I recently made a fan post about our pending community mock draft over at Stampede Blue. The mock draft has been recently concluded, and I thought that I would share my Jacksonville picks with you guys for your viewing pleasure and criticisms.
Round One (#2) - Dion Jordan, DE/LB, Oregon: This pick boils down to answering one simple question: Is Geno Smith the kind of quarterback prospect that you want to hang the future of your franchise on with the second overall pick? My answer? While Geno will undoubtedly be a good quarterback in the NFL, I don't believe he is the kind of QB you take this high in the draft. Blaine Gabbert, though widely panned by the armchair crowd, made some steady strides statistically in 2012. Considering the mess he had to deal with in the wide receiver core, not to mention an OL that made the Colts' OL look like the Hogs of Washington Redskins yore, the year Gabbert had is actually pretty freaking amazing, if you ask me. Jacksonville can afford to give Gabbert one more year to show further strides and development at the position. In any case, whether you are down on Gabbert or not, Geno Smith, IMHO, does not offer any significant upgrade to Blaine that warrants the use of such a high draft pick to snag him.
New coach Ray Bradley will be installing a "hybrid 4-3" defense in Jacksonville. The signing of Roy Miller at DT and the depth at that position on the roster negates the need to draft a big interior tackle to command the interior double-teams that are so crucial to the success of the scheme, thus freeing up the inside linebacker(s) to blow up plays in the backfield and get sacks, or pursue to the outside to stop the run without dealing with blockers moving into the second level. This leaves a dire need for an impact player to man the OLB position, and who can slide down to DE in the hybrid scheme.
Dion Jordan is the kind of franchise OLB/DE monster prospect a defensive minded coach like Bradley would drool over, and he would be thrilled with this pick. Jordan can come into the league and make an immediate impact at OLB. Given his tremendous frame, the sky is the limit as long as he can continue to add bulk as his career progresses in the NFL. He has experience playing as a defensive end. Jordan is very tough and committed. No questioning his motor or hustle. In a few years, he may be able to play 4-3 DE, but must add weight and more power to his game.
Round Two (#33) - D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina: I originally had players like Matt Elam, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and Jonathon Banks slotted for this pick. However, with Swearinger rising quickly up so many draft boards and after watching some game film on him, I decided that this pick represented great value that also filled a position of need. Hard hitting safety that can play strong safety in Jacksonville and immediately upgrade the secondary.
Round Three (#66) - Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia: It would appear that Jacksonville's front office, coaching staff, and fans are satisfied with their current left tackle. Aboushi can come in and hopefully upgrade the right tackle position. With sufficient weight training and experience, he is a potential superstar left tackle of the future.
I'll admit, however, that I may have messed up with this pick - I did not realize that Kyle Long was still available when my turn in the third round came along, and I caught a little bit of static from my fellow mockers about passing over Long to draft Oday. That said, I'm still confident that this selection would work out quite well for Jacksonville.
Looking forward to hearing your feedback.