clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Keep an eye on Jaguars and Deforest Buckner, says Pete Prisco

New, comments
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

While the Josh Norman saga is distracting most Jacksonville Jaguars fans from the 2016 NFL Draft, it is still just a week away and we will start getting some nuggets of information as we get closer. One interesting thing I saw today was from everyone's favorite curmudgeon, Pete Prisco, who started banging the idea of the team picking Deforest Buckner with the No. 5 overall pick.

Now, this is a player I've been adamant against the Jaguars drafting, which has seemingly confused people into thinking that I don't think Buckner is a good prospect. That would be incorrect, because I think he's a very good prospect. I think he's a very good comparison to long time Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell.

Buckner is a massive athlete at 6'7" and 290 pounds, but he's not really that quick twitch edge bending pass rusher the Jaguars have been missing since pre-Achilles tendon tear Reggie Hayward. The issue with the Jaguars picking Buckner is similar to that of the issue with the potential of them picking Leonard Williams last season, he would seem to be a bit redundant for what the Jaguars need.

Now, I don't want to make it sound like saying adding a Calais Campbell clone to the Jaguars is bad, because it isn't. The issue lies with the scheme the Jaguars run and what they ask the position Buckner would play to do, because that changes a lot of the dynamic. In Jacksonville he would play the big end position, currently manned by Jared Odrick and Tyson Alualu. That is a position where the Jaguars ask the player to primarily contain the edge and rush the passer second. Buckner could also kick inside and rush the passer, but the team just paid Malik Jackson a lot of money to man that roll and have Sen'Derrick Marks on his way back and a promising young player in Michael Bennett in that spot.

None of those players should prevent the Jaguars from picking Buckner, but the way they play should. Buckner can be a presence rushing off the edge if the team played say a traditional 4-3 under front, but again they don't. They have very specific roles for their defensive lineman and it would seem to be a waste of Buckner's talent to have him come in and be a rotational big end/inside pass rusher. He'd be a depth upgrade over Alualu and eventually an upgrade of Odrick, but do you really need to spend the fifth overall pick on a spot that has been predominantly a run stopping position in your defensive front?

Now, it's possible with the promotion of Todd Wash to the defensive coordinator position they become more aggressive in that area, but you're still creating a big log jam at a position you're already pretty strong at to begin with. I've also watched Gus Bradley not take the reigns and adjust what they do defensively to accommodate what they have, so I'll believe they'll do it when they do it for the first time.

TL, DR version: Buckner would be a weird pick because they have a log jam at the position and someone like Myles Jack, Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey or even Shaq Lawson would offer much more overall to the defense as a unit, but he is a very good player.