Now that the major wave of free agency has passed, we can get a better idea of where the Jacksonville Jaguars may want to go in the NFL Draft.
To help us better understand certain prospects who may be good fits for the Jags, I reached out to Brett Kollmann — NFL Draft and film analyst for SB Nation’s Battle Red Blog and trusted YouTube personality.
Check out our conversation below:
1. Who are some offensive prospects you think are good fits for the Jaguars?
Brett: I feel like Jawaan Taylor is one of the best case scenarios for the Jags in the first round. He fits a clear need on the roster at right tackle, and I think there’s a relatively low chance of him outright busting (which obviously Jacksonville can ill-afford right now as they reload once again). (Wide receiver) DK Metcalf would be another guy that I think the Jags will take a hard look at, if Taylor happens to fly off the board earlier than I expect. I know he carries a little risk because of the perception that he’s a workout warrior, but I really do believe that his skillset is very comparable to Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon in their primes. If he is used correctly, he could be a monster on those trademark play-action bombs from (Nick) Foles.
Editor’s note: Check out Brett’s just-released in-depth film breakdown of Metcalf. This is fantastic.
2. Who are some defensive prospects you think are good fits for the Jaguars?
Brett: It sure would be nice if (defensive tackle) Quinnen Williams fell to seventh overall, but that’s most likely not going to happen. I wouldn’t hate it if the Jags traded up a few spots to secure him if the opportunity presented itself because he’s the kind of special talent that is worth picking, regardless of team needs or current personnel on the roster...well actually, I WOULD hate it because I’m a Texans fan...but you get the idea.
If Williams is unattainable, I think trading down a few spots and nabbing (cornerback) Byron Murphy is the way to go. That would give the team some cap flexibility with A.J. Bouye’s deal next year if they need it since he’s got no guaranteed money left, while also giving them a really great trio of corners in the short term to try to make another run at the division (I would be kicking Bouye into the slot against 11 personnel in this scenario).
3. The Jaguars pick at No. 7 overall. Which players do you think will be in play for the Jaguars to pull the trigger on, and who is a “must-draft” if still on the board?
Brett: Assuming the pipe dreams like Quinnen and (Nick) Bosa are no longer there, Taylor is probably the only “must-draft” guy for the Jags in my opinion. Foles isn’t a very mobile quarterback and he has been straight up bad under pressure at times in his career, but he was much, much better in Philly than with the Rams because the Eagles actually committed to giving him protection. They knew that he wasn’t the kind of QB that could survive and thrive while under constant duress, so they did whatever they could to avoid him being in that situation. Jacksonville needs to take a cue from them and do the same.
Protection first. Weapons second. That’s how I would build the team.
4. Tight end is a huge position of need for the Jaguars, but many people believe No. 7 overall is way too early to take a tight end, and see this as a deep draft class at the position. Do you think players such as Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are worth taking so early, or do you think the Jags should look at another position in the first round and can land a solid tight end in later rounds?
Brett: While getting a freakishly athletic and/or versatile tight end in the first round would be nice, it really wouldn’t do anything to address any of the Jags’ actual problems right now. Tight end is the kind of position you take really early in the draft if you are putting icing on the cake, but Jacksonville hasn’t even baked the damn thing yet. (General manager) Dave Caldwell needs to take care of his trenches on both sides and then go from there. There will still be some great tight ends waiting for him in the middle rounds (cough cough, Irv Smith, cough cough).
5. Who are some mid or late round gems you think we should be keeping an eye on? Players you expect to be drafted later who can go on to have successful NFL careers.
Brett: The tight end I just mentioned, Irv Smith, has a lot of Delanie Walker to him...and I love me some Delanie Walker. I also think Sheldrick Redwine (out of Miami, FL.) would be a really great mid-round pick to slot in at free safety and replace (Tashaun) Gipson from day one (or probably even exceed him, considering how damn athletic Redwine is). Georgia’s Lamont Gaillard could probably be a really nice swing guard or backup center for (Brandon) Linder as well in this system. Considering how much the Jags’ OL depth was tested last year, investing in improving that would probably be a wise move.
Bonus: The Jaguars are giving Nick Foles a huge contract, which almost certainly means Jacksonville won’t be drafting a quarterback at No. 7 overall. But just out of curiosity, which quarterback do you think should be drafted first and why?
Brett: (Kyler) Murray will likely be the first quarterback taken because I believe the Cardinals happen to like him more, but if it were up to ME as a GM I think I would take (Dwayne) Haskins. He reminds me a lot of Jared Goff, and I mean that in a very positive way. Goff ain’t perfect (obviously), but there’s a lot of other teams out there that would kill to have him throwing pinpoint accurate shots down the sideline to their receivers. Within a few years, I think we will all see Haskins in the same light. The kid can sling it.
Thank you to Brett for providing his insights into potential draft fits for the Jaguars. If you enjoyed his videos linked above, be sure to follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel.