With an end to the lockout seemingly just around the bend, the time has come to take a look at this years draft picks. The Jaguars had five picks in the 2011 draft, each of whom I will discuss in this series. Rookie prognostications will include a look at the position(s) the player plays, his skill set, and his competition for playing time. I'll predict several key statistics and include a primary position as well. Any sort of prognostication is only one person's best guess and cannot factor in injuries and free agents who have not been signed yet.
With that said, let's look at the Jaguars draft picks (in reverse order) starting with 5th round pick, CB Rod Issac.Rod Issac, the defensive back from Middle Tennessee State, was picked with the 16th pick in the 5th round (147 overall). He did not get invited to the NFL combine, but had a good pro day. He ran a 4.41 40 yard dash, but showed good acceleration with a 1.56 ten-yard split. He also showed off his almost 34-inch vertical. From what I can see, he's got pretty good change of direction skills and, more importantly, Issac likes to hit.
I don't imagine that the Jaguars will be looking to add any pieces at the Cornerback position in free agency. The team has come out in support of its two starters at corner after some troubles in the secondary last year. The teams sees the Safety position as the trouble spot.
I think Issac will quickly find himself a place on the kickoff team. He won't start at corner, since the two starting spots are already taken by two established starters in Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis. Issac will primarily compete for the role of Nickel corner with Tyron Brackenridge (who saw some time at Safety last year as well) and William Middleton. I believe the team would like for Issac to earn the Nickel spot, and I believe he will. Neither Brackenridge or Middleton are really anything special and Issac should find his way on the field pretty quickly. Worst case scenario, Issac takes over at nickel corner after 6-8 weeks have gone by, but that would only happen if Issac struggles with the playbook.
As for my predictions, starting at nickel and playing special teams, I think he'll get on the field enough to get a decent tackle total. The Jaguars organization called Issac "the most physical corner" in the 2011 draft, so I can see the team sending him on blitzes and playing the run fairly well in his rookie year. Good COD makes me think he'll get deflections, mostly on quick passes in the slot, and I could see him getting an interception or two, though more through lucky bounces than superior plays.
2011 Predicted Stats:
Pass Deflections: 3-5
Tomorrow, I'll make my predictions for the 121st overall pick, DB Chris Prosinski.