Last Monday, I released a mock draft as if I was the general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, addressing needs I viewed as most important at, in my opinion, the correct rounds. However, in this mock draft, I’ll think as I believe Dave Caldwell and the Jaguars’ front office will during the NFL Draft.
I’ll prelude the mock with this: After adding Calais Campbell is free agency, I’m not sure that I’m confident the Jaguars will address defensive end early in the draft unless they take a player in the first round like Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas, although I think that would be the smartest move.
Let’s get to mocking!
1st round (4th overall): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
It’s really hard for me to not scowl as I type this, because I’m very much against the Jaguars using the 4th overall pick on a running back with much bigger needs, and with the question on if he is even a scheme fit in Jacksonville, but ultimately, I have a feeling Leonard Fournette will be the pick.
With my take out of the way, let’s get to the positives and reasoning for the Jaguars selecting Fournette.
Fournette was a dynamic back at LSU, trotting his way to 3830 yards and 40 touchdowns on 612 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per carry, in his three year career. He also added 41 receptions for 526 yards and a touchdown in the pass game.
Considering he weighed in at 240 lbs a day earlier, Fournette killed his 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine in running a 4.51 seconds. He then weighed in at 228 lbs just over a month later at the LSU Pro Day, proving he can fluctuate to a team’s desire and rather wasn’t “fat” at the Combine (claiming he weighed 240 lbs due to water weight).
The Jaguars running backs struggled last year behind an abysmal offensive line, with Chris Ivory consistently being bothered by nagging, although seemingly short term, injuries. They could fix the run game in selecting offensive lineman higher and often during the Draft and run with Ivory and Yeldon in 2017, but the flashy Fournette would be a huge boost to the Jaguars offense.
2nd round (35th overall): Dan Feeney, G, IU
This pick matches my pick in my mock draft from Monday. The Jaguars’ biggest need is offensive guard, and Feeney, the two-time first team All-American right guard at Indiana, should be available around the 35th pick with Forrest Lamp gaining so much hype and still being considered a late first round pick.
Here is my logic to the Feeney selection as stated in my mock draft from Monday:
In which case, adding Dan Feeney in the second round to begin the process of drafting heavy OL is perfect. The two time first team All-American right guard is a mauler in the run game and also provides above-average pass protection. With the Jaguars being better off in pass protection than run-blocking last year, taking a player in Feeney that excels in run blocking but is only above average as a pass protector is O.K.
Selecting Feeney to play right guard in the Jaguars zone-blocking scheme is perfect, not only to solidify the right guard position, but it also allows A.J. Cann to move back to his natural college position of left guard and keeps Brandon Linder at center. While some people want Linder back at right guard, where he played his rookie season and three games of his 2015 season before injuring his shoulder, that would not be in Blake Bortles’ best interest. Bortles’ has had three opening day starting centers in his career, and losing the chemistry he has with Linder in drafting another center would only be more stress on Bortles: The last thing he needs as he tries to turn his career around.
3rd round (68th overall): Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
I was tempted to draft a defensive end here, as pass rusher is the second biggest need for this team, which I addressed in selecting Jonathan Allen in my first mock draft. However, like I stated before: After adding Calais Campbell in free agency, the team might think differently than I do.
With Tom Coughlin not guaranteeing Blake Bortles is safe as starting quarterback, nor denying the possibility of drafting a quarterback this year, I could see the team taking a quarterback before Day 2 of the draft comes to an end.
Peterman, the two year starter at Pittsburgh after transferring from Tennessee, is a local product: He went to and played high school football at Bartram Trail just 40 minutes south of EverBank Field.
The 6-2, 226 lb QB comes from a Pro-Style offense at Pittsburgh, where he threw for 379 completions on 619 attempts (completing 61.1% of passes), 5142 yards, 47 touchdowns vs. 15 interceptions, and averaged 8.3 yards per pass attempt.
Peterman is an extremely accurate pocket-passer, who knows how to read the defense. His deep-ball accuracy is special and he can work the sideline. His footwork needs some fine-tuning, but he has most of the tools to be developed into a very good NFL quarterback.
If the Jaguars truly want to add a quarterback in case Blake Bortles can’t bounce back from his miserable 2016 season, Peterman could be the guy. I don’t think he makes it past the 3rd round.
4th round (110th overall): Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
The Jaguars have a phenomenal starting cornerback tandem in Jalen Ramsey and the newly-signed A.J. Bouye, as well as Aaron Colvin as the starting nickel cornerback.
