The Jaguars scouting and coaching brass has brought a full entourage to Mobile to evaluate potential offensive playmaking options for the 2019 NFL Draft. In addition to Tom Coughlin, Tony Khan, Doug Marrone, John DeFilippo, and Scott Milanovich, a full arsenal of scouts have been meeting with players and they’ve had one of the biggest presences throughout the week.
The Jaguars offense finished 27th in the NFL in yards per game (302.0) and 31st in points per game (15.3) just one year after finishing 6th (365.0 yard per game) and 5th (26.1 points per game) in 2017, so a massive renovation is underway and the foundation may be playing in this year’s 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
So which offensive players should the Jaguars target from this year’s Senior Bowl?
Quarterback is the biggest question mark on the Jaguars roster and quite frankly might be the most precarious depth chart in the entire NFL. Unfortunately, the Jaguars franchise quarterback is not here. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I’m not even going to list a high, medium, and low option for the position. Instead, I’ll opt for sharing my notes on all the signal callers participating this week.
Last night, I sat with Optimum Scouting team president Eric Galko in the XOS film room following Thursday’s practice and we focused solely on footwork for the North roster quarterbacks. A former third-string quarterback, I learned quite a bit about lower body mechanics, footwork, and general throwing technique sitting with Eric. From a mechanical perspective, this was our joint takeaway:
Finished #SeniorBowl North QB film. Ranking solely based off practices:— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) January 25, 2019
1. #PennState’s Trace McSorley
2. #NCState’s Ryan Finley
3. Missouri’s Drew Lock
4. Duke’s Daniel Jones
McSorley with best feet and finish as a thrower
(This isn’t a projection of where they’ll be drafted)
From the North guys, Duke’s Daniel Jones is not a smooth, natural thrower of the football and had a tendency of dropping the ball to his hip before dialing up his release (stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Jaguars fans). Most reps looked forced and he looks like he is guiding his passes rather than throwing them.
Missouri’s Drew Lock had dead feet and there would be moments pausing the tape where his feet were within six inches of one another, affecting his platform. Lock’s arm talent atones for his inconsistency throwing from his lower body and his head isn’t always straight upon his release point, causing passes to occasionally sail. Whichever team from the Rocky Mountains drafts him is going to have a tough read in fixing his lower body mechanics.
Surprisingly, North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley was the most smooth and fluid from the hips down and a lot of his passes were textbook. Finley’s arm strength may not be on par with Lock (I legitimately thought he was a punter when he walked on stage for weigh ins on Tuesday), but he was a natural thrower of the football and that consistently allowed his passes to be placed in a position where his receiver could make a play.
Watching live, Penn State’s Trace McSorley’s feet looked very similar to Baker Mayfield’s last year, and a positive about him is that he has taken the more high-reward options this week throwing the football instead of copping out on the check down. McSorley may not get drafted due to his size and arm strength, but his voracity, refinement and technical polish as a thrower is there.
From the South quarterbacks, Will Grier was up and down this week in practices, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up having the best game on Saturday. Grier screams “gamer” and did some damage control about skipping his bowl game this year, explaining that he had torn ligaments in his ankle from late in the season. By all accounts, Grier was very impressive in meeting rooms and did extremely well on the white board. If the Jaguars couldn’t land Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray in the first round this year, Grier would probably be my pick of the litter in the second round, but that would certainly be a “break glass in case of emergency” approach.
Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham was Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy’s practice player of the week for the QBs and was largely fine, but didn’t have any “wow” throws and doesn’t seem like the franchise savior the Jaguars need.
Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson is probably the most intriguing guy in this class, making throws only a handful of humans on the planet can make. Jackson has been putting an emphasis on choking down his velocity on short and intermediate throws to showcase more touch, and his short ball accuracy was a big criticism about his game going into the week. There was one play in Tuesday’s practice where he rolled out to his left and threw across his body to hit Hunter Renfrow along the sidelines that was drool-worthy for scouts. Jackson is somewhere between Josh Allen and Cardale Jones as a prospect comparison, and with the right quarterback coach in a vertical offense, there’s a lot to work with there.
