The Jacksonville Jaguars held their annual NFL Draft pre-draft luncheon on Friday afternoon. While we don't typically get anything specific from these pre-draft media press conferences, sometimes you can get a general "vibe" from how questions are answered, even if there isn't much substance to the actual words. With Tom Coughlin in the fold now, there was even less substance from the Jaguars brass this go-round, but I thought it would be interesting to look back at the previous pre-draft luncheons and what they said versus what they ultimately did with their first round pick.
First though, some quick thoughts on what I took from the luncheon:
1. I don't think polarizing Oklahoma runningback Joe Mixon is off the Jaguars draft board. General manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone refused to state if any players were off their draft board, even when asked specifically about Mixon. My thought is if he's not on their draft board, they'd have been less standoff-ish.
2. I get the feeling the Jaguars are going to pick someone in the tranches, be it offensive line (Cam Robinson, Garett Bolles) or one of the defensive lineman.
3. I don't think a runningback is in play at No. 4 overall, because they have continuously gone out of their way to back both Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon, but I do think they will pick at least one runningback in the draft.
4. I don't think they pick quarterback at No. 4 overall, but it's pretty clear they're in the market for a quarterback.
Anyway, let's look at some of their past luncheons.
2013 Jaguars Draft Pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (most thought this would be the pick)
(On Joeckel/Eric Fisher being NFL ready) "I would say they're both very NFL-ready. I think they could play any of the four positions on the offensive line."
(Importance of drafting an NFL-ready player in the first round) "I think that's a pretty good assessment. You find some really good players. When you really start digging in to a lot of these players, you like the player, but like Vito (Stellino) said, this player has an injury or this player has a character issue. There's a lot of different dynamics that go into drafting a player than just pure value and talent. The same thing holds true in the second, third, fourth round where, ‘Hey, we really like this player, but there is a little caveat there with a potential injury or something like that. I feel like the first round is a good, solid first round, and I think the second, third and fourth are not too far behind."
(Risk of picking a player without a lot of experience) "Yeah, it's difficult when a player doesn't have that history of playing, to pick a guy in the first round. It's not an ideal situation, just like it's not an ideal situation to take a guy that could potentially be injured. Those are some of the factors that you're facing in this year's draft and you face it in every year's draft. I know there's been players in the past that have been one-year starters at that level and have produced very well at this level."
2014 Jaguars Draft Pick: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (most thought they'd go WR)
(On changing the offense for Johnny Manziel vs. Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater) "We talked about that a lot. It wouldn't be anything where he (Jedd Fisch) would have to change it (the offense) substantially."
This was the only transcript I could not find in full, so... Yeah. I do remember people coming away from that press conference not thinking the Jaguars would pick a quarterback.
2015 Jaguars Draft Pick: Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida (most thought they'd go DE)
(on the perception the team is locked-in on taking DE) "Yeah, it does, doesn't it?"
(on if that makes the Jaguars pick predictable) "Or does it? Maybe it doesn't. If we're going to bypass a player to take a defensive end, we're not going to bypass a guy that we think is going to be -- if it's a defensive tackle, if it's a receiver - we're not going to bypass a guy if he's going to be eight to ten-year, really good player, Pro Bowl-type for a guy that's just going to be a defensive end and get us four sacks a year." (Editor note: OH MY GOD I SNORT LAUGHED AT THIS)
(on if having a better roster allows you to focus more on need versus strictly best player) "Yeah, it does, but... Our needs were blazingly glaring year one and year two and now (we've got) some needs and guys that if they can continue to develop, like D-Rob (Denard Robinson), if he continues to develop, well then is there really that big of a need to take a running back? Any bypass maybe a defensive end in the second round or whatever that could really be a factor for us?"
(on how long you can wait to pick a runningback) "I think pretty far. Fourth, maybe even fifth (round).
2016 Jaguars Draft Pick: Jalen Ramsey, CB, FSU (most thought they'd go DE)
(on his philosophy on linebackers) "I think if you have good ones, you pay them and then keep them. My time in Indy; Gary Brackett we paid, Cato played a lot for a small-frame body close to the line and Marcus Washington played our Sam. So it wasn't a valued position for us."
(on if they've removed anyone from their draft board) "I think we have 32 character and about 11, or so, medical. ... I think we've been more inclusive in terms of all-arounds and then some college free agents. But it's not just what you may deem as an arrest or something along those lines. Some of them may just not be tough enough for us or just not physical. Just not good for us so we took them off the board."
(on Joey Bosa and Deforest Buckner) "They can play anywhere. Buckner can play probably three to four positions along the D-line. He could play nose. He could play a three (technique). He could play a six-technique. He can rush with power from the edge. He can rush with power from inside. The only thing he probably wouldn't play is Leo. Bosa is probably a six-technique, maybe down the road as an inside rusher... Different skillsets but I think their jobs would probably be the same."
Most of the cornerback questions that were asked revolved around Josh Norman and the depth of the draft class.