The Jaguars held several press conferences on Saturday during and after the 2017 NFL Draft, and Matt Hoffman, my co-writer here at BigCatCountry.com, made note of an interesting statement that general manager Dave Caldwell made:
Caldwell said that all of the 3rd Rd compensatory picks screwed up the #Jaguars 4th Rd pick, because it bumped them down further than normal— Matt Hoffman (@MattHoffmanNFL) April 30, 2017
So... does that mean the Jaguars settled for Dede Westbrook with the 110th pick in the draft? I’m not sure, because I don’t have access to their draft board, but based on this statement from Caldwell, there may have been some other players the Jaguars were targeting over Westbrook that were drafted in the compensatory pick range at the end of the third round (picks 97 through 107).
Based on presumptive need, let’s look over some of the players that the Jaguars may have been keeping their eyes on for their fourth round pick.
Cordrea Tankersley, cornerback, Clemson
Tankersley was one of my favorite cornerbacks in this class, who recorded four interceptions and 11 defended passes in his senior season at Clemson. I viewed him as a second round talent, but Tankersley fell in this draft due to the depth at cornerback.
The 6-1, 199 lb cornerback with 32 1⁄4 inch arms looks to be a great boundary cornerback in the NFL as he develops, and the Miami Dolphins saw that: They selected him with the 97th pick of the NFL Draft.
The Jaguars needed to add a body or two at outside cornerback, as there was next to no one backing Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye up until the Jaguars added Jeremy Cutrer and Ezra Robinson as undrafted free agents yesterday. Perhaps, if Tankersley was available with the 110th pick, the Jaguars would have pulled the trigger?
Jonnu Smith, tight end, Florida International
The Jaguars neither drafted nor signed a UDFA tight end as of the time of this article being written, which I question due to Mychal Rivera only being average, Marcedes Lewis aging, and both Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling being fairly unproven entering their third seasons in the NFL.
Smith, who is widely known for an argument with his pregnant girlfriend that led to her pouring boiling water on his head, is a talented tight end who can be used as both an in-line blocker and as a move tight end, used as a receiver all over the field. He finished his senior season with 42 catches, 506 yards, and four touchdowns.
Tight end was, and still seemingly is, a need for the Jaguars that they haven’t touched on besides signing Rivera during free agency. It wasn’t dire, because Rivera can start and be fine, but depth and competition is needed. If I was the Jaguars general manager, I certainly would have considered Smith if he was available with the 110th pick.
Smith was drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the 100th pick.
Trey Hendrickson, EDGE rusher, Florida Atlantic
Besides Dante Fowler Jr., who is coming off of a disappointing 2016 season, the Jaguars have no depth behind starting weak-side defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The Jaguars drafted Duwuane Smooth in the third round to back up Calais Campbell at strong-side defensive end, but otherwise, there isn’t much depth talent at defensive end.
Hendrickson is an athletic, productive pass rusher coming out of Florida Atlantic, and is also a solid special teamer. In 2016, Hendrickson recorded 9.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, one blocked punt, two blocked field goals, and one blocked extra point.
Hendrickson would have likely competed with Fowler for the second spot at weak-side defensive end, but after his rough 2016 season, I’m not sure that Hendrickson would have been a waste of a pick. The New Orleans Saints drafted Hendrickson with the 103rd overall pick.
By Caldwell’s statement, it certainly seems like Dede Westbrook wasn’t the Jaguars first option with the 110th pick in the NFL Draft. If there were no compensatory picks in front of the Jaguars to shake up their draft board, who would you have wanted to see the Jaguars take in the fourth round? One of the prospects above? Westbrook? Comment below!