Similar to Stidham, Minshew was largely fine this week but probably doesn’t have the physical skill set to be an NFL starter. Minshew’s feet tend to die at the top of his drops and it will be interesting to see him throw with more anticipation after having the benefit of throwing to players schemed open with four-plus yards of separation at Washington State.
Of the quarterbacks, Locked On Jaguars’ Zach Goodall has reported that the Jaguars have met with Drew Lock, Tyree Jackson, and Will Grier, but I wouldn’t look too much into it, as it’s the scouting department’s job to do their due diligence on all the quarterback prospects to address their biggest need and build their notebook.
Medium: Dexter Williams, Notre Dame
Low: Karan Higdon, Michigan
There isn’t a day one or two running back here in Mobile this week, but that’s fine when it comes for the Jaguars. With so many underclassmen running backs declaring this year and the Jaguars having so many needs, it probably makes the most sense from a value perspective to wait until the sixth or seventh round as well as recruit a few undrafted free agents to build depth to a very tumultuous stable.
Dexter Williams was one of my favorite running back prospects in the country this season and watching him break into the second level in-person only amplified my interest. Williams is an incendiary accelerator when hitting holes entering the second level and unlike Corey Grant, has the bulk, vision, and mentality to run between the tackles and contribute in blitz back up as a speed back.
Karan Higdon was the runner who caught my eye this week. While I enjoyed Higdon’s pissed off running style when casually watching Michigan this year, he was extremely efficient in receiving drills this year and it was great for him to showcase what he could contribute in the passing game in the way T.J. Yeldon did.
High: Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Medium: Terry McLaurin, Ohio State; Gary Jennings, West Virginia; Jakobi Meyers, North Carolina State
Late: Tyre Brady, Marshall
Sorry for the three “medium” options, but I just couldn’t make up my mind and that’s a good thing!
Samuel carried his weight well and despite measuring in under 6’0”, his catch radius wasn’t compromised by his 32+” arms and big 10+” hands. Samuel was the most dominant wide receiver in Mobile and may not have lost a battle all week in practice. Samuel routinely displayed outstanding body control to adjust to poorly thrown passes, augmenting his catch radius. Samuel is a fluid hands catcher and the football makes little audible noise when it makes contact with Samuels 10+” hands. In addition to his impressive kinesthetic sense, Samuel showcased a sudden outside release and reliable ball tracking ability on deep routes as well as great short area quickness to gain separation on slants and outs. Samuel also spent time field kicks and punts. Samuel’s injury concerns (lingering ankle issues) may cause him to drop a bit in the second round and may cool him on the Jaguars’ board with Doug Marrone’s new emphasis and message on availability in 2019.
After Samuel, Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin wasn’t far behind. McLaurin routinely beat several different defensive backs on vertical routes and had the fastest timed speed of the wide receivers on Tuesday (22.2 mph). McLaurin also put a few defensive backs in a blender with his short route running and does a great job boxing out defenders with his lower body and staying calm under duress to catch the ball away from his body and adjust to poorly thrown balls. McLaurin gets really low in his breaks and his ability to sink hips makes him a difficult match up to mirror. McLaurin is also a special teams ace who takes a lot of pride in playing as a gunner and could take over that role for the Jaguars for D.J. Chark, allowing Chark to take a bigger role in the offense this year. McLaurin was a really impressive player to speak to and teams have really come away impressed with his charisma. McLaurin told Locked On Jaguars’ Christopher Thornton that he has met with the Jaguars and planned on meeting them again at length. No doubt the Jaguars would be interested in a receiver as impressive as McLaurin, but could they also be poking about Haskins?
