Here’s a scenario that could play out when the Jacksonville Jaguars select at number four in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett, The undisputed top pick in the draft. The San Francisco 49ers then take the defensive end, Solomon Thomas from Stanford. That leaves the Chicago Bears with a dilemma.
Chicago needs defensive help. If management decides Jamal Adams, the safety from LSU, is the right choice with the third pick, it would make things interesting for Jacksonville. Having the next pick could cause a few headaches for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sitting there at number four, general manager David Caldwell would have to decide between Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, or LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Both would make this team better instantaneously.
While in Tallahassee last week at FSU’s Pro Day, I had a chance to talk with members of the Jaguars staff. Having to choose between Allen and Fournette isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it does create some drama. Would the Jacksonville Jaguars, who spent a lot of money and free agency, continue to build their defense and take a defensive lineman who can play both inside and out as a pass rusher? Or does this team follow conventional wisdom and take the running back who is a playmaker, something this team needs?
If you took a poll amongst fans in Jacksonville right now, the overwhelming sentiment would be to take the running back since the running game has been nonexistent the past few years. Given that Fournette could be the best running back to come out in the draft since Adrian Peterson, this looks like a no-brainer.
The person I talked to, who shall remain namely, said the choice is harder than you think. Both players could be phenomenal for a Jaguars’ team that is young and growing. With two running backs still on the team roster who could be 1,000-yard rushers, it remains to be seen if Caldwell will pull the trigger on such a move.
Personally, as you have read before, I have been leaning toward Fournette for some time. I like the idea of Allen given the Jaguars lack of depth a defense of tackle. But I also think the defensive line is so versatile, players can move inside and out in Todd Wash’s scheme.
And then there is the wildcard, where teams may want to move up to the fourth spot to select either of these players. That will negate any action other than moving down in acquiring new draft picks.
So here I am again, taking a shot at predicting the Jaguars’ draft picks. Not a lot has changed since the last time I took a chance with this. The only thing that may be different is that Jacksonville may not own this pick when the draft finally occurs at the end of the month.
Here’s a look at the first five rounds of the Jacksonville Jaguars mock draft.
Round 1, 4th Overall: Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU – I’m going to stick to the same scenario. If the Jaguars are going to compete for a playoff berth, they need a tougher running game. TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory have not been able to get the job done. Fournette is the best running back to come out in the Draft since Adrian Peterson. He makes the Jaguars better immediately.
Round 2, 35th Overall: Demarcus Walker, Defensive End, FSU – The defensive end ran a 4.76 40-yard-dash at his Pro Day. He turned heads with his speed and quickness. Walker recorded 16.5 sacks last season for the Garnet and Gold. The best thing Walker does it get to the quarterback, which is exactly why he is a perfect fit for his hometown team.
Round 3, 68th Overall: Roderick Johnson, Tackle, FSU – Johnson looks as big as a mountain and should be hard to move off the block. At 6-foot-7 and pounds, he is an anchor this team needs now and for the future. The Jaguars have Branden Albert on the left side, Jermey Parnell on the right. The team could still use depth, grooming Johnson for the future. It looks like a homer pick, but it makes sense.
Round 4, 110th Overall: Bucky Hodges, Tight End, Virginia Tech – A nice-sized tight end for the Hokies. The Jaguars traded Julius Thomas to the Dolphins in the offseason. Consequently, leaving Marcedes Lewis, Ben Koyack, and Neil Sterling to operate in the Jacksonville offense. Lewis has become more of an extra blocker and the others are unproven. Hodges can serve as a solid pass catcher in this offense.
Round 5, 148th Overall: Corn Elder, Cornerback, Miami – Elder might not be here when the Jaguars make this pick. However, if he is available they should jump for joy. Elder is a spark plug cover corner this team could use. Jacksonville still needs depth in the secondary. Elder’s speed and agility also make him a candidate on special teams.