JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Who will the Jaguars draft in the first round? It’s a tougher task to predict the 29th pick compared to years past where the Jaguars have selected in the top 10. That being said, here are 10 players in four positions the Jaguars are most likely to choose between, if they stay at No. 29 in the first round.
Michael Gallup, Colorado State (6’ 1”, 205 lbs.)
Gallup is projected as a possession receiver with some burst. He ran 4.51 at the combine, certainly in the acceptable range for a starting wide receiver. He played against good, not great opposition in his two years at Colorado State. He did put up some good numbers against some of the top teams, including an 11 catch, 134 yard performance in the opener against Oregon State. He caught five passes for 81 yards at Alabama. His best game was a 13 reception, 263 yard, 3 touchdown game against Nevada, a team that finished 107th out of 130 teams in scoring defense. Some have him projected as a late first round pick, others are not as convinced, and project him as a second or third round prospect.
Courtland Sutton, SMU (6'3", 218 lbs)
Some draft analysts have Sutton graded as the top wide receiver in the draft, others think he is a second round pick. At the combine, he ran the 40 in 4.54 seconds. Not a burner, but certainly fast enough to be a possession receiver, he could compliment the Jaguars speedier receivers. Sutton also spent some time playing basketball for SMU.
D.J. Moore, Maryland (6’ 0”, 210 lbs.)
Among the three wide receivers listed, he is the fastest, clocking in a 4.42 in the 40 yard dash at the combine. Moore developed a good reputation for his approach at Maryland. While he isn’t projected as a No. 1 receiver—it’s rare to find that prospect at the end of the first round—he does project as a starter. He was very good in short area receiver in his three years for the Terrapins. His numbers improved each year, culminating with an 80 catch, 1,033 yard, 8 touchdown performance as a junior. His best game came against Northwestern, where he caught 12 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Wildcats. He caught seven or more passes in eight of twelve games as a junior and was also used as a punt returner, where he averaged 10 yards per return. He might be best suited as a slot receiver, a position the Jaguars don’t have a true fit for at this point.
Hayden Hurst, South Carolina (6’ 4”, 250 lbs.)
The former Bolles star was a big time pitching prospect for the Pirates, who drafted him in the first round in 2012, before he lost confidence in his command from the mound. He turned to football. At 25 years old, he is older than most of the prospects in the draft. Hurst has good speed for the position—he ran 4.67 in the 40 at the combine—and is more of a down field threat than an inline blocker. He has very good hands and has drawn comparisons to former Colts tight end Dallas Clark. It would be surprising if he lasted past the middle of the second round, and could certainly go late in the first round. It would be quite a story if he was drafted by his hometown team.
Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State (6’ 5”, 255 lbs.)
Goedert was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the best player in FCS in 2016. Because he played at that level, he’ll have to convince personnel men around the league that he can make the adjustment to the NFL, a difficult enough step for major college players. He looks the part, however, and his numbers are impressive. In four years at South Dakota State, Goedert caught 198 passes for 2988 yards and 21 touchdowns, going over 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons for the Jackrabbits. He is projected as a late-first or early second round pick.
Mike Gesicki, Penn State (6’ 5”, 247 lbs.)
Gesicki was one of the stars of the combine, running a ridiculously fast 4.54 in the 40 and showcasing a 41.5 inch vertical leap. He is the best athlete of any of the tight ends in the draft. Still, he is projected as an early second round pick. Gesicki isn’t as accomplished as a run blocker, but can become the kind of tight end that can stretch the defense and create matchup problems in the passing game. In four years at Penn State, he caught 129 passes, including 57 receptions and nine touchdowns as a senior. Surprisingly, he never had a 100 yard receiving game.
Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (6’ 3”, 313 lbs.)
While Wynn played some left tackle at Georgia, he is projected as a guard in the NFL, where he played for most of his college career. He even started one game as a freshman as a second tight end. He is a good athlete for the position and played at the highest level, helping to lead the Bulldogs to within minutes of a national championship as a senior. He is projected as a late first or early second round pick.
Will Hernandez, UTEP (6’ 2”, 348 lbs.)
Hernandez helped his stock with an impressive combine performance that included 37 reps on the bench press and running 5.15 in the 40 at 348 pounds. He played left guard at UTEP, starting 37 straight games at that position. The Jaguars signed Andrew Norwell to the richest deal ever for a guard and he plays on the left side, so Hernandez would have to learn to play right guard with Jacksonville. He’s not a tall as Tom Coughlin usually prefers as an offensive lineman, but he is thick and drew rave reviews for his work ethic, strength and toughness. Some analysts believe he will start on an NFL offensive line from day one.
Kolton Miller, UCLA (6’9” 310 lbs.)
Coughlin has always liked big players. From Tony Boselli to Brian DeMarco to Leon Searcy and beyond, Coughlin always looked to draft or sign big, strong men. Miller is huge and has played both right tackle and left tackle. He ran the 40 in 4.95 at the combine. While he isn’t as powerful as some prospects, he moves very well. He has a reputation as a high energy player. Some have him graded as an eventual starter, rather than an immediate star.
Connor Williams, Texas (6’ 5” 320 lbs.)
Williams can play both tackle and guard, having played left tackle at Texas. He is coming off a knee injury that limited him to five games for the Longhorns. Despite that, he left Texas a year early. He is a better run blocker than pass blocker, according to scouting reports, but he’ll have to prove that he is healthy. He’s the kind of player that Coughlin likes. Big and versatile. He’s projected as a late-first or early-second round pick, right where the Jaguars are sitting.
Keep in mind that in each of the last two years, the Jaguars have found a way to land a player projected as having first-round talent in the second round, with Cam Robinson and Myles Jack both falling. That could happen again. Some of the players listed above fit that category. The Jaguars could also look at linebacker, but that position is likely going to be minimized, as it was last year when Paul Posluszny played less than a third of the team’s defensive snaps.