The Jacksonville Jaguars will be upgrading their defense in free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft, that much is for certain. But how much of their resources will be spent on defenders and how much will be spent on filling secondary needs on an offense that was pretty good last year?
Mike Kaye of FirstCoastNews.com is the latest to release a 7-round mock draft for the Jaguars. In terms of filling certain needs and positions on both sides of the ball, it's nearly identical to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller from last month, but the players couldn't be more different.
Kaye has five players on defense and three on offense coming to the Jaguars. Who are they?
Round 1: S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
After his NFL Combine performance, he's the best defender in the draft. Kaye thinks he and Myles Jack are the two best defenders in the draft too.
"Ramsey was fantastic at the combine, showing suitable cornerback speed and athleticism, while also showing his ballhawking ability in position drills. I would use him at either safety spot as a rookie and eventually expand his role to something similar to Charles or Rod Woodson as a hybrid player."
Round 2: OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
Gus Bradley and Todd Wash are getting two very versatile picks in the first two rounds. Whereas Ramsey can play a multitude of positions in the secondary, Floyd offers versatility as an OTTO linebacker and a pass rusher on obvious passing downs.
"This will allow Dante Fowler to have a healthy snap count, as well provide insurance if his recovery from an ACL takes a wild turn. At 6-foot-4 and 231 pounds, Floyd ran a 4.60 forty-yard dash and was among the top linebacker performers in the vertical and broad jumps. Watching Floyd on tape, his ability to cover tight ends and running backs will serve him well in the NFL."
Round 3: DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State
Now we're cooking with gas. I don't know if Jones will be here at the top of the third round, but if he is, it'll be a home run for the Jaguars.
"I'm a big believer in fixing problems before they occur. Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks is the heart of the Jaguars defense but he's had two serious injuries in two seasons and could be rusty entering his fourth year with the squad. While Michael Bennett definitely has a place on the Jaguars roster, hedging your bets with a versatile lineman makes sense."
Round 4: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
I have even less faith that Kelly will be here at the top of the fourth round, but if the Jaguars wanted to trade up back into the third and get the best center in the draft for the second time in three years (see: Brandon Linder) I wouldn't hate it.
"Kelly was a three-year starter at Alabama and has the type of pedigree and leadership qualities the Jaguars need at the center position in the long-term. He's a "tough guy" who likes to engage interior defenders and has prototypical NFL size (6-4, 311 lbs.)."
Round 5: DE James Cowser, Southern Utah
Small-school guy you've probably never heard of with great size (6'3" and 248 pounds) who had good numbers at the Combine (6.80 in the 3-cone drill) and a 40-yard dash time of 4.82 seconds that puts him right in the middle of the pack of players like Noah Spence (4.80) and Joey Bosa (4.86).
Oh, and here's him at the East-West Shrine Game practices in January. Okay then.
Round 6: S K.J. Dillon, West Virginia
You draft guys who are versatile and offer upside if developed in the right way this late in the draft. That's why picking a guy like Dillon makes a ton of sense.
"Dillon is one of my favorite players in the draft and I believe he can play both safety spots. He has the ability to make plays on the ball and stop the run but had a limited amount of starts in college."
Round 6: RB Daniel Lasco, California
Like the Kelly and Jones picks in the earlier rounds, I don't think Lasco will last until the end of the sixth round. If he's there, he's a steal. If he's not, I suspect a running back will still be the pick.
"Lasco is an impressive athlete that has great hands and is an above average blocker at running back. While the Jaguars are looking to make T.J. Yeldon a three-down player, it wouldn't hurt to have a talented receiving back in the lineup. While some drool over Jonas Gray's upside, Lasco offers size, strength, speed and hands at the position."
Round 7: OT Alex Lewis, Nebraska
A swing tackle in the seventh round. Very little risk, tons of reward if he pans out. Why not?
"I was highly-impressed by Lewis during East-West Shrine Game practices and think he will fall due to some overstated character concerns. Lewis is a very athletic lineman with upside and I could see him developing into a long-term starting right tackle in the NFL. He would serve as good Luke Joeckel insurance for the time being."
Read Mike Kaye's entire 7-round mock draft and full explanations for each pick here.