Jacksonville Jaguars Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
May 28, 2013

Solid Starter

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M – Round 1
I’m not a fan of the Jaguars taking a right tackle with the second-overall pick. Quality right tackles could have been found on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft or in free agency. If Jacksonville doesn’t re-sign Eugene Monroe next offseason and moves Joeckel to left tackle, the organization will be right back where it was before this offseason – with a solid left tackle and a weak rest of the line.

Monroe was the eighth overall-pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, so if he is re-signed, that means the Jaguars used a top-10 pick on a right tackle. That isn’t good value or commitment of resources.

That being said, Joeckel is a safe pick. He was excellent last year as he dominated the SEC. Joeckel is extremely agile, quick and intelligent. He has no issues negating speed-rushers and can stuff physical ends at the point of attack.

Joeckel is also quite balanced as a run-blocker and a pass-blocker. He had three years of good tape as the blind-side protector for Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel. I would be extremely surprised if Joeckel didn’t turn into a solid pro. The Jaguars should have one tackle position locked down for the next decade if he stays healthy and they re-sign him.

Most Likely To Bust

Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan – Round 5
It isn’t really fair to say that a fifth-round pick is a bust because the odds of a fifth-rounder sticking in the NFL are extremely small. That being said, Robinson could be the riskiest pick the Jaguars made in the 2013 NFL Draft. General manager David Caldwell made a lot of safe picks in his first draft. Jacksonville took a lot of players who look like they could be solid pros. The team didn’t go for boom-or-bust prospects, with the lone exception of Robinson.

Robinson was an excellent running quarterback for Michigan, but he doesn’t have the arm to be a NFL quarterback. Therefore it was no surprise that Robinson took part in the Senior Bowl as a wide receiver. He is going to have to transition to wide out or running back to have a pro career.

Many players have attempted this in the past, and the odds of it working out have been long. Robinson looked very unnatural as a receiver in Mobile. His route-running wasn’t terrible, but he struggled to catch the ball. Robinson showed improvement at the Combine and in pre-draft workouts, but he still has a long way to go.

Robinson has the speed and toughness to be a pro wide receiver, but he is going to need patience. The Jaguars aren’t contenders so they have some time to work with him, but in my opinion, Robinson will probably top out as a depth receiver. Jacksonville had already taken one receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft, so it seems very questionable that the organization took another receiver over another position group that hadn’t been addressed. The defensive line is weak and was neglected for instance. I think there is a much greater chance that Robinson will go bust rather than boom.

Potential Boom Pick

Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International – Round 2
Cyprien could easily have gone in the first round and most teams expected that he would, so Jacksonville got a nice value to lead off Friday night of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Jaguars were very weak at the safety position with Dwight Lowery and Chris Prosinski as projected starters. Cyprien should start immediately and help solidify the back end of the team’s defense.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Cyprien’s fellow starter is rookie Josh Evans. The Jaguars landed him late on the third day, and WalterFootball.com knew some teams felt Evans was a mid-round pick.

Scouts raved to WalterFootball.com about Cyprien during the draft process. They loved his overall game as a centerfielder. Cyprien has excellent range to cover receivers in the deep part of the field. He is quick and agile enough to matchup on slot receivers. Cyprien is also a very physical, if not chippy, defender who is strong against the run and can deliver some shots on receivers downfield.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Cyprien is the best pick to come out this draft class and provides the Jaguars with the biggest impact.

Future Depth Player

Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina – Round 4
Jacksonville’s roster is perhaps the least talented in the NFL, so the team has needs throughout. Wide receiver was one of those positions. Jacksonville took two receivers to back up Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. Of the two selected this year, Sanders could become a nice contributor as a slot receiver.

Sanders caught 45 passes for 531 yards and nine touchdowns in 2012. The speedy junior was a threat to score any time he touched the ball. He also averaged 11.2 yards per punt return in his career, including three for touchdowns, so he could contribute as a punt returner immediately in the NFL. Sanders (5-8, 173) doesn’t have the size to be an outside receiver and a starter, but he could be a nice depth contributor for the Jaguars.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

2. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: D Grade
This is disastrous and embarrassing for Jacksonville. As one league contact told us, it would be “foolish” for the Jaguars to take Joeckel. Why? Because right tackle is not a valued position. Just look at the available right tackles in free agency. Andre Smith, Eric Winston and Tyson Clabo are just sitting there. The Jaguars have tons of money (about $26 million in cap space), so why not just sign one of those right tackles and select an elite pass-rusher instead? Joeckel makes zero sense, and the only thing saving this from being a “Millen” grade is that Joeckel isn’t a reach.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

33. Johnathan Cyprien, S, Florida International: B Grade
This is a solid pick. Johnathan Cyprien was considered a first-round prospect by some. He fills a big need in Jacksonville’s defense, as the team’s current safeties are Dwight Lowery and Chris Prosinski. You have to wonder what they’re going to do a quarterback though. The fans are not going to be sold on Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.

64. Dwayne Gratz, CB, Connecticut: C Grade
The Jaguars needed a cornerback, so going to Connecticut for one made sense. But the guy they probably should have drafted was Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Dwayne Gratz is considered an inferior prospect compared to his teammate. And once again, where’s the quarterback? Will anyone go to Jaguar games with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at quarterback?

101. Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina: B Grade
The Jaguars don’t have a quarterback who can get him the ball yet, but Ace Sanders should be a solid slot receiver in the future. He can also impact in the return game. He was projected to go in the fourth round.

135. Denard Robinson, RB/WR/KR, Michigan: C Grade
Denard Robinson could be useful as a kick returner, but he probably won’t offer much else. This seems like a bit of a wasted pick, but it’s the fifth round, so why not?

169. Josh Evans, S, Florida: A- Grade
This is Jacksonville’s second safety, but that’s something that was needed because of the lacking depth there. Josh Evans could have been a fourth-rounder, so this is good value for him.

208. Jeremy Harris, CB, New Mexico State: B Grade
A second cornerback for the Jaguars, who really need help at the position. Jeremy Harris fits the range and makes sense as a tall corner, which is something that Gus Bradley really likes.

210. Demetrius McCray, CB, Appalachian State: B+ Grade
And a third cornerback? Well, I guess the Jaguars are really hoping that one of these guys pans out. I like Demetrius McCray more than Jeremy Harris. Both are in the 6-foot-1, 6-foot-2 range.

2013 NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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