I would like to run through the Top 10 players on Scouts Inc's Top 32 List to try and figure out who the Jaguars will take with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Top 10 players on their list include (in order) Luck, Kalil, Claiborne, Richardson, Coples, Martin, Kirkpatrick, Reiff, RG3, and Blackmon. After the jump, I'll talk a little more about each player and discuss how I think the draft will pan out.
1) Andrew Luck QB Stanford- He is the consensus number 1 pick in this year's NFL draft unless Robert Griffin III can convince a team to trade up and take him, but that is highly unlikely. He has been the frontrunner all year and will be selected by the Colts or whatever team trades with the Rams to get the number 1 pick. He was given the ability in college to read the defense and audible into other plays, which is very rare. He also possesses very good athletic ability and has a stronger arm than he is given credit for. He can make every throw and is able to make adjustments in game. The Jags have no shot of landing him unless Gene decides to trade our draft to take him, which isn't happening.
2) Matt Kalil OT USC- Kalil is regarded as the next best prospect on the board by almost every football outlet I have seen. I saw one sight that had him dropping past the Jags to the fifth pick, but every other outlet has him going second. He would be the pick for the Jags if he drops, but that is highly unlikely. He is one of the most athletic tackles in the draft and is the complete package. He will be playing LT for whichever team drafts him.
3) Morris Claiborne CB LSU- If he drops to the Jaguars pick, I expect Gene to take him. He is the best cover corner in the draft and is extremely quick. He is not the same prospect as Peterson since he doesn't have the top end speed, but he makes up for it with his ball skills. He would be great next to Cox(assuming Mathis is let go). If we end up with the 4th or 5th pick he could be a potential pick.
4) Trent Richardson RB Alabama- Richardson has great speed and is a very strong back. He can break tackles and has very good agility. I expect him to be a very productive back in the NFL, but he is not Adrian Peterson. I cannot see the Jaguars taking him under any circumstance, since we have much more pressing needs on our team. He will be a good player in the NFL, but he could suffer a slide in the draft since RBs are a dime a dozen in the NFL and I cannot see a team like the Browns taking him over other pressing needs.
5) Quinton Coples DE North Carolina- After reading reviews on Coples and looking at film on him, I am not very high on him as a prospect. He seems to lack the elite explosiveness of a player like Pierre Paul. He experienced a dramatic drop off in stats in his senior season. Although he experienced more double teams, it would have been nice to see him take the next step. Due to his lack of quickness off the line, I don't see him being an elite DE at the next level, which would make him a bad pick for the Jaguars. We have solid depth at the position and a rising star in Mincey, which makes DE a need but not a mandatory fix in the draft.
6) Jonathan Martin OT Stanford- Martin was in charge of guarding Luck's blind side for the last several years and did an excellent job at that. He is an athletic tackle and has all of the tools to be a very successful LT in the NFL. He is a complete player and would look great at RT for the Jags since Monroe is starting to play much better. With a line of Monroe, Rackely, Meester, Nwaneri, Martin, and Britton somewhere in there, Gabbert would finally have the protection he needs to take the next step.
7) Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama- I have to admit, I know the least about Kirkpatrick, since he has not been a projected top pick in many sources I have seen this year. He played on the best defense in the NCAA this year and was a part of Alabama's amazing secondary the last two years. He is a very complete CB and is on the next tier behind Claiborne. He could be another player consdered by Gene Smith since CB will be a need with the likely release of Mathis after his injury.
8) Riley Reiff OT Iowa- Reiff is another complete OT, but he lacks the same athleticism that Martin and Kalil have. He has all the tools to succeed at the next level, which would make him another good consideration since the Jags are currently looking for another member of the OL. He also comes out of a system that has produced some very good lineman in the NFL, most notably Bryan Bulaga for the Packers. If the Jags end up picking around 7, he could be a much bigger option in April.
9) Robert Griffin III QB Baylor- Now, the Heisman Trophy Winner. There have been rumors that he might stay for his senior season, but the wisest thing for him to do is come out and be the second QB taken in the draft. I must admit, I was not the biggest RG3 for Heisman fan because of Baylor's three losses and how they happened, but he did show up when it mattered most in the Oklahoma game. He has big game potential and has an excellent deep ball pass. He has excellent athletic ability and can escape the pocket when he really needs to. I could see him coming into the league similar to Newton, making a big splash with downfield passes and some nice runs for scores. the only major concern for RG3 is his lack of experience in the cerebral part of the game. He received the calls at the line of scrimmage and ran the play. He did not have a chance to audible and call some of his own plays like Luck, so no one really knows what he is capable of. I would not expect him to struggle with this, however, because he is a well spoken man who is very disciplined off the field. He is the most interesting prospect in this years draft in my opinion.
10) Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State- Blackmon is regarded as the number one receiver in this year's draft class. He is a two time Biletnikoff Award winner and has been an excellent receiver in the Oklahoma State offense. He shows big game playmaking ability and has excellent hands. He knows how to separate and make plays in space. He doesn't have elite top end speed, but he plays very fast with pads on. He is another player that has a very good chance of wearing a Jags uniform come next August.
After looking through the Top 10 players in Scouts Inc's Top 32, lets take a look at who is most likely to end up in a Jags uniform. By the time the Jaguars pick, there are almost two certainties. Andrew Luck and Matt Kalil will be off the board. Since the Jaguars are projected to pick between three and seven in the draft, they are going to have an option between most of the other players listed above. I believe that Coples will not be the Jags pick due to the lack of explosiveness and he could be another Derrick Harvey. I am also not a fan of Kirkpatrick, since I would not expect the Jaguars to use their first round pick on a player who is not elite at his position. RG3 and Richardson will not be the pick as well since we have the best running back in the NFL and a young QB who we need to build around and hope he develops. This leaves Claiborne, Martin, Reiff and Blackmon. All four are at a position of need for our team and can be very useful for the future. If Claiborne is there, I say take him. I fully expect Gene to sign a number 1 receiver in FA and he may sign an OL as well. Claiborne is the real deal and could be a star on our budding defense. If he is off the board, I would love to get another OL to help solidify our protection of Gabbert. We can always get a very good WR in the second round to couple with the WR in FA. This means I would project the Jaguars to take Martin or Reiff in April at this moment. I will be even more confident if we end up picking in the six or seven slot. If we manage to pick at three or four, then Claiborne becomes a real possibility. Let me know your opinions of these players and who you think the Jaguars will take. Let me know if you found any errors or have differing opinions as well because I would love to discuss them more.