Potential 2013 Jaguar draft targets: LB's Gooden, Holloman, Jenkins.

Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

The Jaguars defensive scheme requires a certain type of Linebacker, Linebackers that have good athleticism, sideline to sideline speed, but are still able to man the middle of a defense. As of right now, the current LB's on the roster are just stop gap solutions until they find the correct guys that fit their defense, but fortunately for the Jaguars there are several LB's in this years class that fit what Gus Bradley wants in a LB.

LB Zaviar Gooden- Missouri

Strengths

  • Elite athleticism, and he knows how to use it to his advantage by flying to the football, quick to filling his gap in run game.
  • Seems comfortable in coverage, with good instincts and awareness (is a converted safety)
  • Amazing motor, doesn't take any plays off.
  • Motor + Athleticism enables him to be able to chase down a lot of plays from back side.

Weaknesses

  • Despite having a willingness to be physical with blockers, He has smaller size and lack of adequate usage of hands which gives him trouble when attempting to shed blocks, he can be taken out of some plays easily.
  • He consistently took bad angles in the run game, causing him to have to make tackles from behind which made some 1 yard gains turn into 4 yard gains.
  • Is not a very effective blitzer, attempts to use speed on edge but is taken out wide and stopped more times or not.

Zaviar Gooden is a seemingly perfect fit for Gus Bradley's scheme, as not only does he have elite athleticism, but he has a good motor and is not afraid to be physical. He does need coaching in quite a few areas, (Namely shedding blocks) but this seems like the right situation for him to be able to excel to his full potential.


LB DeVonte Holloman- South Carolina

Strengths

  • Above average speed and athleticism allows him to match up with WR'S and RBs in coverage, fly to the ball.
  • Very versatile, Played both Safety and LB at SC. Knowledge of both front 7 and back 4 is a big plus.
  • Good ball skills in coverage, is very instinctive and effective in man coverage.
  • Has very fluid hips to be able turn and run with his man in coverage, good technique overall in coverage.
  • Has a knack for making big plays, whether it's stripping the ball from runners, or making a impact plays in coverage.
  • Does not over pursue often, sound tackler

Weaknesses

  • Has a lot of trouble shedding blocks, sometimes even from WR's
  • Has a serious lack of strength, but he looks like should be able to add some to his frame.
  • Not a very good technique with hands when he takes on blockers, he can't afford to be lazy with his hands due to his less than average strength.
  • Seems to get lost in traffic in the run game when he's in the box, his abilities make him much more effective when he is on the outside.

Overall, Holloman has a lot to like about him as a prospect, especially form a Jaguars standpoint. He has a knack for making big plays in a lot of aspects of the game, and is a LB with the special ability to match up with athletic TE's and RB's. He is very technically sound in coverage, but he does have a lot to do to improve in the run game. He looks like he should be able to fill out his frame more, which will help, and good coaching can help him learn how to use his hands to disengage better. If he can be coached up to improve in those areas, he has some unique abilities to be a special LB.

LB Jelani Jenkins- Florida

Strengths

  • Has an attacking style, but does not over pursue often. Seems to have solid instincts, Football IQ.
  • Adept in coverage, due to instincts, athleticism.
  • Good at setting the edge/Contain.

Weaknesses

  • Takes on a lot of blockers with his head and shoulder pads down, gets washed out of plays easily.
  • Is not a very good pass rusher, is overpowered by OT's even if he's more athletic.
  • Hard not to notice how swallowed up he can get at Line Of Scrimmage.
  • Attacking style led to some injuries in college, must take better care of his body.

It is hard to accurately judge Jenkins because he didn't missed some of 2012 due to his injuries, but what i did see was a player who struggles in the box, and sometimes is so aggressive that even he pays for it sometimes. His athleticism will be attractive to some teams, but he has a lot of coaching up to do and should have stayed in college for his senior season, in my opinion. Developmental guy right now, is not on same level as Gooden/Holloman at this point, at least not in my eyes.

Overall all 3 of these linebackers have some run support issues due to their smaller size, but their athleticism fits exactly what Gus Bradley wants. Playing behind a Big, 2 gapping Dline like Bradley employs would certainly benefit them, and let them play to their best abilities. All 3 are good fits, and carry mid-late round grades for me. Do not be surprised if the Jaguars take at least one of them.

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