As we get closer to the NFL Draft — 69 days from today — more and more mock drafts will come your way. With several holes in the Jaguars roster, we will likely be left wondering as to which position the team will target in the first round.
The Jaguars are in need of another EDGE rusher, upgrades along the offensive line and secondary, and perhaps a new running back as well. Although I personally don’t view running back as a major need, what if the team took one with the fourth pick?
Let’s do a three round mock draft to have an idea as to what the Jaguars would do if they took a running back in the first round!
1st round (4th pick): Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State
Fournette, the three year starter at LSU, missed five games in 2016 due to an ankle injury, but is still projected to be a top 10-15 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The recent argument has been that the Florida State star Dalvin Cook is the better running back of the two, but I believe Fournette is going to have stellar Combine test results basing off of his breakaway speed in college, making the Cook vs. Fournette argument much harder to decide.
I personally think Cook is the better all-around back, but Tom Coughlin has historically invested in bigger running backs:
- Fred Taylor: 6-1, 230 lbs
- Brandon Jacobs: 6-4, 256 lbs
- James Stewart: 6-1, 225 lbs
This makes me think Coughlin would go for a bigger, bruising back with breakaway speed like Fournette, who stands at 6-1, 236 lbs over a smaller, shifty back like Cook (5-11, 213 lbs).
Fournette finished his career at LSU with 3830 yards on 616 attempts (6.2 yards per rush) and 40 rushing touchdowns, as well as 41 receptions for 526 yards and one receiving touchdown.
2nd round (35th pick): Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
If the Jaguars decide to add a running back in the first round, I’d assume they would already have added an EDGE rusher like Jason Pierre-Paul in free agency. However, considering the Jaguars still have lots of work to do with their pass rush and Pierre-Paul is already 28, it’d be smart for the team to add another edge rusher to the mix.
Lawson, the 6-2, 260 lb defensive end out of Auburn, has an injury history that isn’t consistent. In 2014, he missed time due to an ACL tear, and then more time in 2015 due to a hip injury. However, he played the entire 2016 season and totaled 9.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
Lawson is an strong, athletic defensive end who can be a great rotational pass rusher and potentially a solid starter, and Jacksonville gives him a great opportunity to be just that.
3rd round (68th pick): Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh
The Jaguars have a ton of work to do on their offensive line, especially after declining to pick up Kelvin Beachum’s option on Wednesday. One would think the team has a plan for the left tackle position after declining the option, but even with that,there needs to be a lot of upgrading done.
Johnson, the senior left guard out of Pittsburgh, is a 6-5, 300 lb mauler in the run game, who was a key part of running back James Conner’s success at PITT. This year alone, Conner rushed for 1092 yards and 16 touchdowns, returning to the field after missing the 2015 season due to being diagnosed with cancer.
If Johnson is still available at the 68th pick, as he’s a projected late second/early third rounder, the Jaguars should have no problem selecting him in order to help better their run-blocking.
What do you think of this mock draft? Should the Jaguars draft a running back in round one? If so, who?