Ever since the official signing of quarterback Nick Foles, the debate and discussion about the Jacksonville Jaguars first round pick has narrowed a bit in scope. Most people assume that the team will pass on a quarterback even if one falls in their lap with the seventh overall pick. The majority of the debate seems to be between picking an offensive lineman or a tight end with the pick now, however there is a new challenger that is going to start appearing shortly.
Don’t rule out the team picking another pass rusher.
I think in the coming weeks we will start to see more people slotting a pass rusher into the Jaguars pick at seventh overall, because it just fits and makes too much sense. A tight end with that pick you can make an argument for, but in reality the value just isn’t there and it’s not a premium position. The same could be said for the pick being a right tackle for the Jaguars.
A pass rusher however, is a premium pick and something NFL teams cannot get enough of. Even though the Jaguars used their first round pick on Taven Bryan in 2018 and have one of the better pass rushes in the NFL heading into 2019, it can still get better and one of the pass rushers who could be there when the Jaguars pick could make an impact playing part time as a rookie.
As it stands right now when the Jaguars line up in their third and long package it’s going to look like this:
Dawuane Smoot - Calais Campbell - Taven Bryan - Yannick Ngakoue
That’s pretty good. But, what if you could replace Dawuane Smoot with say... Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Florida State’s Brian Burns? What if you could replace Dawuane Smoot with Houston’s Ed Oliver?
As tempting as it will be to use the first round pick on an offensive player to help out the newly signed Nick Foles, adding to your pass rush could be another way to help him out by increasing pressure on imposing quarterbacks, which gets you the ball back faster and generates turnovers. Similarly to how the Jaguars set up their offense in the 2017 season.
I hate to invoke the “Look at the Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants teams...” but... like look at them.
The biggest argument however is that if something happened to Yannick Ngakoue for a few games, the Jaguars have absolutely nothing behind him in the form of an edge rusher. The 2019 NFL Draft is top heavy in pass rushers and there’s a huge drop off after a point, and that point is after the first round. If there’s a premium guy there at 7th overall, even if it’s a defensive lineman, it would likely be the smart pick.