UPDATE: All five prospects in this article have met with the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl within the first two days of the week, per sources at the Shrine Game.
The offseason is upon us. With the Jacksonville Jaguars unfortunate loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship this past Sunday, we immediately turn our attention to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.
Every year, the Senior Bowl gives teams a chance to do extra homework on the NCAA’s best senior prospects before April’s NFL Draft. This year’s Senior Bowl is no different and is filled with talent from the top of each roster to the bottom.
Who are some prospects the team could be targeting at the Senior Bowl? Remember, the Jaguars have drafted 16 players who participated in the Senio Bowl since Dave Caldwell took over as GM in 2013. This is an important part of the team’s draft process.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Blake Bortles’ future as a Jaguar is unclear at this time, but the fact that the Jaguars are doing serious homework on QBs from this draft class is telling. I can confirm per a source that the Jaguars met with Rudolph on the first night of events at the Senior Bowl, and that they had a scout at at least five of his 2017 games.
Rudolph isn’t the cream-of-the-crop in this year’s draft class, but he’s certainly a higher-floor quarterback prospect who will likely be drafted between the late first round through the second round. He finished his career at OKST (three years as a starter) with 13618 yards, 92 TDs, 26 INTs, and a completion percentage of 63.2%.
Rudolph is sidelined from the Senior Bowl with a foot injury but plans to participate in the NFL Combine. He weighed in at 6-4 1/8, 229 lbs, with 9 1/8 inch hands.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Gesicki, a former basketball player, holds the most receptions for a tight end in Penn State history with 129, to which he gained 1481 yards and 15 TDs in his career. His official weigh in at the Senior Bowl was 6-5 3/8, 242 lbs, with 34 inch arms and 10 1/8 inch hands.
Gesicki has work to do as a blocker (although I wouldn’t consider him to be a bad blocker), but he’s a big time athlete with great hands and the ability to beat defenders with his length. When I traveled to Penn State to personally scout him this past year, a source confirmed to me that the Jaguars had visited State College to scout Gesicki for at least three games.
Shaquem Griffin, LB/utility defender, UCF
One of the biggest storylines at the Senior Bowl, the former Knight (and National Champion ;) ) Shaquem Griffin is looking to prove his doubters wrong.
Griffin is widely known as the one-handed defender who lit it up at UCF, where he recorded 195 total tackles, including 18.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and 16 defended passes, and four forced fumbles. Teams are naturally scared off by him only having one hand, as well as his size (6’ 1/4”, 223 lbs) and position fit, but he’s a play maker and an incredibly inspiring story.
Chris Thornton of LockedOnJaguars.com confirmed Griffin met with the Jaguars on Monday and has plans to meet with the team again.
Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Hernandez has great size at 6-2 1/2, 340 lbs with 9 3⁄4 inch hands and 32 3/8 inch arms. His ability as a run blocker in top notch and he offers solid pass protection as well. The mauler started all 49 games of his college career, and I’ve often seen him mocked as an early-mid Day 2 pick.
Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC
Per Jon Valencia of Breaking Football, Nwosu is one of three linebackers the Jaguars were seen briefly meeting with around the media on Day 1 of Senior Bowl week. The 6-2, 245 lb outside linebacker is viewed by many as an EDGE rusher, but considering the Jaguars are relatively set at defensive end, their interest in Nwosu/prospects like Nwosu have me wondering if they’re planning to be versatile with their SAM LB in the future.
Nwosu recorded 12.5 sacks and 20.5 TFLs at USC, and offers the athleticism to win as a speed rusher. The Jaguars run a 4-3 under in base packages with the SAM as an extra edge setter/rusher who can also cover the flats. Nwosu certainly fits this mold.