1(2). Luke Joeckel; Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M.
2(33). Jonathan Cyprien; Strong Safety, Florida International.
3(64). Dwayne Gratz; Cornerback, Connecticut.
4(101). Ace Sanders; Wide Receiver, South Carolina.
5(135). Denard Robinson; Running Back, Michigan.
6(169). Josh Evans; Free Safety, Florida.
7(208). Jeremy Harris; Cornerback, New Mexico State.
7(211). Demetrius McCray; Cornerback, Appalachian State.
1. Luke Joeckel; Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Joeckel was many analyst's top offensive tackle in the draft, and some people's best player in the entire draft. The Jaguars have had a huge need for a Right Tackle for atleast 4 years. They drafted Eben Britton to fill their hole there, and we've watched him struggle with poor play and injury. Eben Britton's rookie contract ended, and he's no longer with the team. The only Right Tackle the Jaguars had was Cameron Bradfield who also played very poor last season. Joeckel is the best Tackle in the draft according to Dave Caldwell, and he's going to play Right Tackle for the Jaguars. CBSSports compares him to Joe Thomas of Cleveland, arguably the best Left Tackle in the NFL. NFL.com compares him to Ryan Clady, a Left Tackle for the Denver Broncos who had a +27.0 grade on ProFootballFocus, and turned down a 5 year 50 million dollar contract that led him to being franchise tagged. Joeckel as a rookie would be a good left tackle, but will be even better playing on the right side. This guy has no flaws, he can add a little more upper body strength, but other than that he'll be an elite tackle. The only problem with this selection is that the Jaguars took a Right Tackle with the 2nd selection of the 1st round. Right Tackles generally are not supposed to be 1st round selections, and definitely not that early. But the Jaguars did fill their biggest need with the draft's best player. Now the Jaguars have two fantastic offensive tackles.
2. Jonathan Cyprien; Strong Safety, Florida International
The Jaguars' second biggest need was Strong Safety. The Jaguars had Dawan Landry at strong safety in 2011 and 2012, but he got pretty mediorce and was underperforming for his 6 million a year contract, so Dave Caldwell released him shortly after becoming the general manager. So in the second round they took John Cyprien from FIU. Cyprien is an enforcer who can play in the box as the bandit safety, something Gus Bradley does a lot with his strong safetys, but he also shows the range and speed to play the single high safety role if needed. He's a good strong tackler, and hits hard. He lays players out on a regular basis, see the Louisville game. He had a great season and a great senior week. He also has excellent ball skills, and is already the team's best player on defense. Cyprien will start day one, and make receivers pay when catching pass over the middle. His value ranged anywhere from the middle of the 1st round to the beginning of the 2nd round. When he made it to 33, the Jaguars knew who they were taking. Great selection.
3. Dwayne Gratz; Cornerback, Conneticut
Before the draft, the Jaguars had 4 cornerbacks on their roster. Mike Harris, a nickel/dime back taken in the 5th round last year, Alan Ball, a tweener journeyman, Antwaun Molden, a special teams journey man, and Kevin Rutland a 2nd year special teamer who was a UDFA pick up last season. Obviously, cornerback is a big need for the Jaguars. Atop the 3rd round the best corner available on their board was Dwayne Gratz. Gratz was rated between the 2nd and 3rd rounds so he fits the value of this selection. At 5'11" 201 pounds, Gratz has good size and excellent bulk for the position. He also has good sized arms at 32 1/8" which is good for press coverage. He's a very good athlete who ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the 40, he had the 5th highest vertical with 38 inches, and was 3rd in the 3 cone drill at 6.7 seconds. He was tied for 1st in the bench press with 22 reps. With 32 inch arms, and a strong upper body, he's ideal for the press that the Gus Bradley's corners regularly use. His best asset is his press skills, as he's very good at jamming receivers at the line. He's fast, he's quick, and he's very physical. NFL.com compares him to Bradley Fletcher, which I can agree with. Bradley has similar size and is a good press corner, who is very aggressive. The Jaguars wanted Bradley Fletcher in free agency because he fits their scheme. Gratz seems to be a player that fits exactly what the Jaguars want on defense.
4. Ace Sanders; Wide Receiver, South Carolina
The Jaguars really didn't need another receiver on the team, but it makes sense why they drafted Ace Sanders. Ace Sanders can play receiver, inside or outside, and also play returner. On offense, Ace can do screens, end arounds, or run regular routes. He's so quick, that even with his size, he's hard to jam. Ace Sanders is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands, he has excellent vision and can see an opening in the defense. He has fantastic lateral agility making him very elusive and very hard to tackle. He had a slow 40 time, but he plays faster than that, and has great acceleration and elite quickness. He needs work as a route runner, running mostly basic routes at South Carolina, but Jerry Sullivan will help him with that. He also has really good hands, as he didn't drop one pass in 2012. People knock him for his size, but I think he's just short, and not really small if that makes sense. DeSean Jackson is 5'10" 175 pounds, Ace Sanders is 5'7" 175 pounds. He has solid bulk for his size. His best asset by far is his return ability. He should find himself playing time as a return man and a slot receiver. CBSSports compares him to Roscoe Parrish of the Bucs, formerly of the Bills. I understand the comparison as they have similar size and play similar roles in their offenses, but I feel as if Ace Sanders is the bigger weapon as hes more quick as Parrish is more fast. While this pick didn't necessarily fill a need, it gives the Jaguars a good weapon on offense and a great weapon on special teams.
