What merits a top-10 pick for the Jaguars?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In order to be a top-10 pick, a player should immediately be the best player under the age of 30 at his position on the team that selects him.

What are the greatest positions of need in the NFL?  I would say that the list goes something like:

  1. Quarterback
  2. Defensive End
  3. Offensive Tackles
  4. Cornerbacks
  5. Wide Receivers
If you don't have "plus players" at those positions, it's really hard to win in the NFL. Sure, it can be done, but the job becomes much harder.

Enter the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. In those top five spots the Jaguars have:
  1. Chad Henne:  Where on the draft board will you find a player that is markedly better than Chad Henne? Most would say Henne can be replaced, and replaced fairly easily, by a second- or third-round player in this draft. But simply replacing Henne isn't the goal. Finding a player who is considerably better than Chad Henne should be the focus. In my opinion, there are only two quarterbacks, possibly three, who are considerably better than Chad Henne. Those quarterbacks are Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. All of the other quarterbacks in this draft class are not considerably better than Chad Henne.
  2. Defensive End: As of now, defensive end might be the Jaguars' greatest position of strength. However, these players are older. Many of the Jaguars' "good" defensive ends are in their 30s. Jason Babin is 33. Chris Clemons is 32. Red Bryant is 30. The Jaguars could draft a player like Jadeveon Clowney and he would immediately be the best defensive end under 30 on the team. Who else would fit that billing in this draft? Dee Ford? Kony Ealy? Ford and Ealy are late first-round prospects, so selecting them in the top-10 would be a waste. Clowney would be a no-brainer if he's still on the board when the Jaguars select. I doubt Clowney gets past Houston who owns the No. 1 overall pick, though.
  3. Offensive Tackle: The Jaguars used last year's No. 2 overall selection on Luke Joeckel, and they also have Austin Pasztor in the fold. Jake Matthews would most likely be a better player than Austin Pasztor, but with the way that Pasztor played last year, it would be tough to argue that Matthews would be markedly better. But, with the lack of a starting RG, the Jaguars could push Pasztor inside or use Matthews as a guard. It wouldn't be ideal, but it is certainly possible.
  4. Cornerback: It is a rare cornerback who can come into the NFL, challenge to start, and play well right away. I don't believe there's a cornerback in this draft who is worth a top-10 pick.
  5. Wide Receiver: The Jaguars could do well to select a wide receiver. Of all the positions of need that merit a top 10 selection, the Jaguars are weakest at wide receiver. Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans would be the most talented wide receiver on the Jaguars roster. Cecil Shorts, while a very good wide receiver, does not appear to be the type of player who other teams would fear. Sammy Watkins fits offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's scheme perfectly. Mike Evans is a big, fast wide receiver who could take the top off of defenses, which would allow a player like Cecil Shorts more room underneath.
With all that being said, here's a list of players whom I believe could step in right away and offer the Jaguars something that they currently don't have and be worth a top-10 pick:

1. Jadeveon Clowney
2. Khalil Mack
3. Sammy Watkins
4. Johnny Manziel
5. Teddy Bridgewater
6. Mike Evans
7. Jake Matthews
8. Blake Bortles

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