The Jaguars are going to focus on upgrading their defense this offseason. I've had them drafting Myles Jack for a while, and I believe they will go that route - unless Joey Bosa happens to be available. Jacksonville has a weak edge rush, even with Dante Fowler set to return. The team has to add personnel to improve its ability to get to the quarterback, as that will perhaps allow it to finally be truly competitive against the Colts (when Andrew Luck is healthy).
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Myles Jack, LB - Jack would be a huge upgrade over the declining Paul Posluszny, and the knee isn't a concern for some teams.
2. DeForest Buckner, DE - I wouldn't count on Buckner here either, but I think the other two choices are more likely.
Rd. 2, Pk. 7
Artie Burns, CB, Miami
A number of cornerbacks are expected to go off the board atop the second round, and that includes Artie Burns. The Jaguars will certainly be interested in one, and Burns has the size they covet.
Rd. 3, Pk. 6
Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
I wasn't kidding when I said that the Jaguars had to address their pass rush in the 2016 NFL Draft. Multiple players are needed in this regard, and Sheldon Day would be a nice fit as someone who could create havoc in the interior.
Rd. 4, Pk. 5
Jalen Mills, CB/S, LSU
The Jaguars signed Tashaun Gipson this offseason, but they may not be done at safety. John Cyprien has struggled at the other spot, so here's some needed competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 7
Michael Thomas, WR, Southern Miss
I think the Jaguars could add a receiver in the middle rounds, and Michael Thomas certainly fits the range at this spot.
From what I've heard from sources, Jacksonville would be happy with either Bosa or Myles Jack. If both are available, the Jaguars would go with Bosa because they want to improve their pass rush and value an edge rusher over a linebacker.
After missing the 2015 season opener with a suspension because he refused to take a drug test, Bosa totaled 51 tackles with 16 for a loss and five sacks on the year. While he didn't play poorly, he wasn't as tenacious as he was in 2014, despite seeing some single-block pass-rushing opportunities. Bosa looked better as a run defender. He achieved pressure on the quarterback, but wasn't prolific in the pass rush. Sources say that Bosa is like another Ryan Kerrigan for the NFL and the media has overhyped him. However unlike Kerrigan, teams have some minor off-the-field concerns with Bosa such as being a partier and liking to go to raves.
During 2014, Bosa recorded 55 tackles with 13.5 sacks, 21 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and a pass defended. He simply lived in opponents' backfields. The 6-foot-5, 269-pounder has some speed to go with natural strength. He possesses a burst off the snap and can turn the corner, but isn't a true speed demon off the edge. As a sophomore, Bosa also showed good hands to shed blocks while working upfield. He racked up 44 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble that season.
From what I'm hearing from sources, if Ryan Kelly makes it to this pick, the Jaguars will take him. After that, they would go with an edge rusher or cornerback. Even if Jacksonville lands Joey Bosa in the first round, I think they would take Noah Spence in Round 2.
There is no doubt that Spence has a good skill set as an edge rusher. The 6-foot-2, 254-pounder would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker to rush off the edge. He has speed and agility to get the better of offensive tackles.
Spence had an excellent Senior Bowl on the field, but some sources say that Spence didn't interview well regarding the off-the-field issues that plagued his career. Similar players like Randy Gregory, Janoris Jenkins and Tyrann Mathieu - who all had substance and legal problems - ended up going on Day 2 of their respective drafts. In speaking to some other teams, they believe Spence will go in the first round, so he is in for an interesting draft day as it will take the right team to pull the trigger on him in Round 1.
Spence played well for Ohio State in 2013, collecting 52 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, one forced fumble and two passes broken up. However to end that season, Spence was suspended for three games. He was then suspended in 2014 for repeated failed drug tests for ecstasy. After transferring to Eastern Kentucky, Spence had an arrest for public intoxication. He overwhelmed weaker competition there in 2015 with 63 tackles with 22.5 for a loss and 11.5 sacks. It weren't for off-the-field issues, Spence could be a high first-round pick.
Pick change; previously William Jackson III, CB
Rd. 3, Pk. 7
Beniquez Brown, OLB/ILB, Mississippi State
The Jaguars grab an understudy for Paul Posluszny.
Brown (6-1, 229) had an impressive season for the Bulldogs and was a tough defender in the middle of their defense. In 2015, he totaled 99 tackles with 11 for a loss, four sacks, two passes broken up and an interception. Brown had 62 and 39 tackles as a sophomore and freshman, respectively.
The Jaguars grab some cornerback depth and competition. Prince Amukamara only signed a 1-year contract.
Miller was one of the small-school defensive backs to take advantage of the opportunity to impress at the Senior Bowl. He had a strong week in Mobile and illustrated coverage skills for the NFL. Miller turned in an excellent senior year with four interceptions, 10 passes broken up, and 49 tackles. He had three interceptions as a junior and four as a sophomore.
Miller (5-11, 182) has decent height, but he needs to fill out his frame. He ran a very slow 40 at the combine, and that could hurt him come draft day.
The Jags offense made a huge leap in 2015, unfortunately, their defense did not, and they frequently lost high scoring games. With Fowler coming back from his injury, they should have their Leo pass rusher at last and Malik Jackson should be a solid addition up front as a 2 gaping DT. The rest of their defensive line, however, is not pretty. Without going too in depth into Bradley's defensive scheme, they run a hybrid defense which is technically a 4-3 but is more of a gap system than a penetration scheme like most 4-3's. This means that they will want one smaller, versatile pass rushing end to play wide and get around the edge (Fowler), a 2-gap NT, and two run stopping DE's who are strong enough to take responsibility for two gaps on a run play if need be, but versatile enough to penetrate as well. The ability to get to the QB on pass plays is also important, especially for the defensive end (think Michael Bennett). DeForest Buckner should be perfect for this scheme as the "non-leo" defensive end.
