So, for starters, I'm more of a free agency guy, as seen by my numerous free agency target breakdowns. But I guess there's a first time for everything, so on that note, I'm here to breakdown the Jacksonville Jaguars post-free agency draft needs by position.
The biggest position of need? I'm sure you've got a guess based on all the articles published lately on how the Jaguars missed on two of the best free agent pass rushers this offseason. The Jaguars need to draft at least one pass rusher, maybe more, this April.
My top five positions of need for the Jaguars: LEO, linebacker, center, strong safety, and cornerback.
The LEO position did not benefit from free agency whatsoever, which puts it at the top of the list. The Jaguars linebacker position seems strong on paper with Telvin Smith and Paul Posluszny leading the pack, but the OTTO linebacker position could use an upgrade and it's definitely time to look for someone to be Posluszy's heir.
Linebacker was not addressed much at all in free agency. In fact, the only noted attempt at Jacksonville bringing in a linebacker was the team hosting former Pittsburgh Steelers LB Sean Spence, but he went on to sign with the Tennessee Titans.
While Dan Skuta seemed like a nice addition last year, he didn't see the field much due to injury, and when he did find the field, he was exactly what we thought he would be: average. With Skuta being moved around the defense, to LEO in particular, and the only other options currently on the team at the position are Thurston Armbrister and Hayes Pullard, it certainly looks like the OTTO position will be addressed.
My take? This one is easy: the Jaguars need to draft UCLA linebacker Myles Jack with the fifth overall pick... if he even makes it to No. 5.
Jack has received a lot of hype this past year and his college play definitely displays his potential to be an all star in the NFL. Although he was sidelined this past season due to an ACL injury, Jack has fully recovered and shown he is just as athletic as he was before his injury.
Although he did not work out much at the NFL Combine, Myles Jack shined at his pro day, displaying his explosiveness with his 40" vertical and his 10'4" broad jump, as well as excelling in his positional workouts. To give scouts a taste of his speed, Jack is holding a personal pro day on April 1st, where he pledges to run the 40 yard dash.
Jack fits the Jaguars OTTO linebacker position perfectly, as he can make plays in the backfield (15 tackles for loss at UCLA in just over two seasons), as well as thrive in pass coverage (four interceptions in just over two seasons). His great athleticism and agility are the traits to look for in an OTTO linebacker, so Jack would clearly fit Jacksonville's scheme.
What if Jack gets taken before the 5th pick though? Honestly, there are no other LB's who are currently seen as a top-5 pick, so here are some feasible trade-back/later round options who could be plugged in at OTTO or used as Poz's future replacement:
Darron Lee, OLB (OTTO), Ohio State
Lee would thrive in the OTTO role, based on his athleticism and instincts in pass coverage. Lee is also an explosive tackler and can get after the quarterback, as he tallied 12 sacks in two seasons, as well as 27.5 tackles for loss.
While Lee has received a first round grade by several draft analysts, he is settling around the middle of the first round in most mocks, so he would definitely be a solid first round trade-back option.
Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama
Ragland has been losing some heat since the end of Alabama's championship season, but he still looks to be a first round pick according to a lot of analysts. I like Ragland as a solid run defender and sound tackler, but I would consider him to be almost a replica of Posluszny, in both good and bad ways. While he is always there to make a tackle, he tends to keep his eyes in the backfield too long and becomes a liability in pass coverage.
If he somehow slips into the second round, he would be a solid pick, but I would not trade back in the first round to select him if I were Dave Caldwell.
Su'a Cravens, OLB (OTTO), Southern California
I like Cravens a lot in the late second/early third round, as he fits as an OTTO. The only thing I don't like about him is his weight, about 225 lbs. He would need to bulk up to be the perfect fit at OTTO, however, his college production makes him a solid choice. A three year starter at USC, Cravens played both safety and linebacker, where he totaled 34.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, as well as nine interceptions.
Cravens can make plays in both pass coverage and on run plays as a fill-the-gap linebacker, and could end up being a great second day selection.
Who do you think the Jaguars should go after when they address the linebacker position during the draft?