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5 potential draft prospects for the Jaguars offense

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I don’t know how interested the Jaguars are, but I think they would be great additions.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let me be very open about my skills as an evaluator of draft talent. The phrase “arm chair talent scout” most surely has my picture as the visual representative. That guy at the bar you’re drinking with, the one who’s evaluation starts with, “So I’ve seen a few games and...”, or “I really like this guy because so-and-so says...”, is me.

So buy me a beer next time you see me. I’ll either be at Strings, Wicked Barley or Aardwolf. They are in Jacksonville. Look them up.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Austen Lane might have said it best:

Now that we understand each other, these are five players that have piqued my interest in my evaluation of their skill set, football acumen, and fit within the Jaguars present football philosophy.

Tell me why I am wrong, or quite possibly correct in my affinity for them.

WR Brandon Aiyuk - Arizona St. 6-0/205

I end up watching more Pac-12 football than most here in SEC country, and Aiyuk is a player defensive coordinators had to account for when facing the Sun Devils. He has break away speed and would immediately help Gardner Minshew elevate the Jaguars offense. Initially I thought he would be available in round 2, but recent talk has him drawing more interest as a late round 1 target.

What others are saying:

Kyle Crabbs at The NFL Draft Network

“Brandon Aiyuk is a dynamic receiving prospect who possesses an exciting ceiling at the NFL level. Thriving in vertical routes and in run after catch scenarios, Aiyuk is a height/weight/speed mismatch who showcases splendid short area quickness, explosiveness and ability to stress coverage vertically. He’ll need to hone is releases versus physical press coverage but in the meantime Aiyuk could find immediate success in the slot while honing boundary skills.”

Lance Zierlein at NFL-dot-com

“Aiyuk has size, speed and is a natural pass-catcher who plays with good energy but he must improve physicality to handle contested catches. He can be slick and instinctive to separate out of stems and turns, but getting in and out of standard route breaks tends to limit his effectiveness. He needs more polish, but his ability to create yards after catch could get him some early reps while he’s still developing. He has the potential to develop into a WR3.”

WR Laviska Shenault - Colorado 6-1/227

Shenault is physically tough to contain, but his downside is an ability to stay healthy. He is one who’s combine results don’t match just how well he plays football. Colorado moved him to find mismatches, and those mismatches extend from LB to S. He’s another player that has moved up the board, making my hope to possibly grab him in round 3 a problematic ask.

What others are saying:

Lance Zierlein at NFL-dot-com

“ ‘2 Live’ is both talented and stoic as a three-level threat with outstanding physical traits and ball skills. He offers explosive playmaking potential with strength/wiggle to house a short catch-and-run throw or race and leap to pull in a bomb downfield. Shenault shines as a phone-booth bully who’s able to body up and create late windows while securing throws with vice-grip hands. Evaluators get excited by his talent as a direct-snap runner, but sometimes he’s too physical for his own good, which could bring his history of durability into play. Despite his traits and talent, there is work to be done as route-runner and coordinators need to determine how best to use him. He’s a high-end talent, but not a sure thing. An exciting ceiling but a lower floor.”

Jack Stern at BuffsCountry SI

“Coming into 2019, he was considered a surefire first-round pick. Most scouts and draft experts expected him to challenge Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy as the top receiver in this draft class.

However, nagging injuries, streaky quarterback play and a poor performance at the scouting combine significantly hurt his draft stock. Shenault carried a core muscle injury into the combine and was not able to fully participate.

While there may be long term concerns about Shenault’s durability he’s one of the most explosive players in the draft when healthy. A swiss army knife who’s lined up all over the field, Shenault has the potential to be a major impact player in a variety of ways.

For him to be successful at the next level, teams will need to get creative in utilizing his diverse skill set, while limiting the wear-and-tear that hindered him at Colorado.”

TE Brycen Hopkins - Purdue 6-4/245

With the TE class lacking a top flight impact player, Hopkins stands out as a potential mid-round diamond. Brycen was reliable receiving threat for the Boilermakers, earning first-team Associated Press All-American, Big Ten Tight End of the Year, and first-team all-conference honors. He is a true slot TE, and someone who might add depth to the position. Some scouts are concerned with his number of drops. Late fourth is where I would find value, but he could get over-drafted.

What others are saying:

Jacob Infante at Draftwire

“Hopkins is an athletic receiving tight end with the potential to be a high-volume ‘U’ tight end at the next level. While he’s a work in progress as a blocker, his speed, body control and route-running abilities should see him be high in command in a class that doesn’t have a lot of top-end talent at his position.

