The Jacksonville Jaguars can go a few different places with the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but one position that keeps cropping up for the Jaguars is offensive line, with many wondering if the Jaguars should draft either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher with the No. 2 pick.
NFL Network analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah gives the Jaguars Eric Fisher in his latest NFL Mock Draft, but this is why pre-free agency mock drafts can get a bit silly.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Pass rusher is the top need for the Jaguars, but with a new coach and general manager, they could play it safe and take the top available talent. A tackle tandem of Fisher and Eugene Monroe would allow the Jags to crank up their run game with Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jeremiah's reasoning here isn't wrong for the Jaguars taking a left tackle with the second overall pick. He even defends the pick a bit on Twitter by noting that renowned general manager Ozzie Newsome selected Hall of Fame left tackle Johnathan Ogden while he had a good left tackle on the team, but the situation is quite different. On the 1996 Baltimore Ravens, 30-year old Tony Jones was in the final year of his contract and left in free agency. It made sense for the Ravens to draft his replacement early in the draft.
The Jaguars on the other hand have a 25-year old left tackle in Eugene Monroe who's hitting his stride as a player and going into the prime of his career. If you draft a left tackle with the second overall pick, you're pigeon holing what you can do the next year, as far as franchise tag. If you draft Fisher and move Monroe to the right side, he's not going to re-sign for "right tackle" money because he knows he can play left tackle at a high level and a team is going to pay him "left tackle" money in free agency. If you franchise tag him, which you'd likely have to do in this instance, there is no designation for offensive line positions, it's just "offensive line". In 2013, the tag for an offensive lineman is $9.8 million and will likely increase in 2014, meaning you're going to be paying likely over $10 million guaranteed for a right tackle for one season.
The other scenario is you're drafting a right tackle with the second overall pick. While you're going to hope to have a good starter there for the next few seasons in Fisher and can re-sign Monroe to be your left tackle, you're still drafting a right tackle with the second overall pick. We can talk all day about the Jaguars offensive line, especially right tackleneeding to be upgraded, but there are much more efficient ways of doing so.
For instance, there are going to be four to five starting caliber (AKA, not awful) right tackles in free agency this season, and most will be in their mid-20's. It would be much more efficient use of the Jaguars resources to sign a right tackle in free agency and use the second overall pick on a type of position that genuinely can make game changing plays.
So if you draft Eric Fisher with the second overall pick, you wind up drafting a right tackle second overall or you're forcing yourself to potentially lose or franchise Eugene Monroe. Then you're right back in the same position you are at now in 2014. You have a good young left tackle and a hole at the right tackle position.