I’m (still) feeling crushed about what went down last weekend, as it has only been five days, but feels like eternity.
Perhaps one way to help us move on is to look ahead to the offseason, and particularly the draft. Now, I always think it is comical to look at mock drafts at this point. The combine hasn’t even taken place and positions won’t be filled through free agency until mid-March. Hell, the Senior Bowl hasn’t even kicked-off yet.
While I’m not personally comfortable mocking any particular player to the Jacksonville Jaguars yet, I am intrigued to see what everybody else is thinking. You can already find multiple versions of mock drafts from various websites, so let’s take a look at a few and decipher what pundits are saying.
For those who are unaware, the Jaguars will have the 29th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
SB Nation, Jan. 22
Dan Kadar: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
What happens here will be dependent on how Jacksonville handles free agent wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. In particular, receiver becomes a serious need if Robinson departs. If that happens, a player like Sutton is similar in style.
Career Stats: 195 receptions, 3,220 yards, 31 receiving touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown
Thoughts: I don’t think Allen Robinson is going anywhere. He’ll likely get the franchise tag and play on a one-year “prove it deal”. Lee could very well leave Jacksonville because I’m sure there are teams on the market willing to pay him more than the Jags. If that happens, this pick makes sense. Sutton is a big-bodied receiver at 6-foot-4, who could slot in nicely on the outside.
ESPN, (Insider Access), Jan. 22
Mel Kiper: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Could the Jaguars target a quarterback here? It’s possible, though they might want a veteran whom they could plug in and play for a team that is trying to win with a loaded defense that has almost all of its best players under contract. So I’m going with a versatile 6-6 pass-catcher who is a mismatch wherever he lines up. Marcedes Lewis is really just a blocker at this stage of his career, and Andrews is a huge receiver who needs to improve his blocking. Receiver also might be an option as Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson are both free agents.
Career Stats: 112 receptions, 1,765 yards, 22 touchdowns
Thoughts: I do think that the tight end position is in need of a serious upgrade in terms of a pass-catcher. We forget that Mychal Rivera is on the roster because he spent all of the 2017 season on injured reserve, but it’s hard to judge what he would bring to the table in 2018. Andrews averaged nearly 16 yards per catch throughout his career, and would be a big red zone target at 6’ 6”.
247Sports, Jan. 23
Josh Edwards: Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State
Offensive line is finally starting to get the respect that it deserves. Around the league, line play is as awful as it has ever been. Teams need to start investing in the position to protect their most valuable assets - the skill players.
Career Stats: 55 career starts, Two-time All-American, 2017 Rimington Trophy winner (nation’s best center), 2017 Pace-Rimington Offensive Lineman of the Year
Thoughts: As a guy who watches a ton of Big Ten football, I can tell you that Price is a solid player. He played three seasons at guard, and then moved over to center in 2017. If he can smoothly transition back to guard, then this could be a good pick. He is durable, starting every game since his freshmen year. But I would prefer UTEP’s Will Hernandez, who is an absolute road-grader. Edwards has Hernandez going one pick later at 30 to the Minnesota Vikings.
USA TODAY DraftWire, Jan. 24
Luke Easterling: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Jags are proving they don’t have too many glaring holes on their roster, but the future of the quarterback position is still fuzzy. Taking a gamble on Jackson could pay off in a big way, if he can develop slowly behind Blake Bortles for a year before taking over as the starter. Jackson and Leonard Fournette in the same backfield? Sign me up.
Career Stats: 57 percent completion percentage, 9,043 yards, 69 touchdowns, 27 interceptions, 4,132 rushing yards, 50 rushing touchdowns.
Thoughts: Now things are getting interesting! The “Is Blake Bortles good enough?” question will be looming all offseason while the front office must decide to cut him or keep him and his $19 million price tag in 2018. I would be on board with drafting Jackson here, so long as he sits and learns for a year unless an injury or extreme poor play from Blake ensues. I don’t think he’ll be ready as a rookie, but has potential.
CBSSports, Jan. 25
R.J. White: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The Jaguars have an outstanding defense in place, so it would be surprising if they looked to that side of the ball with this pick. Brown is a massive presence at the tackle spot and worth trying at left tackle, where Cam Robinson struggled this season. If Brown succeeds, the Jaguars would be set up well with Brown and Jermey Parnell as the bookends and Robinson inside next to center Brandon Linder.
Career Stats: Started all 40 career games at left tackle, 2017 Unanimous All-American, 2016 and 2017 Big 12 Offensive Linemen of the Year.
Thoughts: Here we go with the “move Cam Robinson inside” business again. I’ll have to disagree with this one. Robinson had his struggles, sure, but he also had very good moments. He was thrown into the fire as a rookie. Left tackle is an extremely difficult position to learn. Orlando Brown has the potential to be a plug-and-play starter, but again, I would rather see the Jaguars draft a guard such as Hernandez, before a tackle.
Bleacher Report, Joseph Zucker: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Bleacher Report, David Kenyon: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Land of 10, Land of 10 staff: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
SEC Country, Connor Riley: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Walter Football, Walter Cherepinsky: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
In conclusion, it is way too early to know anything decisive. But let the rumors begin. Comment below on names you would like to see join the Jaguars via the 2018 NFL Draft.