catches for 1,105 yards with 11 scores as a sophomore. In his freshman year, Hardy caught 64 passes for 658 yards with six touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder isn't the biggest receiver, but he knows how to get open.
Gregory is falling a little bit for me but I still like him but Fowler has the biggest reward being a beast in both the run and pass game. His physical tools are too big to pass up here. I see him fitting the 4-3 better than I do with Williams who is better/more comfortable in
My last update had the Jags signing Suh, which didn't happen. They instead signed Odrick. Putting Williams at DE with Marks and Odrick would make the Jags have a top 5 3-4 DL. Look for the Jags to target an edge rusher in the 2nd.
The Jags could certainly benefit from trading down but if they stay at their spot then you can't do much better than the Jacksonville kid coming back home. Gregory has Aldon Smith type ability rushing the passer. Kid is extremely fast coming off the edge but needs to improve his strength and technique. He will be a problem for offensive lines in the AFC South.
If the Jaguars want Blake Bortles to develop into a great QB, they’ll need to give him some protection. Bortles was sacked 55 times last year. Bortles should continue to improve alongside all the 2nd year receivers (Hurns, Lee, Robinson) as long as he can get enough time to throw.
Can't say Jags draft orthodox. Usually picking someone the majority including myself wouldn't. While I'm not a super Beasley fan, I have to agree with the people that say he is the perfect LEO. His added weight without losing his speed was by far the most impressive thing for me. Always knew he was fast, but was always concerned with his weight. He is a great athlete, if you couldn't tell by his combine numbers. While the Jags have needs in the secondary and OL, I Don't think there is a prospect at either position here. Williams is a real option here, a better one in my opinion but like I said Jags are usually unorthodox in their picks.