I wrote a similar article on this last year, ranking my preferences Clowney--Teddy/Manziel--Trade Down--Watkins--Mack
Well, that turned out to be a disaster. Not only did I not even consider a surprise pick (Blake Bortles.) But it is pretty clear that I missed on my evaluations of Manziel (overrated) and Mack (underrated). My bad. So, to learn from it, I tried to include more than 5 scenarios, because Dave Caldwell does what he wants and we have no idea what that is.
1) Vic Beasley
At this point, nobody can really tell what direction the Jaguars are leaning, but most would say that Beasley is probably behind Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler in terms of likelihood of actually being the pick. Despite this, Beasley looks to be the only slam dunk option of the 3. He offers a better scheme/need fit than Williams does without a drop off in talent level, and he is just a better pass rushing prospect than Dante Fowler is. He is a rare player that fits scheme/need/value/production/metrics in a top 3 pick, which is why Jax shouldn't pass on him if they pick #3.
2) Trade Down
Most think it would be asinine to not consider Leonard Williams the #1 preferred option, but not even #2? Well, the reasoning behind it is because of the state of the Jaguars roster. One thing they lack is the hardest thing to build up in roster building: Top end talent. In this draft there are several players who could step in and be one of Jax's 10 best players from day 1. Williams is one of these players, but by trading down Jax could ensure to fill out the roster more efficiently, helping accelerate the improvement of the talent level. The best scenario I can see right now is if Marcus Mariota falls past #2, giving Jax more trade leverage than they have ever had in the Caldwell Era. My preferred trade? Trade with Cleveland to land #12 and #19, among other picks. With 2 first round picks, Jax could have a shot to land a combo of Bud Dupree and Todd Gurley, or Randy Gregory and Cam Erving, etc. Williams is a good player, but he is not worth more than the value landing multiple high ceiling prospects in this draft.
3) Leonard Williams
Williams is one of the 3 best players in this draft, and right now is facing a lot of over analyzing. He is a player who has shown he has the tools + production to be a safe pick, but I have a lot of pause with the possibility of Jax picking him. He has personally stated that he has been told he would play the 3T DT in Jax's scheme (They don't have long term ties with Marks + his play might never return to past level), but I am not sure how much value he offers there. He is a different player from Sen'Derrick Marks, winning more with power and length than explosion and athleticism. He could fit in Jax's scheme, but I don't think taking him to try to replicate Marks' production is a good idea, or even a realistic scenario. He would be a good player in Jax, but should not be valued over Beasley or more Draft Capital.
4) Bud Dupree
Dupree is a player that should be more of a trade own option, but it is looking more and more like he might not even get out of the top 10. He has rare measurables + intangibles that make him appealing to both coaches and GM's alike. He is rawer than all of the other top tier prospects, but he offers tools that none other do. He fits like a glove in Jax's scheme and would have the chance to have a redshirt type rookie year as he learns the trade of pass rush.
5) Dante Fowler Jr.
Out of all the realistic options, this one is the one that offers the least upside. Fowler is a good player. He is a good run defender, athletic, and fits what Jax wants from a cultural standpoint. But he just isn't a great pass rusher. If you take an Edge Player in the top 5, you take him to pass rush. Period. Fowler might offer more balance than Beasley and more day 1 ready skill than Dupree, but the thing that separates him from the other 2 is he hasn't shown the ability to be a teams #1 Pass Rusher. A lot of his pressures at UF were due to him benefiting from the scheme and getting moved around to favorable matchups. He isn't likely to bust, but he isn't likely to fill the #1 Pass Rusher need either.
Personally, Gregory is still a talent I see worthy of a top 3 selection. But I completely understand the pause with him since his failed drug test. If they trade back, Gregory should likely be their #1 target.
A lot of people think Jax will go WR at #3, specifically Amari Cooper.
Gurley as an elite RB talent, but taking any RB top 3 is blasphemous, especially one who just tore his ACL. Gurley is one player that they could target in a trade down, because their interests in RB's this year is clear, and Gurley is simply just the best RB.