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Mel Kiper Two-Round Mock Draft: Jaguars select wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, plus a linebacker and defensive tackle

Arkansas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the 2020 NFL Draft just over a week away, ESPN’s NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper has unveiled his latest two-round mock draft (4.0) (ESPN+ access required).

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a variety of needs and could go several ways in this year’s Draft, but Kiper sees the Jags making an offensive splash with the team’s first pick (ninth overall) with Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

9. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama | Highlights

If the Jaguars are going all-in on Gardner Minshew, they could get him another weapon here. And Jeudy, who had 26 career touchdowns at Alabama, would be a great complement to DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook. He is a superb route runner and smooth-hands catcher who is dynamic after the catch. Jacksonville is another team that is likely to keep a close eye on defensive tackles Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw.

Jeudy would be an ideal candidate to pair on the outside with D.J. Chark, giving the Jaguars a young (and cheap) wide receiver duo that would bolster the entire offense. This would also likely allow Dede Westbrook to thrive in the slot position with two legitimate threats on the outside.

In 36 career games for the Crimson Tide, Jeudy caught 159 passes for 2,742 yards (17.2 yards per reception) with 26 touchdowns, playing primarily against SEC competition. Over each of the past two seasons as a sophomore and junior, Jeudy amassed more than 1,160 yards and double digit touchdowns in each campaign. Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb are widely regarded as the “1 and 1A” of the 2020 class at the wide receiver position.

Kiper also notes that Auburn defensive tackle and South Carolina defensive tackle are going to be attractive options for the Jaguars if either player is still on the board here as well (in this version, Kiper has Brown going seventh overall to Carolina and Kinlaw going 18th overall to Miami).

For Jacksonville’s next pick (No. 20 overall), Kiper went to the defensive side of the ball

20. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma | Highlights

This pick has been hard to gauge for the past few months. The Jaguars have several needs, including off-ball linebacker, defensive line, wide receiver, tight end, cornerback and right tackle. So if I’m giving them a wideout at No. 9, it makes sense to go defense here. Jacksonville brought in middle linebacker Joe Schobert in free agency, but Murray has the versatility to play any linebacker spot. He’s a tremendous athlete and tackling machine.

As Kiper points out, it’s hard to predict what the Jaguars may do because there are so many holes on the roster. With Kinlaw now gone, he chose Murray and mentions his ability to play any linebacker spot. I do believe Murray will have a solid career in the NFL, but I don’t think the Jaguars select him here. Jacksonville’s signing of Joe Schobert not only fixes the middle linebacker situation, it also slides Myles Jack to the weak-side linebacker spot. I can’t see the Jags picking a strong-side linebacker with the 20th overall pick, as Jacksonville often plays the nickel package over the base 4-3 package. For instance, SAM linebacker Leon Jacobs appeared in 14 games last season, but only played about 31 percent of defensive snaps on the year, while nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden played around 61.6 percent of snaps, according to Pro Football Reference.

In the second round (No. 42 overall), Kiper sticks with defense and goes with Justin Madubuike, the defensive tackle out of Texas A&M.

No. 42 Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M | Highlights

I thought about defensive tackle for the Jaguars’ two first-round picks, but this would be a great draft for them if they can get Madubuike here. After Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw, Madubuike is the defensive tackle with the most pass-rushing upside — he had 34 pressures and 18 tackles for loss last season. Taven Bryan, a first-round pick in 2018, hasn’t worked out, so Jacksonville needs to push him with another young DT.

The Jaguars need help at defensive tackle in a big way. The 6-foot-3, 293 pounder could push for a starting spot or add some young depth at the position, as Jacksonville added defensive linemen Al Woods and Rodney Gunter in free agency. While Kiper mentions Madubuike’s pass-rushing prowess from the interior of the defensive line, it’s really stopping the run that is Jacksonville’s focus this offseason, after a poor showing in that regard in 2019. In any event, adding a defensive tackle early would be a wise move for the Jaguars.

What do you think of this haul?


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