1) Jadeveon Clowney (Trade up, or if the football gods are gracious and he falls to No. 3)
I've graded 121 prospects in this draft class. Out of all of them, one of the is overwhelmingly the No. 1 prospect, and that is Jadeveon Clowney, the near consensus No. 1 player in the draft for most analysts. Clowney got a lot of weird negativity pre-combine, which is expected with all prospects who are scrutinized and examined as closely as he has been since high school.
But in recent weeks, all signs point to him being the number one pick, as he should be. He is the best player in the draft and can transcend a defense. Houston would be smart to take him to pair with Watt and terrorize us and the rest of the NFL for the next 10 years.
But, if for some amazingly unlikely reason Clowney is passed on twice, then I think the Jaguars should turn in their draft card the second they are on the clock. Under a coach like Gus Bradley, he could thrive and maybe be able to live up all the lofty expectations. I would even consider trading up for Clowney (whether to No. 1 or No. 2 if Houston passes) as the Jags have the ammo to do so. He is the type of player you take a chance on.
2) Draft either Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Football at No. 3
Normally I'd consider an upper-tier quarterback prospect, like I have Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel graded out as, over any other prospect other than a transcendent one. Alas, I think Clowney is a transcendent talent and would take him over the quarterbacks. But ultimately, I would not expect Clowney to be there. If that likely situation plays out, I would look to either one of these two QB's with no questions. I think both are worthy of a top-five selection in this draft, and they ultimately fill the Jaguars greatest need. They wouldn't even have to play right away. I am not sure if the Jaguars like these quarterbacks enough for the No. 3 pick, but I sure do.
3) Trade down
If the Jaguars are not in a position to take Clowney and do not value the quarterbacks enough for pick No. 3, I'd like a trade down. I know this is much easier said than done as it takes 2 teams to accomplish one and there may not be a team willing to match the Jags, but I think it'd be the best decision to at least attempt to execute one at this point. They could get even more ammo (for this and next year) and still likely land an impact prospect, depending how far they'd be willing to trade down.
4) Draft Sammy Watkins
If the first three options I preferred are out of the question, Sammy Watkins (my No. 4 overall graded player) would be my choice. I spoke about him at much more depth here, but I think he is worthy of the selection in terms of value and talent, and he fits a pretty big need in terms of a No. 1 WR as well. He is a perfect fit for what Fisch likes to do on offense, and from all reports seems like a "Gus guy".
5) Khalil Mack
While I do like Mack (my No. 9 player) I am pretty lukewarm on picking him at No. 3. I simply do not believe the value in a good, not great, edge talent is there. I think he can be an okay pass rusher, and a good run defender, but ultimately is a SLB that is not a Von Miller type prospect worth the No. 3 pick? I don't think so. But, he is a good fit for the Jaguars defense, and simply makes more sense than any other pick -- like an offensive lineman, tight end, etc...
These are my five preferred options for how the Jaguars approach May 8th. But, these are not predictions. At all. I have no idea what they will do. Ultimately, I trust Caldwell and the Jaguars brass. They are much, much more informed than I am and have done their due diligence.While I have my preferences, I support whatever pick they make. As long as it isn't Derek Carr or an offensive tackle...
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