Team Needs: CB, C, OL, OLB, & DB
2015 Offense Rankings: Total-21st, Pass-20th, Run-28th
2015 Defense Rankings: Total-26th, Pass-31st, Run-17th
Jaguars would love if Ramsey or Hargreaves would fall to them. Jacksonville needs defensive backfield help but would love to add a pass rusher who is versatile. Gus Bradley needs his defense to finally develop or else he will be canned. The offense came on late last year but the pass defense couldn't cover a cold. Drafting Bosa would allow Bradley to use him in multiple roles to rush the pass. This pick is a match make in heaven for both parties.
According to NFL.com
NFL COMPARISON: Ryan Kerrigan
Combine Grade: 6.72
College All-American (2015)
CFP National Champion (2015)
Sugar Bowl Champion (2015)
Big Ten Champion (2014)
Unanimous All-American (2014)
2× First Team All-Big Ten (2014, 2015)
Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year (2014)
2× Smith–Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year (2014, 2015)
Freshman All-American (2013)
Freshman All-Big Ten (2013)
Gus Bradley is entering his fourth year as the HC for the Black & Teal. Bradley's Bunch must show significant improvement in both wins and talent development in order for him to keep his job. His defense finished with a 31st ranking, giving up a whopping 28 points a game. The pass defense underwhelmed, finishing 24th, and fared a little better against the run, finishing 15th. But the most glaring need is pass rusher; if we learned anything from SB 50 is that you must be able to affect the passer in this league. It's still early in the process, but Joey Bosa could fall in their lap. Bosa has drawn comparisons to the Great J.J.Watt, and Bosa has the tools to improve that struggling pass defense greatly. However in this CMD, Jacksonville snatches the versatile Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has the ability to play both Corner and Free Safety and the Jags need playmakers at both positions. The former FSU standout would give Bradley that ball-hawking DB that's been missing in their secondary.
Here is what I wrote about the previous pick of Andrew Billings: "(He) went out and ran as fast at the combine as I expected after watching the tape. He is one of those rare DLs who gets tired at the end of games, not because he's out of shape but because he chases more plays sideline to sideline than any DL you will watch. I don't believe the second round talk on him at all. This is their Brandon Mebane in Gus Bradley's system. No way are they going to invest in Malik Jackson then leave Roy Miller or Abry Jones next to him so that guards and tight ends can chip on him all game and make him the most overpaid player in the league. Billings is easily the best defensive lineman in the draft and a no-brainer pick here."
Don't ask me why he is being downgraded so much, but I suspect the answer is that the NFL draft has become very similar to the NBA draft in recent years, where teams who actually need to get as many guys as possible who are developed and ready to play, take extremely raw, developmental players instead. Then in five years, you look back and see that they are picking in the top 16 again after three out of four years picking in the top 16. I like what Jacksonville is going, but I don't like this pick at all. Here is what I wrote about Buckner in the original mock of him to the Cowboys in round 2:
"Remember the Zeke Elliott pick. This is not a good draft for the Cowboys to make logical picks. They will be high-fiving and talking about stealing Buckner, but I think this is actually high for him. Watch the tape from 2013 and compare his play to Armstead. Buckner is big but unathletic, and unlike Calais Campbell who he is compared to, the additional weight will just make him slower and less flexible. One of the most over-rated players we've seen in the draft since Clowney."
** Previous Pick ** NT Andrew Billings.
The Jaguars will be bummed with the departure of Jack going a pick before them but they will opt to go with a desperate need in the secondary in Vernon Hargreaves. Hargreaves will plug into a desperate secondary and should have a huge impact.
Scouting report: Premier, quick twitch athlete with explosion pulsing through his hips and feet. Instant click-and-close action to explode forward and attack the throw. Vertical springs to go up and over receivers at the high point. Smooth, controlled backpedal with ability to weave and mirror route progressions. Plays with outstanding body control and balance. Feet are electric. Can overwhelm lesser opponents across from him. Instinctive and urgent in his play. Excels from press, off or zone coverage. Fiery competitor with a strong desire to own the pass. Has quick, soft hands. Posted 38 passes defensed and 10 interceptions over last three years. Could see early kick or punt return action. Unwilling to stay blocked and doesn't hesitate for one moment in run support and against wide receiver screens. Chest-up tackler who runs through his target.
Other possibilities: Joey Bosa DE, Myles Jack LB
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Vernon Hargreaves Going to Jaguars
Rd. 1, Pk. 5
Jalen Ramsey, CB/S,
Stupid teams do stupid things. The Jaguars used to be a stupid team, but they've made great strides recently, and now look like they're on the cusp of competing for the playoffs. They've taken another step toward that with this pick. Jalen Ramsey is one of the top two players in the draft. Jacksonville shouldn't have been able to obtain him with the fifth-overall selection, but it did. Congrats, Jaguars! You're one of the winners of the draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 5
Myles Jack, OLB,
I usually penalize teams for moving up in the 2016 NFL Draft, as history has shown that it's not a good idea to squander resources. However, the Jaguars shifted up just two spots to obtain someone who was in consideration at No. 5 overall. That earns an automatic A+.
This might just be the best pick of the draft. Excluding his injury, Jack was seen as perhaps the best player in this class. He would've been a top-five selection had he not hurt his knee. He fell out of the first round because teams were scared off, but given that it's become apparent that Jack doesn't need micro-fracture knee surgery, there's no excuse for the Browns and Chargers for passing on him. Credit the Jaguars, who are killing this draft. Oh, and also major dap to Charlie Campbell, who called this hours ago on Twitter!