But, here’s a look at their depth at outside cornerback behind Ramsey and Bouye:
There’s no one on the roster that can be considered true outside cornerback depth except for practice squad players Doran Grant and Akeem Davis, as Aaron Colvin is a starting nickel cornerback and his reserve is Josh Johnson. They need to target a corner who can rotate and be valued as a depth player, and Douglas ccan be that guy.
Douglas is a lengthy cornerback, standing at 6-2, 209 lbs, and owning 32 3/8 inch arms. He doesn’t possess great speed, but his physicality and jam in press coverage is so good that he doesn’t need to rely on speed too much. He’s a competitor for the ball: He had eight interceptions in 2016 alone, which led the nation, and defended 16 passes.
Douglas uses his frame and physicality to succeed in coverage, and with his ball skills, he can thrive as a man-coverage cornerback. He could work his way into a starting position somewhere, but if he falls to the 4th round, he would be a fantastic rotating/depth cornerback.
5th round (148th overall): Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
The Jaguars finally select a pass rusher here, although as I said before, I believe this is far too late for them to do so.
Smoot, who accumulated 16.5 sacks and 38.5 tackles for loss in two seasons as a starter, is a quick, high motor pass rusher, however he doesn’t have great core power to work with, which hurts him in the run game.
However, Smoot brings solid size, standing at 6-3, 264 lbs. He ran a 7.18 second 3 cone drill at the Combine, which ranks in the 56th percentile among NFL defensive ends.
With Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue starting at both end spots, Smoot would be a great rotational piece, especially if and when Campbell slides to defensive tackle in pass rushing sets.
6th round (187th overall): Jonnu Smith, TE, FIU
The Jaguars need to add another tight end in this draft with newly-signed Mychal Rivera being the only TE on the roster with legitimate starting experience (that’s a stretch: He has started 15 games in four seasons).
I had the team taking Jonnu Smith wit hthis pick in mt mock last week. Here’s the reasoning:
The Jaguars signed Mychal Rivera from the Oakland Raiders to fill the void at starting tight end, but the Jaguars only have Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling as depth players at TE. While both are young and have shown flashes before, Koyack and Sterling combined for only 31 catches, 271 yards, and one touchdown last year, so to hold high expectations for both of them would be unrealistic.
Smith is an athletic tight end who is also a fairly good zone blocking tight end, standing at 6-3, 248 lbs. Smith had 42 catches, 506 yards, and four touchdowns in 2016, but he missed a game when his girlfriend poured boiling water on his head during an argument.
However, before the boiling water incident, Smith was on the midseason watch list for the John Mackey award as the best tight end in college. He’s projected to be a mid-Day 3 pick, so if he falls into the 6th round, he’d be a solid addition to the Jaguars tight end group.
7th round (222nd overall): Jalen Reeves-Maybin, off-ball OLB, Tennessee
Maybin is a special talent who’s size will do him in, standing at 6-0, 230 lbs.
A special teams ace in 2013 as a true freshman, Reeves-Maybin became a starter as a sophomore, and totaled 206 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four defended passes, and two forced fumbles through his junior season in 2015.
In 2016, Reeves-Maybin recorded 20 tackles, including two for loss, in four games, before hurting his shoulder and missing the rest of the season.
Maybin is a highly productive off-ball weakside linebacker, but with his size, shoulder injury, and the “worth” of an off-ball linebacker being low compared to other positions, Maybin is going to fall. Look at Telvin Smith, he was a similar player at FSU, but his frame (6-3, 218 lbs) and some questions with power/strength dropped Smith into the 5th round of the 2014 draft.
Maybin, if he falls this far, is the perfect pick for Jacksonville to add depth at linebacker, and gives the team a great special teamer to work with as well.
7th round (240th overall FROM MIAMI): Tedric Thompson, FS, Colorado
The Jaguars finish the draft in adding a ball-hawking free safety to backup Tashaun Gipson in Thompson. The 6-0, 204 lb safety intercepted seven passes and broke up another 16 in 2016, coming from a secondary that also hosted Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon.
Thompson isn’t a strong tackler at all and relies on arm tackling with his decent frame, which will lead to a lot of misses. He also bites on pump fakes too much, as he is a natural ball chaser.
Being overshadowed due to the prospects coming out of Colorado’s secondary this year with big problems in run support and tackling, plus not finishing the 2016 season due to a continual concussion, will hurt Thompson’s stock in this draft. His cover skills are special though, and he would be another great depth piece.
There you have it! In this mock, the Jaguars split 50/50 on offensive and defensive prospects, but went offense-heavy in the first two days.
As I have continually stated, I think adding a defensive end is much more necessary than adding a running back at 4th overall, and would much rather see the team take Allen or Thomas over Fournette. However, I’m just not convinced the team will think the way I do come April 27th.
Do you love the mock? Hate it? Comment below!