If not for a sixth-round quarterback out of Arkansas, the Jacksonville Jaguars' entire 2016 draft class would have been defense. Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack were both top-five prospects coming into the draft, Sheldon Day was a guy projected to go as high as the second round, and Yannick Ngakoue leads a trio of edge rushers that will compete for significant snaps in 2016.
So what grade did each of the Big Cat Country writers give this class?
Alfie Crow: A+
I'm not sure how you could give the Jaguars anything less than an "A" for their 2016 Draft class for their first two picks alone. Jalen Ramsey fell in their lap and then they got aggressive to roll the dice on Myles Jack, potentially getting arguably the best two defensive prospects in the entire draft. The additions of Ngakou and Holmes inject much needed talent into the edge rusher position on defense, that doesn't have much outside of Fowler. Sheldon Day also might just end up being the biggest value pick of the whole draft, looking like a discount Michael Bennett (the Seattle one) at Notre Dame.
Cole Hartley: A
Once again, Dave Caldwell's stock soars to the ceiling following another inspiring Jaguars draft haul. Caldwell made a promise to patch the Jaguars' leaky defense, and the team delivered on that promise in a big way. Caldwell surprised many with an uncharacteristic "no guts, no glory" trade-up for fan-favorite Myles Jack, then snatched three defensive ends to satisfy that "influx of pass-rushers" guarantee he made a few months ago. Fourth-rounder Sheldon Day is a great high-motor value-pick, and quarterback Brandon Allen gives us a reason to watch the second half in preseason games. Oh, and I almost forgot -- the Jaguars might have snagged the best player from the entire 2016 draft class at five overall. Jacksonville football is more fun when the defense is mean. Bring on OTAs.
Hank Jones: A+
To me, Jalen Ramsey was the bonafide No. 1 player in the draft class. He is a legit blue chip talent and elite athlete, something the Jaguars have been missing for years. They could have drafted Alfie and I with the next two picks and I'd still think it was a solid draft. But getting Myles Jack in the second is going to be looked at as the steal of the draft if he stays healthy, and then they added a plethora of pass rushers in Ngakoue, Day, and Holmes. The Jaguars walked into this draft needing to add speed, pass rush, and simply defensive talent, and they did all of that. Home run weekend.
Ryan Day: A
We discussed all week whether the Jaguars should pick Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack with the No. 5 overall pick. They got both of them, Sheldon Day (who was a steal in the fourth round, three edge rushers who all graded out well, and a quarterback project from Arkansas. There's no other grade except an A that is befitting for this draft class.
Zach Goodall: A+
I don't know if we are even supposed to include pluses and minuses in our grades, but the Jaguars get an A+ from me anyway.
The Jaguars won the draft in landing not one, but two top five prospects in what seemed to be a miracle, in which case Myles Jack fell into the second round and the Jaguars traded up to the 36th pick to select him. Pairing Jack with first round pick Jalen Ramsey adds two athletes with potential to be elite makes this defense special, and adding rotational guys like Yannick Ngakoue and Tyrone Holmes to the pass rush, fourth round steal Sheldon Day to be a part of the defensive line rotation, and #myBackupQB Brandon Allen to develop behind Blake Bortles and be his insurance for the future -- there's no way to not give the Jaguars an A+ since their draft was that good.
People try to knock the team for not selecting an offensive lineman, but the team addressed the offensive line in free agency and have guys like Luke Bowanko and Tyler Shatley who they believe can be special for the team. As nice as it would have been to get a guy like Ryan Kelly, it's okay that the team didn't draft a guard or center.