5. Denard Robinson; Running Back, Michigan
Denard Robinson doesn't really fill a need, but he gives the Jaguars a dynamic weapon that have never had before. Denard Robinson was announced as a running back, but will reportedly play slot, return kicks, and if they want him to he can play some quarterback. The guy named "shoelace" is very fast and very quick. His best assets that may make him a good running back, are that he's very fast running a 4.43 at the combine. He has excellent vision and can find a hole in the defense. And he's very good at following his blockers, most players with his speed run right by his blockers, Robinson waits until the blockers engage defender then turns it up field. At 5'11" 200 pounds, I think he needs to add about 10 pounds of upper body strength, he has shown that he has very good lower body strength based off his leg drive. He needs to get stronger and learn to consistently put his shoulder down and drive through the defender. He also needs to work on his pass blocking if he wants to ever become a full time feature back, regardless if he can handle it or not, adding some upper body strength will only help him in this department. As a receiver he's a very raw route runner and pass catcher, he needs some work. Working with Terry Richardson, and learning from vets like Jones-Drew and Forsett, he can develop into a good running back. This was a good pick that got me really excited. I can't wait to see him play.
6. Josh Evans; Free Safety, Florida
This is in my opinion, the best pick of the draft. Josh Evans was projected to go in the 2nd to 3rd round by many. He has good size, and is very aggressive. He has good balance, good flexibility, good agility, and is a very good tackler. He has the ability to play over the top in single high coverage, which helped make Matt Elam a high pick, as he stayed in the box and made big plays. Matt Elam is a very good athlete. He ran a 4.54 40 yard dash, had a 34.5" vertical, and has the 6th highest shuttle for safeties with 4.10. He had a 3 cone time of 6.64 seconds which was 2nd of all defensive backs, and fastest out of all the safeties. The reason why I love this pick is because not only is it tremendous value, but I'm pretty sure it gives the Jaguars a future starter and possibly pro bowl player. I like Dwight Lowery, but some of you guys think he's mediocre. He's still owed about 3 million in guaranteed money, so he'll be on the roster this year even if Evans did beat him in a training camp battle. I think Evans will be the 3rd safety and get a lot of time on special teams this season. But next season I think Evans with a year of experience with DeWayne Walker and next season Evans will win the starting free safety job, and the Jaguars will release Dwight Lowery, saving them 3.875 million in cap space. CBSSports compares him to Reshad Jones of Miami. Reshad Jones is a safety who broke out this year in his 3rd season, and was worthy of pro bowl selection. This added depth to a position that had a gaping hole before the draft with great value. Fantastic pick.
7. Jeremy Harris; Cornerback, New Mexico State
Jeremy Harris is a cornerback I personally don't really know too much about. His head coach DeWayne Walker, is the Jaguars' new defensive backs coach, so there's obviously a connection there. He's 6'3" 181 pounds with 34 1/2" arms, so he obviously has the length that Gus Bradley likes in his cornerbacks. "Excellent length, excellent speed, little bit raw, but still developing and we think his best football is ahead of him." is what Dave Caldwell said about Jeremy Harris. He had a solid pro day running a 4.48 40 yard dash and posting a 36 1/2 inch vertical. Something that is very disappointing though is that Jeremy Harris only posted 5 bench reps at his pro day. To be a good press corner you need good length and good upper body strength to jam the receiver at the line. He does have very long arms which makes benching harder, but if he wants to be a good press corner in the NFL, he needs to get stronger. I'd like to see him bulk up to 190 pounds, but still maintain his speed if possible. He'll likely contribute on special teams while he still develops.
8. Demetrius McCray; Cornerback, Appalachian State
I know a little more about McCray than Harris as I had him in one of my mock drafts as a 7th round pick or UDFA pick up. McCray is 6'1" 187 lbs with 34" arms. He has more bulk, but has a little less length than Harris does. He had a solid combine, but a very good pro day. At his pro day, McCray posted a time of 4.47 in his 40 yard dash, a 40 1/2" vertical and 11' broad jump. He also did the 3 cone drill in 6.76 seconds and put up 8 bench reps at his pro day. "Real interesting guy...another guy thats long, fast, can press, excellent ball skills." is what Dave Caldwell said about McCray. This guy is a quickfooted corner who looks natural in his transition. He doesn't shy away from run support, but needs to work on his technique. He's aggressive and a good competitor, he'll probably start out on special teams, and with some development and strength training he might be able to crack the starting lineup in a year or 2.
Overall Grade: A-