The Jacksonville Jaguars may have Alabama on its mind. The SEC powerhouse has produced three players in this year’s NFL Draft that could help make the Jacksonville Jaguars better.
The Jaguars, 3-13 last season, spent plenty of money on defense this offseason. However, it is hard to believe this team could still make it a priority in the NFL Draft.
There are plenty of directions the Jaguars could go in the first round. The offensive line, linebacker, defensive line and running back are worth addressing with the fourth pick in the Draft. Here is a look at the four safest picks Jacksonville will have to choose from when the team makes is first round pick.
Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama – It is believed the Jaguars will have a choice between Allen and LSU running back Leonard Fournette. San Francisco could select Fournette as high as number 2. That would leave Allen on the board, which should thrill Tom Coughlin, who has built teams through the offensive and defensive line.
Allen’s flexibility will allow defensive coordinator Todd Wash to move him inside against the run or line him up on the outside as an edge rusher. Jacksonville does have a need for more interior line play and a terror getting to the quarterback. Playing in a rotation for the Jaguars will also help, Allen remain fresh and should eliminate any fear of a shoulder issue affecting his play.
Allen has great speed for his size and build.
OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama – If Howard is the Jaguars’ top choice, they may have to act fast. There are teams in the top 10 that might be willing to pull the trigger on making Howard their pick.
The Crimson Tide offense undervalued Howard. Not having a top-tier quarterback may have had something to do with it. Howard has been impressive the past two years in the postseason and helped his cause at the Combine. His size and agility make him a solid target in the red zone.
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Julius Thomas and go into camp with an aging Marcedes Lewis, Ben Koyack, and Neal Sterling. None of them scare defenses as top receivers.
In theory, the team that could take him if the Jaguars pass on him at No. 4 is the New York Jets. Cleveland, Carolina, and New Orleans might be looking as well.
Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama – Now that Jacksonville has let Dan Skuta go, this is a thin unit. The starters – Telvin Smith, Myles Jack, and Paul Posluszny – are solid. However, the depth is a bit concerning. Drafting Foster means there will be a shakeup in the starting lineup. If not at the beginning of the season, then at some point in 2017.
Foster is quick, sudden and a sure tackler. Furthermore, he will help the Jaguars in run defense. In addition, he is agile enough to cover a tight end over the middle.
There is a chance the Jacksonville Jaguars could trade back (to eight with Carolina) and still get Foster.
A unanimous first-team All-American and All-SEC pick. Foster also won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and was a finalist for the Bednarik Award, leading the Tide with 115 tackles, 13 for which went for losses including five sacks.
Forrest Lamp, Guard, Western Kentucky – Lamp has a chance to become the first Hilltoppers player drafted in the first round. Regardless, I have read some pundits who believe the Jaguars could move back in the first round to take an offensive lineman. In fact, Lamp could be the person Tom Coughlin and David Caldwell target.
The 6-fot-4, 308-pound guard has been on every team’s radar, drawing attention in postseason all-star games and at the Combine in February. If the Jaguars draft Lamp, it tells everyone the team is not happy with the performance of AJ Cann.
Compared to Dallas Cowboys’ star Zach Martin, one NFL executive thinks he is the real deal and a starter for years.