Hi and hello fellow Jags fans!
Well, the first round is in the books and Blake Bortles is a Jaguar. You might be thinking #BlakeMistake or maybe you're thrilled and suiting up for some Bortle Kombat. Either way, I for the first time in my life agree with what Michael Irvin said immediately after the commish read Bortle's name...it's time to put some talent around him.
So, where do we stand for the 2nd round? Pretty well, actually. There are a TON of options since there were a couple of surprises towards the end of the draft. So, we can do a couple of things with the pick, depending of course on who is there.
Best Available Player:
Logically, this approach should work more often than not. So, in my humble opinion, this is my top 3 list to choose from if the Jaguars go with the BAP approach this evening:
Jace Amaro - TE - Texas Tech
At 6'6" and 265, this is a big guy, but I believe he's really a WR trapped in a TE's body. There are some who may have Austin Seferian-Jenkins rated higher, and that's certainly a topic of interesting discussion, but here's why I think Amaro is the best available TE on the board: he's a much better blocker and he's a HECK of a receiver. In 2013, he set the single season NCAA record for most receiving yards by a tight end with 1,352 yards. That last part there is key, in the Jags offense where our O-Line is still questionable and a rookie QB, you need as much help as you can get in pass protection, PLUS he provides a great option in the short yardage game if Chad or Blake needs to dump the ball of to a TE.
Kony Ealy - DE - Missouri
The fact that Kony Ealy is on the board on Day 2 is a shock (maybe not a "Lightning in a Bortle" shock, but surprising nonetheless). His consistency may be the issue that knocked him out of the first round, but his athleticism will make him an early pick in the 2nd.
Cyrus Kouandijo - OT - Alabama
Oh, how the city would love Cyrus the Virus. At 6'7", this guy could play RT and slide Austin Pasztor in at RG, and just imagine that line up: Joeckel and Beadles, paired with Pasztor and Cyrus (feels like we're missing something....) While a center could come in the 4th-5th round, Cyrus is a big guy that needs some good coaching, but has a lot of great natural ability, it's only a matter of minutes before he's gone very early in the 2nd round.
Drafting For Need:
This approach usually narrows down the pick, but with how many holes this roster has, it's not that much of a limiting factor. You see, the Jags have a lot of needs and there are a lot of talented players left on the board, so naturally, the two may coincide. Here's my list of top three players to plug into what I believe are our three biggest needs:
Xavier Su'a-Filo - G - UCLA
We need a right guard. Plain and simple. Joeckel and Beadles are holding the left side. Some people aren't sold on Austin Pasztor, but center and right guard need to be filled. Su'a-Filo addresses a glaring need who could be protecting a rookie QB.
Marqise Lee - WR - USC
Marqise Lee is a bit of an odd story. Pro: He was a team captain, multi-sport athlete who was fast and productive. Con: His production dropped significantly from 2012 to 2013 as a result of a number of injuries. He is one of the top WRs in this year's class and with Blackmon's absence, Blake certainly needs all the help he can get when it comes to targets, not to mention it's tremendous value in Round 2.
Just about any of these 6 players being drafted tonight would be a good thing. And did you notice that both approaches address the same 3 topics: receiving, pass-rushers, offensive line. But in the end, due to all the needs that we have, it looks like it's a clean sweep for Best Available Player over Drafting For Need, since they really are one in the same. As far as the pass rush, I personally raved about Van Noy in a previous post titled "2014 Draft Wish List," but I'd draft Kony over Van Noy. I just didn't see him falling out of the 1st round. When it comes to receivers, I believe Jace Amaro edges out Marqise Lee for the simple fact that I don't think our O-Line is strong enough YET to give either Chad or Blake a ton of time in the pocket, so you can use Amaro as both a 5-10 yard receiver and as a blocker, and I think that's better value. Lastly, when it comes to the offensive line, I would love to see Cyrus come in and hold down the right side at either RG or RT with Pasztor locking up the other, and while Su'a-Filo address the RG need, I think the right side O-line combo of Cyrus-Pasztor is better than a Su'a-Filo-Pasztor duo.
So there you have it. In order, Jace Amaro, Kony Ealy or Cyrus Kouandijo would be my picks for most talented players who also address a respective need. But Van Noy, Su'a-Filo or Lee would all be nice picks too. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but we just need to listen to Michael Irvin and give Blake some help.