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Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Jaguars

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: End/Linebacker

 

Silva's Analysis

 

The Jaguars found their "Otto" linebacker in free agency, signing Dan Skuta to man the strong side. The "Leo" weak-side role was filled inadequately by Chris Clemons last season. In coach Gus Bradley's defense, the Leo is generally a long-armed player with explosive edge-rush ability. Aside from the Leo position and arguably middle linebacker, Jacksonville has the pieces in place to field a highly disruptive front seven.

 

No. 2 Team Need: Running back

 

Silva's Analysis

 

The Jaguars weren't shy about trying to upgrade their backfield in free agency, targeting DeMarco Murray but ultimately missing out. The top-three tailbacks on Jacksonville's current depth chart are Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart and Storm Johnson. Waiver addition Bernard Pierce isn't the answer. The Jags primarily run a zone-blocking ground game and therefore figure to target a one-cut runner. This is a pressing need as Jacksonville must complement second-year QB Blake Bortles with an efficient and high-volume rushing attack.

 

No. 3 Team Need: Safety

 

Silva's Analysis

 

The Jaguars have a lot of young talent at cornerback, but are short on experience. The best way for Jacksonville to support that group is with a rangy free safety. SS Johnathan Cyprien is a productive run defender, but has been exposed as a coverage liability through two NFL seasons. Incumbent FS Josh Evans is coming off a miserable year, while free agent pickup Sergio Brown is best suited to special teams. Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Bradley needs to bring his version of Earl Thomas to Jacksonville.


Norris’ Mock Draft


Round 1 (3): EDGE Vic Beasley, Clemson - Perhaps the best fit in this entire draft. In fact, even if Leonard Williams is on the board, I think the Jaguars should select Beasley. He might not have the desired wingspan, but he offers a ridiculous first step, upfield explosion and bend to turn the corner. He can feast from the wide Leo alignment and offers a progressing spin counter move.


Round 2 (36): RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State - Ajayi is a bit of a conundrum. There are plays where he puts it all together: accelerating through lanes created by the offensive line and then creating yards on his own with agility of power. But other times he hesitates at or behind the line of scrimmage and goes down too easily on first contact. Ajayi is one of the draft’s best receiving backs.


Round 3 (67): FS Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon - Many expect IEO to move to free safety in the NFL, and his skills match the conversion. He was too aggressive and bit on underneath routes which allowed receivers to successfully win downfield. He was also lost in trash when working from the slot. However, Ifo can track sideline to sideline with timing and would be a nice counterpiece to Johnathan Cyprien.


Round 4 (103): LB Ben Heeney, Kansas - A personal favorite. Heeney can be very good if given space to operate. Like many linebackers, he struggles when taking on blocks. However, he is a great athlete and hopefully can package that quickness and explosion to work around blocks in an efficient manner, which is not a negative. He also seems comfortable in coverage.


Round 5 (139): TE Ben Koyack, Notre Dame - Marcedes Lewis is making a boatload of money this year, and this is contract is finished. Julius Thomas does not shine inline, so for 12 personnel, Koyack would be a nice second tight end option. Koyack is also a fine receiver as he was used in an H-back role while Troy Niklas played for Notre Dame.


Round 6 (179): EDGE Marcus Rush, Michigan State - It is difficult to find late round rushers with athleticism and arm length. Maybe the Jaguars have one in mind that is not on my radar. Rush does not have the desired wingspan, but can convert speed to power on the edge. Disruption depth is what he offers.


Round 7 (220): C/G Dillon Day, Miss State - With Austin Pasztor as edge OL depth, Day could fill the interior OL utility role. He plays with tenacity.

Jaguars Current Offensive Depth Chart

 

QB: Blake Bortles

RB: Denard Robinson

WR: Allen Robinson

WR: Marqise Lee

TE: Julius Thomas

TE: Marcedes Lewis

LT: Luke Joeckel

LG: Zane Beadles

C: Luke Bowanko

RG: Brandon Linder

RT: Jermey Parnell

 

Jaguars Current Defensive Depth Chart

 

LE: Jared Odrick

RE: Chris Clemons

DT: Sen'Derrick Marks

NT: Roy Miller

MLB: Paul Posluszny

WLB: Telvin Smith

SLB: Dan Skuta

CB: Davon House

CB: Demetrius McCray

FS: Sergio Brown

SS: Johnathan Cyprien

 

 

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .