The Jacksonville Jaguars were much more active in NFL free agency than most people expected them to be, at least in the pure volume of players that they signed. The biggest focus seemed to be on the defensive line, with the Jaguars adding veterans in Red Bryant, Ziggy Hood, Chris Clemons and bringing back Jason Babin. The team also signed linebacker Dekoda Watson, who mentioned he will also be rushing the passer in certain packages.
The Jaguars not only upgraded their defensive line at the starter level, but they also significantly improved the depth of the defensive line overall, which is something that was noticeably lacking last season.
With the trade of Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers, the Jaguars now have 11 draft picks that they can use to build up the offensive side of the ball, which is where the majority of their needs are.
Obviously quarterback is the biggest need for the Jaguars heading into the draft. It wasn't going to be fixed in free agency and even with the team re-signing Chad Henne, on what appears to essentially be a one-year deal, a quarterback at some point in the draft is in the cards. Most covering the team think it's unlikely the team will pick a quarterback at No. 3 overall (I personally still think it's possible), but they will be picking a quarterback at some point in the draft. Until that's addressed, it's the biggest need on the team.
Guys who fit: Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, David Fales, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brett Smith.
Interior Offensive Line
Even with the addition of Zane Beadles, the Jaguars don't appear to have starting options at the center position or the right guard position. There are some dark horse candidates on the roster such as Jacques McClendon and Patrick Lewis, but they still need an injection of talent at the position. I would put this as the Jaguars second biggest need behind quarterback, but it may not be one that's addressed until the third round of the draft and beyond. I would also expect them to use multiple picks on offensive line.
Guys who fit: Xavier Su'a-Filo, Marcus Martin, Weston Richburg, Jon Halapio, Joe Bitonio and Gabe Ikard.
Weak-side linebacker is probably the biggest need on the Jaguars that no one really talks about. Geno Hayes manned the position in 2013 adequately enough, but with his contract expiring after the 2014 season it's very likely the Jaguars are looking for a player in the draft who can takeover that role. If Gus Bradley's defensive scheme is a carbon copy of the Seahawks defense, they operate with a more true "ROLB" and "LOLB" type linebacker group with a SAM linebacker than the typical SAM/MIKE/WILL alignment. Both the MIKE and the WILL in the defense will need to do the same type of things and hold the same responsibilities.
Guys who fit: Ryan Shazier, Kyle Van Noy, Telvin Smith, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Morgan Breslin, Boseko Lokombo and Christian Kirksey
One of the areas I would expect the Jaguars to be looking for in the draft, especially in the mid-rounds, is at wide receiver. The team still has Cecil Shorts III, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown but beyond that it's kind of just a bunch of guys who could develop into something, but there still needs to be more added to the equation. Then you also have the Justin Blackmon situation to deal with, but that should actually make the Jaguars more likely to pick a wide receiver or two in the draft.
Guys who fit: Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Kevin Norwood, Odell Beckham Jr., Donte Moncrief, Jordan Matthews, Devin Street, Josh Huff and Matt Hazel
Despite the Jaguars signing Chris Clemons, Jason Babin and Dekoda Watson they still need to add pass rushers in the draft, be it from the LEO position or the linebacker position. You can never have enough of them and even though Andre Branch and Ryan Davis are still there, they could use some more youth at both LEO and SAM linebacker.
Guys who fit: Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Jeremiah Attaochu, Chris Smith, Christian Jones, Howard Jones, Aaron Lynch, Kareem Martin, Scott Crichton, Demarcus Lawrence and Marcus Smith.
Depending on how the Jaguars plan to use Abry Jones going forward, outside of Roy Miller the team doesn't have much at the nose tackle (one-technique) position. Miller's deal expires after the 2014 season and he had a very underwhelming 2013 season, even though he played through injury. The team could add a younger nose tackle in the draft to develop behind Miller or even possibly play him off the roster.
Guys who fit: Louis Nix, DaQuan Jones, Justin Ellis, Zack Kerr, Beau Allen and Ricky Havili-Heimuli