Since the Jaguars' season has been over for a few weeks already, I've been doing my usual digging into the 2012 draft. In case you haven't been following the fanposts, suffice it to say others have been doing some draft research as well. In my thinking about the draft today, I came across a little numbers game that should make guessing the pick a little easier.
To start, let's just look at the available prospects. Who is out there that has been considered a top ten pick.
Andrew Luck, QB Stanford. He will be the clear number one pick. Very intelligent. Strong arm. Great accuracy. Big body, good mobility.
Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor. He single-handedly brought the Baylor program to relevance and threw for over 4,200 yards and an absurd 10.7 yards per attempt. He should be a top 5 pick and will likely be picked before the Jags pick.
Trent Richardson, RB Alabama. He has the strength, vision and balance to be a very good pro RB. Not quite Adrian Peterson, but certainly could be a Frank Gore. That's good enough to make him a top ten pick, and possibly be drafted before seven.
Matt Kalil, OT USC. Kalil is the clear number one offensive tackle in the draft. He is powerful, quick and agile and looks like a potential franchise LT. He should go top three to five picks.
Quinton Coples, DE North Carolina. I think Coples is overrated. Still, he's the bright spot in a terrible draft for defensive end. Coples could be good, but he's not a sure success. Still, someone could reach for him in the top ten.
Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina. Jeffery is starting to look to me like a better option at WR than Blackmon. Whereas I have questions about Blackmon's ability to get open, I like Jeffery a lot. I see him as a potential top 7 player.
Justin Blackmon, WR OK State. Blackmon would have been a clear top five pick last year. This year he struggled a bit more to put up the same numbers. He doesn't have elite speed, but he has great jumping ability and strong hands. Given a decent workout at the combine, Blackmon will go top 5.
Morris Claiborne, CB LSU. Claiborne is a quick, smart cornerback with shutdown potential. He's been a ball hawk at the college level as well. He's a top five guy.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama. Kirkpatrick is a prospect I consider about on par with Claiborne. The difference between the two is that Claiborne made more interceptions and Kirkpatrick was stronger against the run. Both have size and skill enough to be considered premier cornerback prospects.
So basically, here's how I see it: The Jaguars pick seventh. Of the prospects listed, the two QBs will be gone before pick five. Kalil will almost certainly be picked before five as well. That leaves Richardson, Coples, the two WRs and the two CBs and four picks before the Jaguars draft. Six guys and four picks.
In a worst case scenario, one of the WR/CB prospects will be available. Odds are decent that two will be available. I think Blackmon will fall after the combine. By my best guess, Kirkpatrick and/or Blackmon will be available.
Between the two, I think there's more value in a shutdown corner than a stud WR. Of course, that's just my personal opinion, and it's not what I'm trying to talk about here. I'm writing this article to point out that if all goes as the talking heads seem to think pre-draft, we will have a premier WR or CB available when we pick. I believe if either is available, the Jaguars decision will be easy. There's no such thing as a sure thing, but I'm expecting a CB or WR with the 7th pick.