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Jaguars 2017 draft: Draft prospects open thread for Week 1

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Introducing a new scouting series on Big Cat Country... the draft prospects open thread!

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

So, naturally, Jaguars fans are already feeling down on the team for making questionable roster moves, a lack of solid performance during the preseason from key players, etc., before the team even kicks their regular season off.

If you aren't used to that by now, I'd suggest getting used to it.

So, many fans, including myself at times, begin looking forward to how the team can improve next offseason, choosing the route of building up next year's roster rather than believing head coach Gus Bradley's stance on the team: "It's built".

Maybe the team is built. Maybe the Jaguars can be great with the roster they currently have. I'd certainly be pleased with that. I'd bet you would certainly be pleased with that. But until there is proof of the team being "built", fans enjoy "scouting" draft prospects for the next year.

Therefore, we are introducing the "draft prospects open thread" here at Big Cat Country! Every Thursday, I will post an article with my takes on any 2017 draft prospects that I believe the team should and will keep their eyes on. Every post will focus on one player with film breakdowns and projecting scheme fits and the player's best fit in the NFL. The comments section will be open to the readers to give their opinions on any draft prospects I cover, as well as leave suggestions for any prospects I will break down in the future.

If any readers go in-depth on their "scouting": Recording videos/creating GIFs, providing scheme fits, etc., I will try my best to include their work in these threads from time to time and will credit their work. All in-depth work can be emailed to zachgoodallpv@gmail.com.

Since we are only one week into college football and the NFL season hasn't even started yet, I won't go too in depth with any scouting yet, but I will give my positions of need and names to keep an eye on for starters. Positions of need and my "Jaguars big board" will be updated throughout the season.

Positions of need:

  1. Strong-side linebacker (SAM/OTTO)
  2. Offensive guard
  3. Strong safety

Players to watch at each position of need

At strong-side linebacker, I have my eyes on Tim Williams, the DE/OLB from Alabama, who I project to play SAM in the NFL by standing at 6'4", 237 lbs. Williams carries OTTO characteristics, as he can set the edge, make plays from sideline to sideline, cover the flats, and even shoot the gap as a pass rusher.

Here's a play of Williams playing edge rusher, where he turns inside to shoot the gap and blow by the blocking back:

If the Jaguars want to continue using the OTTO position, practically a 3-4 over scheme-based outside linebacker, Williams fits the position with his size and skill set. The OTTO carries LEO pass rushing responsibilities along with SAM, and as seen above, Williams knows how to rush the passer.

Another player to watch at SAM/OTTO is Jarrad Davis, a versatile linebacker from Florida. Davis has played all three linebacker positions at Florida, but I project him to play a traditional SAM role in the NFL. Standing at 6'1", 240 lbs, Davis doesn't set much of an edge rush presence, but thrives in run defending and shooting the gap when blitzing:

The running back actually didn't get the ball here, but Davis blew this play up so quickly that the QB couldn't have done anything. The QB most definitely would have given the ball to the running back had it not been for Davis, as there was a clear gap on the right and not much space for the QB to tuck and run left. Since Davis blew the play up by shooting his gap from the over-SAM spot, the QB was forced to keep the ball and being brought down at the line of scrimmage.

Davis an aggressive tackler, which sometimes leads him to missing tackles, but he can cover the field from sideline to sideline and always establish a presence for the defense. The aggressive aspect of his game can be seen in his block shedding, another strong point to keep an eye on this year.

Other players that I will focus on throughout the year in addition to Williams and Davis include strong safeties Jamal Adams from LSU and Jabrill Peppers from Michigan, offensive linemen from around the nation such as Dan Feeney from Indiana and Dorian Johnson from Pittsburgh, and many other players as they blip onto the national radar for college prospects.

As I stated above, the comments section is open to the readers to request players for me to study, as well as give your thoughts on any scouting I've done.

I certainly enjoy breaking down tape and scouting players that the Jaguars should take a look at when the time comes, and by creating this series of open threads throughout the season, I hope to let the readers and fans put in their input as well.