Jennings looked aesthetically strong with a six pack and longer than average arms and was the more impressive Mountaineers receiver in my opinion. Jennings spent the week working both from the slot and as an outside receiver to prove to scouts that he’s more complete than just the slot role that he played at West Virginia. Jennings showcased a variety of routes and showed exceptional tracking ability on nines and corner routes, locating lofted balls over his shoulders with ease. Jennings wastes zero motion when breaking into slant routes and consistently demonstrates great spatial awareness along the sideline and in the red zone to get his feet down and not run out of space. Jennings also fought to win some contested catches outside the numbers on comebacks and helped himself immensely this week by showing off his route tree. Following practice on Thursday, Jennings said he met with the Jaguars “several times” already when asked by Locked On Jaguars’ Christopher Thornton.
Meyers was a player who’s name I’ve had written down in my notebook since his freshman year, and that’s usually a good thing. Meyers is another versatile receiver who probably ran the most effective dig route of all the receivers in Mobile and wastes little motion when releasing inside. Meyers also proved he was a savvy, patient run blocker in team drills and did a good job of selling his routes before engaging in his block to not tip off the play where a lot of players usually mail this in during practice. Meyers may lack an elite trait but does everything really well and showed great concentration to haul in tough catches with defensive backs bearing down on him. I saw Meyers win across the middle of the field, outside the numbers along the touchline and deep on vertical routes, so his skill set is appealing. Jaguars scouts reportedly had multiple touch points with Meyers throughout the week.
Brady was body beautiful at the weigh ins with low body fat and room to add weight. Brady understands how to use his long 33¾” to his advantage to beat jams in press coverage and pairs that with ample foot quickness to get CBs off their spot. Brady does well to use his hands to rip through contact and almost looks like a speed edge rusher converting speed to power off the snap. Brady is very strong at the catch point and showed outstanding courage in traffic to haul in a hospital ball between two closing defensive backs in Thursday’s practice. Brady was also effective in red zone drills and did a good job finding ways to get open in consolidated spaces.
High: Foster Moreau, LSU
Medium: Tommy Sweeney, Boston College
Low: Trevon Wesco, West Virginia
Moreau was used predominantly as a blocking tight end at LSU but it was his consistency as a pass catcher this week that was the most impressive. Moreau showed sufficient ability to separate and even made some gritty, contested catches over safeties in team drills. A bit stiff as an athlete when it comes to change of direction ability, Moreau showed sneaky speed this week, registering the highest top speed for the entire tight end group this week. Moreau has also been described as one of the highest character guys in the class and is a team leader in the locker room. An engaging interview, Moreau was asked about Fournette and said the they would joke that Moreau was an “honorary Fournette” and that it would be awesome to be able to lead block for him again in the NFL. Moreau showed great intensity when blocking, but his reliability as a receiver really boosted his stock this week, maybe even into the late third, early fourth round. Moreau has met with the Jaguars this week.
Sweeney was another guy who was just solid and seems like a useful third tight end on the roster who wouldn’t be a huge drop off in the event of injury. Sweeney won’t put up circus catches of a Travis Kelce but catches what is around him and is a reliable target. Sweeney is also a solid run blocker and another high character guy that would be a welcome addition to the locker room. Basically, Sweeney is a poor man’s Foster Moreau and also has met with the Jaguars this week.
Wesco is listed as a fullback on the roster, but the 6’3” 270-pound hybrid tight end has been solid as well. Wesco has taken reps as a lead blocking fullback and has also shown nimble feet as a route runner for a player of his size. Wesco didn’t have a ton of production in his career at West Virginia until the second half of his senior year, where he became one of Grier’s more reliable targets on third downs. Wesco is an adequate receiver and is one of several prospects in this crop who could serve as a Trey Burton-style hybrid H-Back and take the roster spot of Tommy Bohanon. If not taken in the 7th round, Wesco should be one of the first players they call to sign as a priority free agent.
High: Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
Medium: Dru Samia, Oklahoma
Low: Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
Lindstrom was my early favorite as the Jaguars solution to the right guard spot vacated by A.J. Cann, and nothing Lindstrom did this week changed that opinion. In fact, Lindstrom is probably the most ready guard in the entire class to plug and play in day one and elevate the level of play of an offensive line. Lindstrom was equally effective in the run and pass and he showed he can quickly matriculate into the second level and showed good anchor against power in individual drills. Lindstrom said that he has a very good relationship with former Boston College right guard Chris Snee, who is Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law and works in the Jaguars’ scouting department, and did meet with the Jaguars.
