The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2015 NFL Draft with seven picks and ended it with eight, after a trade with the New York Jets to move just one spot down in the fourth round. The draft was headlined by the likes of Dante Fowler, Jr., T.J. Yeldon, A.J. Cann and a potential major steal with Michael Bennett in the sixth-round.
Truth be told, this is one of my favorite Jaguars drafts based on potential in recent memory. The team could have picked at least 6 rookie contributors in the class.
I wasn't the only one who liked it, however, as it was roundly praised around the web.
Best pick: Cann - To get a high-end starting guard in the third round was one of the bigger steals of the entire draft.
Questionable pick: Other than maybe a second running back, there wasn't one.
The Jaguars added a lot of starting talent in the draft. No team in the league had a better draft than Jacksonville. Their draft is loaded with starting players and they got incredible value late. Fowler is the Leo Jacksonville needs, Yeldon can be the lead running back and Cann will open holes for him. That's just the first three picks. Sample is at worst a high-end backup safety, Greene is a dependable pass catcher and Bennett was a steal in the sixth round. If the Jaguars become a perennial playoff team, GM Dave Caldwell's first two drafts will be the reason why.
Overall grade: A+
Jacksonville Jaguars: A
The Jaguars are coming. Maybe not in 2015, maybe not in 2016, but soon. This draft without question kept this franchise's positive momentum, from a talent standpoint, rolling in the right direction. Jacksonville made one solid decision after another, right through Notre Dame tight end Ben Koyack in round 7.
The skinny: Team need? Check. Great player? Check. With the No. 3 overall pick, the Jaguars got a prolific edge rusher who can boost their defense and help chase down division rival Andrew Luck for years to come. You could argue the Jags should have taken Leonard Williams or that a trade down would have been a better move, but Fowler can have an impact early on for a team in need of playmakers. Taking Yeldon with the No. 36 pick was a bit of a reach, but he was a fast-rising prospect and is a complete back who is a great fit for a young Jacksonville offense. Cann should immediately fill a need protecting Bortles and opening holes for Yeldon on the interior of the line.
Bottom line: The young offensive core in Jacksonville got even better in this draft with a mix of good value picks and quality players on and off the field.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: The Jaguars went with the draft's top pass rusher, Dante Fowler Jr., over perhaps its top defensive player, DE Leonard Williams, at third overall. There probably was no going wrong there, although there is the potential for regret if Williams is dominant in the NFL. There's no issue with taking a running back in the second round but 36th overall might have been just a little bit soon for T.J. Yeldon. A.J. Cann, chosen in the third round, can fortify the interior of the offensive line immediately at guard or center. Grade: B
Best Pick: I think third-round guard/center A.J. Cann has a chance to develop into a Pro Bowl player. He is tough and strong and powerful.
Questionable move: Fourth-round safety James Sample is a box safety and they have that in Jonathan Cyprien. Why not a free safety?
Third-day gem: Fifth-round receiver Rashad Greene will step in and help as the punt returner and slot receiver. He was a productive college player.
Analysis: General manager Dave Caldwell did a nice job for the second consecutive year. His draft board is loaded with talent. This team is moving in the right direction and this draft will go a long way in helping that happen. First-round pick Dante Fowler is a beast.