On Thursday morning, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell addressed the team’s local media answering questions during their pre-draft press conference. With exactly one week away, the two broke down their thought process heading into the event.
While there weren’t any trade secrets shared, Marrone and Caldwell addressed a variety of topics both regarding the upcoming draft and their feeling on the makeup of the team in general.
Here are my takeaways...
1. There may not be as many trades this year
While teams are getting ready to head into the draft under brand-new circumstances, Caldwell spoke about a potential lack of trades, particularly as teams get deeper into the draft due to the way the draft his set up this season, and the overall time between picks in the latter rounds.
Due to the on-going pandemic caused by the coronavirus, many states have shut down all operations of non-essential business, which includes any sport organizations. This means the entirety of the NFL Draft will be conducted at home, various personnel on a video conference call. For the Jaguars, they will be using Microsoft Teams, with a separate call with the league, Caldwell, Marrone and Director of Football Administration Tim Walsh.
“I think right now that is probably the one thing that gives me a little bit of angst of how that process is going to go on,” Caldwell said. “I feel good about being able to exercise a trade in the first round with the time limit. I think as you get into the third and the fourth and the later rounds where the time is shorter, it will be interesting to see if I can use my left hand as well as my right hand in terms of making calls and making trades and trying to figure out the value of that.”
The Jaguars have 12 picks at their disposal right now, and Caldwell also mentioned the possibility of moving around, to trade up for a prospects, or potentially trading down and ending up with more than 12 selection by the end of the draft, keeping the possibilities open.
2. Caldwell loves the OL depth... not so much the DL depth
One of the major discussions regarding the Jaguars’ potential pick this year in the first round has centered around the team’s potential of taking an offensive or defensive lineman near the top of the draft. At pick No. 9 overall the majority of mock drafts circulating on the internet include Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, who has a legitimate shot of being the team’s selection next week.
Caldwell pointed to this years defensive line class not stacking up as much against the offensive line as far as depth.
“I think this is a very good offensive line class, especially early,” said Caldwell. “But I also think there are players throughout the draft that you can get in the mid-rounds, unlike year’s past. Whether it is a tackle, a guard, it is one of the better center classes I’ve seen in a long time, that you may not have to exercise a high pick and still get a good player, albeit not as talented as maybe somebody you may take in the top-10.”
This draft includes players such as Iowa tackle Tristian Wirfs, Alabama tackle Jerrick Wills, Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas, and Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. Both Wills and Wirfs are thought to have versatility to kick inside, potentially creating more value near the top of the draft.
However, the defensive line depth has typically not been viewed nearly as deep, particularly inside, “I think there is a dramatic fall-off from your top guys,” said Caldwell.
The top-two interior defensive linemen are widely thought to be Brown and South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. According to projections, at least Kinlaw should be available to the Jaguars at pick No. 9 overall, however if the team wants to select the best interior linemen, they may need to trade up for one of the two.
3. No news on Yannick, unfortunately
The hot topic of the offseason thus far for the Jaguars has been centered around disgruntled pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
Ngakoue has yet to sign his franchise tag tender, and Caldwell did not have much more to add on the situation today stating:
“I don’t really have a whole lot of news on that outside of we’re a week away from the draft and we exercised a franchise tender. He has yet to sign it. Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot to add. Out of respect for him and his team and our team, I think it’s best to just – when I have news for you guys, I’ll let you guys know where we’re at.”
The Jaguars and Ngakoue are likely heading towards a divorce and it could occur as soon as next week, just prior to the start of the 2020 NFL Draft.