The 2017 NFL Draft Jacksonville Jaguars team needs and potential selections for each round. The Jacksonville Jaguars have severely under performed the last few seasons for the amount of talent they have acquired. Whether it be from an injury riddled season like 2015 or a poor coached team in 2016 (which lead to firing of Gus Bradley), they have not been able to find the key of success. The only recent “success” the organization has been able to capture is “winning” free agency. In 2015 these signings included; Julius Thomas, TE (traded to the Dolphins for a 7th round pick), Jared Odrick, DE ( cut), Jermey Parnell, OT (liability in run blocking), Davon House, CB ( cut), Dan Skuta, OLB (special teams). In 2016 they signed the following; Prince Amukamara, CB (did not re-sign), Chris Ivory, (injured and ineffective), Kelvin Beachum, OT (did not re-sign), Malik Jackson, DT (6.5 sacks), Tashaun Gipson, FS (underutilized in 2016). And this year they signed; A.J. Bouye, CB, Calais Campbell, DL, Barry Church, SS.
Before we get into the Jaguars draft needs for this year, let’s look at some of the picks they have made in the last few drafts. Don’t bother looking at the 2012 or 2013 drafts unless you need a good shower cry. In 2014 they selected; Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, and Telvin Smith. In 2015 they selected; Dante Fowler Jr., T.J. Yeldon, and A.J. Cann. In 2016 they selected; Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue.
Looking back on last season’s 3-13 campaign it’s easy to blame the defense for the Jaguars poor performance. But when you factor in how inept the offense was it’s really no surprise the defense struggles like they did. Jacksonville was 28th in 3rd down conversion and 26th in time of possession. When you combine those numbers with the amount of short yardage situations they were put in by turnovers and add a dash of pick six Bortles you have a recipe for a dreadful defense. It’s clear the Jaguars need help on offense if they are going to compete for the AFC South title or a possible wild card spot, but is it enough for them to select an offensive position at the top of the draft.
Here is my top draft needs for the Jaguars for 2017.
- Tight End
- Running Back
- Wide Receiver
The Jaguars pick 4th in this year’s draft. And like I said, offense is a big need, but the draft is littered with defensive talent and lacks the depth of starters at the offensive line position. So it’s hard to imagine them selecting an offensive lineman at the top of the draft.
Now we will look at three potential players the Jaguars might select for each of their 8 picks.
Round 1 pick 4:
Good- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Better- Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Best- Solomon Thomas, Edge, Stanford
Taking a TE at 4 would not be good value but this is worst case scenario if they can not find a way to trade down. Foster is arguably one of the best players in the draft and would give Jacksonville their future stud ILB once Paul Posluszny retires. Thomas would be an excellent addition to this defense and would make them one of the most feared in the league. A lot of people would have Leonard Fournette on this list but I don’t believe in taking a RB in the top 10 much less the top 5.
Round 2 pick 3:
Good- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Better-Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Best- Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
Cook would be an upgrade over both Yeldon and Ivory and with his poor performance at the combine it could push him out of the first round. See Foster above for the reason behind the Cunningham selection. Lamp would be an absolute steal if he managed to fall out of the first round.
Round 3 pick 4:
Good- Taylor Morton, OT, Western Michigan
Better- Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Best- Pat Elflein, C/G, Ohio State
Morton would help solidify the OT spot for the Jaguars along with newly acquired Branden Albert. Jones would never be in discussion for a third round pick if not for his devastating Achilles injury, but would prove to be great value once he returns from his rehab. Elflein would be a solid pick here and could possibly start at center or guard early in his career.
Round 4 pick 3:
Good- Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Better- KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
Best- Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU
Butt like Jones will only be here because his injured status. Cannon is my favorite underrated receiver and would give Bortles an excellent weapon opposite Allen Robinson with Lee manning the slot. Williams would could be a day one starter for the Jags and great investment with their 4th round pick.
Round 5 pick 4:
Good- George Kittle, TE, Iowa
Better- Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
Best- Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Kittle is an excellent blocker and solid pass catcher. McNichols is another underrated running back that might have the best hands outside of Mccaffery. Westbrook, even though he has some red-flags, would be a great depth pick here if Lee continues to be injury prone.
Round 6 pick 3:
Good- Xavier Woods, S, LA Tech
Better- Eric Saubert, TE, Drake
Best- Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force
Woods would be a great depth pick to pair with Sample as reserve safeties. Saubert isn’t getting much attention but if he’s available here the Jaguars have to take him. Robinette is a big red zone threat and a great blocker that should help take pressure of the offense.
Round 7 pick 4:
Good- Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
Better- Elijah McGuire, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette
Best- Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor
Sprinkle is a NFL ready blocker and the Jags need all the protection they can get. McGuire would be an excellent pick here as I expect the Jaguars to move on from Yeldon and Ivory next year. Zamora is extremely talented but has some character issues that ended up costing him a combine invite.
Round 7 pick 22:
Good- Sefo Luifau, QB, Colorado
Better- Alek Torgersen, QB, Penn
Best- Brady Gustafson, QB, Montana
One of these guys may have a shot to become a solid back up and be able to provide spot starts.
Hopefully the Jaguars will take advantage of their personal moves along side a strong addition of talent from this draft class to actually start making a push to be a consistent playoff team for years to come.