An athletic player with a good frame for his position, Hopkins is a very fluid weapon who can flip his hips seamlessly and burst well coming out of his breaks.

His film has a handful of double-catches in it, as well as just straight up drops. If he wants to make it into that upper echelon of tight ends in the NFL, then he will have to work on his hands a bit.”

Bernd Buchmasser at SBN Pats Pulpit

“Hopkins offers considerable upside as a receiving tight end due to his combination of impressive straight-line speed, soft hands, and advanced route running: he seems tailor-made to attack down the seam at the next level and challenge linebackers one-on-one in coverage. After all, he looks really smooth when playing in the open field and goes through his breaks seamlessly and without losing speed. He is a threat when catching the football in the open and being allowed to roam the field.

He needs to show an ability to successfully win against man-to-man coverage at the next level: Hopkins had most of his success at Purdue when attacking zone concepts, and needs to adapt to the physicality of NFL-caliber linebackers and defensive backs.”

RB Antonio Gibson - Memphis 6-0/228

Well, get Gibson the ball and watch the magic. If the Jaguars are looking to take their plodding offense to another level, this kid has the ability to find the end zone every time he touches the ball. His primary role for the Tigers was WR, but he’s really an offensive Swiss Army Knife. The question is whether he needs to compliment an every down RB, or whether he can be that guy. Gibson is another player who will probably get over-drafted, with some having him go as early as round three. I don’t know if the Jaguars have the roster to reach for him, but a team with an embarrassment of riches on offense like Kansas City could easily consider it.

What others are saying:

Colby Patmode at SeahawkMaven SI

“Flat out explosive as a ball carrier from anywhere on the field, Gibson touched the ball just 94 times in 14 games in 2019 but turned those 94 touches into 1,749 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 11.2 yards per carry as a running back and 19.2 yards per reception as a receiver.

With years as a wide receiver under his belt, Gibson already understands route concepts and features good hands, making him a potential matchup nightmare for years to come, especially if playing for a creative offensive mind.

Because of the lack of practice reps available without minicamps and OTAs, Gibson will need to make incredible strides early to help his team early in 2020, regardless of whether he’s primarily a running back or receiver. Teams must be okay spending the draft capital on a player who may not give them more than kick return value until 2021.”

Max Owens at SBN Buffalo Rumblings

“Gibson is a dynamic player that teams could fall in love with later in Day 2 or early on Day 3. He offers size, weight, height, speed and explosion as a running back, receiver, and returner. He comes as a hard player to project for the next level who may be looked at by offensive coordinators as a match-up nightmare for defenses in multiple different positions. Gibson will surely carve out a role early as a special teams warrior and someone that teams should look to scheme to get the ball in his hands and watch him work. Gibson is a low floor, high-ceiling player that creative offensive minds will love in the current age of NFL offenses. Gibson comes into the draft as a tough player to slot his range of being selected because of his one-year shine with a severe lack of touches.”

WR Jauan Jennings - Tennessee 6-3/215

Jennings is my late round depth steal. That’s a mouthful. Jennings has strong, reliable hands and is an effective blocking WR. His speed will not impress you so he would benefit from others creating space for him to make plays. I remember Jennings for his Hail Mary catch to beat the Georgia Bulldogs and being part of a comeback to beat the Florida Gators, both back in 2016. A converted QB, his lack of athleticism is a deterrent, but if he’s there in round seven I think he is worth the gamble.

What others are saying:

Jake Vogel at Russell Street Report

“Teams looking for an alpha personality at receiver will be pleased with Jauan Jennings. Physicality, toughness, and effort to stay up-right stand out when watching Jennings. In-breaking routes (slants, posts, corner-posts, digs, drags, etc.) are the bulk of routes where Jennings wins. His testing numbers match his tape; he is not very fast, but he is savvy and strong in and out of his breaks. Jennings is a guy that should be getting the ball early and often because he is a YAC (Yards After Catch) monster.

Jennings has good 50/50 ball skills. This guy is a football player and will succeed if included in the game plan.”

Kyle Crabbs at The NFL Draft Network

“Jauan Jennings projects as a developmental X-receiver at the pro level and a potential candidate to tack on some extra pounds and play a flex tight end. Jennings’ lack of burst and play speed are problematic to him consistently playing through contact and uncovering with timing at the pro level, which water down his contested catch and strength with the ball in his hands. He’s a tough tweener case study who has the needed attitude to make a team, but his role needs to be very specific.”