Jaguars > What Positions are Highest Priority in Draft?

| February 6, 2015


JACKSONVILLE — With Year 2 of the David Caldwell/Gus Bradley era in the books, there is a lot of optimism in the building despite the Jacksonville Jaguars finishing with just three wins. This optimism stems from the incredible job these two have done to bring young, talented players into an organization that was drowning under terrible free-agent deals and draft picks made by the previous regime.

In last year’s draft alone, the Jaguars managed to pick up six players who made an immediate impact. Quarterback Blake Bortles, receivers Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee and offensive linemen Brandon Linder and Luke Bowanko all helped revamp an offense that was too reliant on the run in previous years. Defensively, linebacker Telvin Smith looks to be a fixture on the defense for years to come. Defensive end Chris Smith and corner Aaron Colvin also managed to show flashes in limited action.

The success of this past draft is more than anyone could have hoped for. However, the team still needs to address plenty of needs before it can finally take that next step and be competitive in the AFC. With top draft picks in each round yet again, the Jaguars are in prime position to take care of these issues.

Possible Draft Choices

Tight End:  Nick O’Leary  |  Florida State

This year’s John Mackey Award winner logged a career year as Jameis Winston’s No. 2 target with 614 yards and six touchdowns. He figures to be more of an H-back in the NFL, but given time to work on his game, he could be a surprise contributor down the line.

Defensive Line:  Randy Gregory  |  Nebraska

Gregory is one of the top defensive prospects in this year’s draft and for good reason. After recording 9.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in his sophomore year, Gregory continued to play well in his junior year, racking up 7.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss despite missing three games. He has great size (6’6″, 240 lbs), speed and length and would be a perfect fit at the Leo position.

Leonard Williams  |  USC

Williams is ESPN draft guru Todd McShay’s first pick for the Jaguars in his first mock draft of the season. As I stated earlier, the Jaguars are not in need of a defensive tackle, but Williams could still be in play for them regardless.

He is a top-tier player who could find his role in the big defensive end position currently held by Red Bryant. Bryant essentially plays as a third defensive tackle who excels at stopping the run. Williams’ 8.5 tackles for loss show his ability to penetrate and blow up running plays. His combination of size (6’5″, 300 lbs) and explosiveness would give opposing offensive linemen fits while trying to block him in the run and passing game.

Defensive Backfield:  Jalen Collins  |  LSU

Collins possesses the size that Bradley covets in corners. At 6’2″ and 195 pounds, he is almost identical to Richard Sherman in Seattle. He is a physical corner who plays well at the line of scrimmage, using his size to outmuscle receivers. This would be a welcome trait in a division that features T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson.

Kurtis Drummond  |  Michigan State

It is no secret that Bradley is trying to replicate in Jacksonville the Super Bowl-winning defense he built in Seattle. The Jags view former second-round pick Johnathan Cyprien as their equivalent to the hard-hitting Kam Chancellor. Now they just need someone to fill the role Earl Thomas plays as the ball hawk.

Drummond had four interceptions last season, just two less than the entire 2014 Jaguars team had. says, “Drummond is a smart and instinctive safety who covers a lot of ground in the back end. For the NFL, he looks like a potential starter at free safety. Drummond was one of the best safeties in the Big Ten in 2013, his first season as a full-time starter.”

His play was a bit shaky toward the end of the year, which has hurt his draft stock a bit, but he still would be an excellent addition to this defense.

Offensive Line:  Andrus Peat  |  Stanford

Peat has established himself as one of the top tackle prospect so far in this draft class. He is excellent in pass protection, something the Jaguars desperately need. Should the top two defensive linemen be off the board by the time the Jaguars pick, Peat looks to be the best pick. He should be a Day 1 starter and instantly improve the line.

Linebaker:  Eric Kendricks  |  UCLA

If the Jags look for a linebacker who can play against the run and the pass, Kendricks is their guy. He would be a three-down linebacker in the NFL. The 2014 Dick Butkus Award winner was a tackling machine for the Bruins last year, logging 96 solo tackles, including double-digit tackles in three of his final five games. In fact, he logged 10 or more total tackles in all but two of his games this year. He can play both the inside and outside spots, bringing a lot of versatility that Bradley would love.

Mike Hull  |  Penn State

For a later-round fix, Hull may be the answer for the Jaguars at the middle linebacker spot. He is your typical two-down run-stuffer but does have some pass-coverage ability. With fellow Penn State alum Posluszny there to mentor him, Hull could become the future middle linebacker for the Jags.

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