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2016 NFL free agency: How will free agents change the NFL Draft?

How will potential free agent signings for the Jaguars change their plans for the 2016 NFL Draft?

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to be big spenders in NFL free agency. The team has already been tied to big-name free agents such as Malik Jackson, Bruce Irvin, Jeff Allen, and Mario Williams.

The Jaguars under general manager Dave Caldwell have always used free agency to help either fill out the depth of the roster or increase the upper tier talent level of the team. They have never really been one to try to fill massive needs with Free Agents, outside of Davon House, Zane Beadles (lol), and Julius Thomas. They have made it secondary to the NFL Draft, just like they have said they will do every year they have been here.

With that said, free agency definitely affects the draft plans. They have stayed away from wide receivers and defensive ends in free agency for the most part because they knew they were going to add these positions in some manner in the draft. When they added Julius Thomas to the fold, a huge need at tight end was diluted.

So how could some of this year's potential free agent signings affect the Jaguars draft plans?

Bruce Irvin

I don't think Irvin is a signing that would really affect draft plans. The Jaguars would still have a huge need at defensive end even if Bruce is brought in because he plays outside linebacker. He would rush off the edge on third downs but the need for bodies to rotate with Fowler at defensive end on base downs would still be evident. I think Irvin is more of a "great if we sign him, oh well if we don't" type of deal when it comes to the draft.

Malik Jackson

Bringing in Jackson should change draft plans significantly. If Jackson is brought in, gut says that he will be utilized more as a defensive tackle on both run and pass downs. Sen'Derrick Marks is a giant question mark and they can't really bank on Marks being the same difference maker he used to be. A defensive tackle has to be added, be it by the draft or free agency.

If Jackson is the one added, I would not expect them to use a pick on a defensive tackle. If he is not signed, then I would start looking for them to add a defensive tackle as early as the second round. Either way, the Jaguars' defensive tackle group will be crowded and can probably only sustain one more added body.

Jeff Allen

The Jaguars are in the market for either a guard or a center. They can either move their free agent signing to center or move one of A.J. Cann and Brandon Linder. It makes sense for them to try to find that last missing piece on the offensive line in a talented and battle-tested player such as Allen.

But if Allen is not brought in, I would expect them to add a lineman early in the draft, potentially as high as the second round. They surprised many by taking a guard who fell too far last season when they selected A.J. Cann, and I could see them doing similarly this year if someone like Arizona State's Christian Westerman or Kansas State's Cody Whitehair fall.

Janoris Jenkins

No matter your opinion on how Aaron Colvin played in 2015, it is clear that the Jaguars need to add an outside corner this offseason. Colvin is simply just a better fit as a slot corner.

This one is pretty simple. Jalen Ramsey should be on the top of the team's draft board. If they don't sign a cornerback like Jenkins, do everything you can to get Ramsey. But if they do bring in a cornerback, then it's okay if you can't land Jalen or if you do then you could play him at safety.

Mario Williams

The Jaguars need to legitimately add two or three defensive ends this offseason. Again, this one is simple. If they add Williams, then a player like Bosa at the top of the draft might be a little less likely. If not, then they should still be very open to drafting a defensive end with their first pick for the second draft in a row.