Samia is one of my personal favorites scouting the Big 12 for Optimum Scouting this season, but I was worried that he may not have the bulk to play in the Jaguars’ power scheme. With John DeFilippo taking over this year and weighing in at the same weight as Chris Lindstrom, Samia is probably someone on their radar in round three or four if they can’t draft Lindstrom or another right guard. Samia is a violent run blocker and plays with unreal nastiness for the position, often rag dolling players at the end of 1v1 drills. A former right tackle, Samia is a very good athlete with great feet and despite being physically maxed out, was one of the few lineman who could anchor against Texas A&M nose tackle Daylon Mack, who had his way with most of the offensive linemen in Mobile.
Pierschbacher has most recently been playing center at Alabama, but also has started full seasons at left guard and five games at right guard, showing good versatility. Pierschbacher isn’t the most gifted athlete but his experience and versatility is appealing and would give George Warhop and the Jaguars some flexibility to put the best five guys on the field, potentially sliding Brandon Linder back to his original right guard position.
High: Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Medium: Chuma Edoga, USC
Low: Oli Udoh, Elon
Risner is one of #myguys in this draft process, and it was great to see him have such a productive week starting all the way back on Tuesday at the weigh ins when he measured 34 ¼” arms. This meets most NFL teams’ threshold to stay at right tackle, and that’s the position he said he would prefer to play at the next level. Risner is an intelligent blocker who has experience playing all five offensive line positions at Kansas State and hasn’t allowed a sack at right tackle since 2016. Risner hasn’t won every rep this week, but he has attacked match ups with enthusiasm and was probably one of the angriest blockers of the bunch. Risner is like quicksand – the harder you try against him, the more he gets pissed off and turns into a boxer, brandishing his heavy, violent hands. Risner is a vocal leader who wants to be a motivational speaker after football and would be a welcome addition to a Jaguars offensive line room who is more of a “quiet” bunch. Risner did meet with the Jaguars this week and it’s hard to imagine they didn’t come away impressed from the conversation.
Edoga was a scrappy player who many scouts I’ve spoken with like more at right guard, but for a team like the Jaguars who have needs at both positions, that sounds pretty good. Like Risner, Edoga measured in with almost 35” arms, but only 303 pounds, so the guard/tackle dynamic will really be up to the discretion of the team. Edoga won Jim Nagy’s practice player of the week award on Friday and has been a ball of energy, fighting with every last ounce of his stamina on each play. Edoga certainly made himself some money this week.
Udoh was a player who physically looks like a Jermey Parnell clone, but has a long way to go when it comes to his technique. It’s hard to understand how a guy with that kind of size and athleticism ends up at a program like Elon, but Udoh has now had two good bowl weeks in a row after being elevated to the Senior Bowl roster from his strong play at the East West Shrine game in St. Petersburg last week. Udoh is far away from being an NFL starter but is the type of developmental prospect that position coaches salivate over. With Doug Marrone listing player development as new offensive line coach George Warhop’s greatest attribute, this could be a late day three target for the Jaguars – if he doesn’t go sooner, of course.
Mock Draft 1.0
I’ll be doing another one after the NFL Combine and one final one before the draft, but my first mock draft for the Jaguars is as follows:
1 (4) Dwayne Haskins Jr., QB, Ohio State*
2 (38) Chris Lindstrom, RG, Boston College
3 (69) Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
3 (99) Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon
4 (110) Foster Moreau, TE, LSU
6 (179) Karan Higdon, RB, Michigan
7 (225) Deshaun Davis, ILB, Auburn
*Jaguars trade 2020 1st Round Pick, RB Leonard Fournette to OAK
Will you be tuning into the Senior Bowl on Saturday at 1:30pm CST on NFL Network? If so, which players are you most excited to watch?