The Jacksonville Jaguars need help rushing the passer, that's no secret. What may come as a surprise is that general manager Dave Caldwell, who has been shrewd in his two seasons thus far with the Jaguars, is predicted as reaching for a running back with an ACL injury in the 2015 NFL Draft.
According to Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft's latest predictions, the Jaguars will select Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory with the No. 3 overall pick and then injured Georgia running back Todd Gurley with the No. 36 overall pick.
The Gregory pick makes sense, and if the Jaguars pick either him or USC's Leonard Williams, I won't be surprised. Kadar says as much of Gregory:
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
This pick has become the go-to for the Jaguars, but we'll see how the offseason process plays out for Gregory. He looks like a natural fit as a pass rushing DE. The quest about him is if he can up physicality to take on blocks better.
The early second-round selection of Gurley has me scratching my head though. Without an ACL injury, I'd do any number of profane things for Gurley in the second round. With an ACL injury? It's a risk that, in my opinion, shouldn't be taken.
We talked with Kadar and asked for his justification for the pick. His answer?
I understood the potential controversy of Gurley to Jacksonville when putting that pick in the mock draft. On the injury, I always try and look at a prospect through an optimistic lens. That's in regard to injury potential, production and when a comparison is put together.
With that said, if we use the Adrian Peterson nine-month ACL rehab comparison on Gurley, that takes him to about the start of the season. It's worth noting the injury happened in mid-November and there haven't been any negative reports about the severity of the injury or a bad surgery.
All of that said, I view Gurley as the best running back in the draft. He's a do-it-all running back. He runs with violent power, he can work inside and outside, Georgia incorporated him in the passing game and he can handle a large number of carries. If I'm going on the assumption he'll come back fine from the injury, the value is there. Especially when you factor in what the Jaguars have at the position right now.
I also think there is going to be a run on running backs in the second round. I think it's better to get the best guy instead of hoping someone is still around in the third or fourth round.
What do you think? Should the Jaguars take the risk and reach for the best running back in the draft, even if he's coming off a serious knee injury?