The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of options when it comes to the 2016 NFL Draft and the No. 5 overall pick. They could continue to pursue Myles Jack and upgrade their linebackers at the expense of their pass rush. Or they could hope a guy like Joey Bosa falls and give defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Todd Wash an early Christmas present. Or they could grab an elite defensive back prospect in Jalen Ramsey.
There are a number of things the Jaguars could do next week with the No. 5 overall pick and a lot of it is dependent on what the first four teams do. But what should they do and what are the preferences for if a team ahead of them grabs your first choice?
The Jaguars need an impact player on the defense who's going to play all three downs for them, so for that reason the team should draft UCLA linebacker Myles Jack. We can talk about the issue of his knee until we're blue in the face, but in reality if the Jaguars pick him at No. 5 overall, they clearly aren't worried about it and if they pass on him they are, so there's no real point to debate that angle. The actual on the field angle though, Jack is a great fit for what the team needs in the front seven, which is athleticism and playmaking ability. Joey Bosa would be a great fit too, but the Jaguars clearly have a lot of faith in Dante Fowler Jr., and if they're not going to be super heavy in the rotation at the LEO spot, they can find rotational type guys later. For Jack on the other hand, they haven't addressed the linebacker position at all this offseason and it's a position that is a dire need. Jack can play all three linebacker spots, but most importantly he's excellent in coverage and could finally give the team the ability to take Paul Posluszny off the field on third down.
The Jaguars need to snatch a substantial defensive plug at five, and I think the safest plug is Joey Bosa. And trust me -- I recognize that "safest" might not be the most satisfying adjective to read in front of a top five prospect. Myles Jack, Jalen Ramsey, Shaq Lawson -- each of these players could deliver an immediate boost to the defensive roster. Bosa, however, is a polished prospect with all-around talent. Joey might not enjoy the thrill factor of some of the other draft talents, but he holds a solid opportunity to evolve into a defensive centerpiece over time. Remember -- it's Todd Wash's defense now and Wash is still the Jaguars' defensive line coach.
To me, there are four different draft scenarios where I could end up equally happy between all of them.
A *healthy* Myles Jack makes a ton of sense. Generally speaking, Dave Caldwell has ignored adding resources to linebacker for too long and this is his real last chance to set up for life after Paul Posluszny. Myles also brings positional versatility and pass coverage that no other player on the defense would be able to. He'd change the whole outlook of the back seven if healthy.
Jalen Ramsey, for my money, is simply the best talent in the draft. Play him at corner, safety, wherever. Who cares. Just have him on the field. He is a special player who would be the most talented defensive back that Bradley has had since his Seattle days, but frankly he is the most unlikely player to be available at 5 to begin with.
Joey Bosa is a *safe* defensive end prospect for the most part. Does he have the upside to become a consistently double digit sack type? Eh, debatable. But he would at the least bring versatility along the Defensive Line and become a source of constant pressure.
Shaq Lawson has the highest ceiling of all pass rushers in the draft and it could be argued that he is not far off from Bosa as a pure rusher right now. I personally prefer Lawson, but for some reason the NFL seems to be down on him so he is the most unlikely of the picks.
But Jack, Ramsey, Bosa, Shaq. I don't care which. Just get one of them.
Joey Bosa. I'm admittedly more scared at the prospect of a Myles Jack injury than is probably warranted. But Bosa is likely the most polished defensive prospect in the draft and he's probably the safest. Combine that with the fact that our defensive coordinator's specialty is the defensive line and grabbing Bosa (if he falls to us) makes the most sense to me.
If Bosa isn't there, I think Myles Jack is my next preference, followed by Jalen Ramsey, and then Shaq Lawson.
As specified above, it seems that there are only four options for the Jaguars at the fifth pick -- Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Joey Bosa, and Shaq Lawson. The most popular projection of the Jaguars 5th pick is that of the team selecting Jack, while the least projected prospect is Lawson at five.
As much as I love Jack as a prospect, his injuries scare me a bit, and pass rush at the LEO position is the biggest need for the Jaguars after a silent free agency period with the position, so I think Shaq Lawson should be the selection. He's a unique pass rusher as well as a Force player, and is talented enough to be drafted in the top five.
Reach for him if you have to, but Lawson should definitely be the Jaguars selection.