Now, things get tricky with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The draft leanings of the Jaguars under general manager Gene Smith are notoriously difficult to predict. Two years ago, Smith shocked first-round viewers with the selection of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu which was panned as a “reach” at the time but has proven worthwhile. Last year, the team traded up for quarterback Blaine Gabbert, a move on which the jury is still out. And in this particular draft, the Jaguars could once again be set up for a stunner.
With no obvious prospect above the rest at this spot, the Jaguars, if they keep the pick, will be selecting a player who best fits their philosophy and scheme, but who could that be? Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox is a possibility, as he is considered the top defensive tackle. With starting defensive tackle Terrance Knighton on the mend from an eye injury suffered earlier this offseason, Cox could slide inside next to Alualu and also has the flexibility to play some defensive end. Dontari Poe and Michael Brockers are possibilities, though longshots. South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, one of the top pass rushers in the draft, could also fit for a team that has lacked for sacks big time over the past two seasons.
The Jaguars are also in need of a cornerback, which could make South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore a real possibility. Gilmore, rather than Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick, has been linked with the Jaguars, though Kirkpatrick’s teammate safety Mark Barron could also intrigue a Jaguars team that does need secondary help wherever it can get it. Even though the Jaguars spent big free-agent money on Paul Posluszny last year and employs one of the league’s most under-the-radar players in Darryl Smith, Boston College’s Luke Kuechly, the consensus top linebacker, could fit for a team that has valued clean character players in recent years.
On offense, wide receiver has long been a problem area for the Jaguars. The team added free agents Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans earlier in the offseason and has Mike Thomas still on the roster, but none of those players is a game changer who Gabbert can rely on moving forward. Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame could very well be the pick here, as he has the explosiveness and size to profile as a No. 1 receiver. Even Baylor’s Kendall Wright could be a possibility, since he has the game-breaking speed the Jaguars may covet.
The Jaguars spent first- and second-round picks on tackle three seasons ago when they drafted Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, and added Lehigh’s Will Rackley as a starting guard last year, but the offensive line is still an area of subtle need. Iowa’s Riley Reiff and Stanford’s David DeCastro could be possibilities there. Starting to see how unpredictable this pick is?
And finally, what could end up being the likeliest scenario. The seventh pick could be a hot spot of trade activity. The Eagles, for one, have been rumored to be interested in moving up for Cox and could deem this as the necessary moving up point. Or, perhaps even more likely, the target for another team could be Ryan Tannehill. If a team has fallen hard for the third quarterback in this class, this spot is the likely where said team would need to move to secure Tannehill’s services with the quarterback-needy Miami Dolphins on deck with the eighth pick.
So what do you think? A trade-out for a Tannehill suitor or a shot in the dark for another prospect? You make the call …
1. Indianapolis – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. Washington – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
3. Minnesota -- OT Matt Kalil, USC
4. Cleveland - RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland
5. Tampa Bay - CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
6. St. Louis - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
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