Reading through the various posts and accompanying comments, I've noticed that everyone seems to have a reason for tabbing someone as their top player. Opinions seem split between impact, position, talent, college productivity, and intangibles for every player. As it stands (and considering the varied predictions for the picks ahead of us), there is a good chance any of the top players may be available at our pick. To avoid confusion and arguments of which players Houston and St. Louis might take, I ask that, hypothetically, who would you take if we held the 1st overall pick? As in, who is the most valuable player on your draft board? Poll below. Note that I have excluded Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson due to our Luke Joeckel pick last year.
In alphabetical order, these are the top players that the Jaguars may target (and a very general analysis of each):
Blake Bortles, UCF
Prospect with prototypical size and good production. However, his footwork needs work, as does some of his mechanics. Will sometimes get sloppy under pressure. Has drawn some comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger (ability, not hobbies) for his size and ability to keep plays going with his feet. Not fast, but is pretty good at sidestepping defenders.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
The most "NFL ready" QB prospect. Has great intangibles, and understands formations/reads coverage extremely well. He has a decent arm, and has good anticipation. However, his slim frame may be an issue if playing behind a poor line as he's not very mobile. My personal concern with Bridgewater is that while he's very polished, he may be near his ceiling. He kind of reminds me of Sam Bradford. Both are smart pocket passers with decent arms that are not particularly athletic. Both also play a similar type of game that's mostly dependent on short and intermediate passes.
Jadeveon Clowney, University of South Carolina
General consensus is that he is the most athletically gifted player of the draft, and the combine seems to have confirmed that. In fact, many are saying he's the most athletic player in decades. He's huge (6'5", 266 lbs), fast (4.53 40yd), has great lateral speed (7.27 3-cone), good technique, and is very explosive off the line (though not to the Von Miller level). Furthermore, he still has a lot of room to improve. However, he has questionable work ethic, and the steep drop-off in production in 2013 may be a sign that he might be a "contract year" type player (a la Albert Haynesworth). When he's going hard (not just sticking to his assignments), he reminds me of Julius Peppers or Lawrence Taylor, with their speed, quick hands, smart weight shifting, and a kind of ferocity that's rare to see.
Khalil Mack, University at Buffalo
I think Mack is the most polished front-seven player in the draft. He's very fast (4.65 40yd), very quick (1.56 10yrd-split), even better lateral speed (7.08 3-cone), has amazing technique for a college player, smart player, and seems to have an endless motor. On the other hand, he's kind of small (6'2", 251 lbs), and the level of competition he played against may be a concern (though he tore up (The)Ohio State). That said, Lawrence Taylor played at 6'3", 237 lbs, and was immensely successful. I think Mack would make for a better 3-4 Rush LB than a 4-3 Rush End, but since the Jaguars play a hybrid front, that may be a moot point as Mack would undoubtedly play the LEO. My best comparison would be Derrick Thomas, Terrell Suggs, or Von Miller, with their relentless motor, excellent speed (especially the 10yd-split and 3-cone), great technique, ability to fight off blocks, and just generally being damn good players.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Definitely the most "exciting" player in the 2014 draft. He's quick, agile, has a strong arm, is good at keeping plays going, and understands formations/coverage better than many people give him credit for. On a down side, he's short (6'0", 210 lbs), he takes a lot of hits, and his current style of play may not translate well to the NFL (though that hasn't stopped Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton). His footwork can also use some improvement, as he doesn't always step into his throws (he normally makes up for it with his arm strength), and he occasionally locks on to specific receivers (...Mike Evans). If he can improve his footwork and habits, he can easily become a Russell Wilson-type player (Wilson doesn't get enough credit for his own abilities because of that insane defense).
Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Watkins is being tagged as the best offensive player in the draft, and his measurables/production definitely back that up. He's fast (4.43 40yd), agile (4.34 20yd-shuttle, 34" vertical, etc.), has great hands, is a good blocker, and was crazy productive (3391 yd, 27 td in 3 years at Clemson). The knock against him is that he doesn't have prototypical size (6'1", 211 lbs, though expecting everyone to be Megatron isn't really fair), played in a system that results in crazy stats, and has had a drug arrest/ensuing question about maturity and focus. Most comparisons I've read have noted the Percy Harvin similarities, and I definitely see them as well, minus the migraines. He's also bigger than Harvin, which definitely helps his blocking.