The Jacksonville Jaguars made a number of selections in the NFL Draft that both had an eye for immediate impact and an eye for future impact. Most teams will draft for future potential and upside, especially outside of the first round, but the Jaguars seemingly went the opposite way with their selection of UCF quarterback Blake Bortles. On the other hand in rounds two and three, the Jaguars picked players that will likely be expected to/and have an immediate impact.
Here's my ranking of the Jaguars picks in the NFL Draft based on first-year impact:
1. Allen Robinson - Wide receiver, Penn State
Chances are one of the two Jaguars rookie receivers is going to have an impact early on and I'm going with the big possession receiver in Robinson. While he seems to have a nice double-move to get open down the field, he's also very good at comebacks and working the boundary. I think he can be a reliable target early on outside.
2. Telvin Smith - Linebacker, Florida State
Flat out - Smith was a steal in the fifth-round and I don't care if he failed his combine drug test. He can flat out play the linebacker position and brings much needed speed to the group. I don't know if Smith will emerge as the starting weakside linebacker in Week 1, but it was good to hear Gus Bradley essentially state they view him as a linebacker. At worst I think he'll be in the Jaguars nickel package because of his coverage ability.
3. Marqise Lee - Wide receiver, USC
Some might flip my rankings of Lee and Robinson, but I think Robinson is in the mold of the classic X-receiver in the NFL and Lee is more along the vein of Cecil Shorts III, playing flanker, in the slot, and as the move wide receiver. I think Lee will likely make an impact on special teams as well as a kick returner.
4. Brandon Linder - Guard, Miami (FL)
I admittedly don't know anything about Linder other than he played both guard and right tackle for the Hurricanes. I'd presume he's penciled in as the starting right guard entering training camp, so at the surface he's going to be a starter and have some kind of impact one way or another.
5. Craig Loston - Safety, LSU
I could be jumping the gun big-time here on an undrafted free agent, but watching some of Loston I think he can make an impact as a fifth-safety and special teamer as a rookie. He's more in the box safety role, but he appears to be able to tackle in the open field and brings the blam.
6. Storm Johnson - Running back, UCF
Johnson was a very heady pick by the Jaguars in the seventh-round. They didn't really need a ton at running back, but picking up a back like Storm could potentially help Blake Bortles along because of the safety-valve comfort level. Storm is also a bigger, physical back who can carry the load if Toby Gerhart suffers an injury or needs a series or two off.
7. Blake Bortles - Quarterback, UCF
Bortles is only so far down the list because as far as we know right now, he's going to be sitting most of if not all of his rookie season. He's not last however because I still think he plays some games this year and obviously he'll have a big impact if that's the case. For now though, the Jaguars No. 3 overall pick isn't going to have a big impact early on.
8. Luke Bowanko - Center, Virginia
Bowanko was someone I assumed the Jaguars would pick up as an undrafted free agent, but it's possible the team thought there would be a market for him so they used a draft pick. It sounded like this was a "scouts special" pick, as in Bowanko was a guy the Jaguars scouts urged Dave Caldwell to take a look at. I think he can be a swing interior offensive lineman early on, similar to what Michael Brewster did his first two seasons.
9. Chris Smith - LEO end, Arkansas
I have Smith so far down this list because, to be honest, watching him at Arkansas I wasn't a huge fan of his. Smith did however show out at the 2014 Senior Bowl, coached by Todd Wash and Gus Bradley. Perhaps they were able to make the light turn on with Smith, but even so he's likely to be buried on the depth chart behind Chris Clemons and Jason Babin.
10. Aaron Colvin - Corner, Oklahoma
Obviously Colvin is dead last on this list because he's coming off an ACL injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl and isn't likely to contribute early in the season, if at all in 2014. I would expect him to start the season on the PUP list and eventually compete for the nickel corner role early in his career.