JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the past few years, the NFL combine has been pretty simple for the Jaguars since they were picking No. 1 and knew they could get whoever the top player on their board was, this year is a little different.
The Jaguars have the 24th pick in the draft so there will be a much longer wait on draft night to find out who will be on the board at their pick.
With the combine starting up in Indianapolis this week, I have a few players who are worth keeping an eye on. With some strong workout numbers, they could firmly put themselves in the conversation for the Jaguars at 24. Or they could even more their stock up where they are off the board before the Jaguars pick.
DB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
The first guy on my list is Ringo. He is a freak athlete. And if you watched Georgia play this year it was hard to miss this guy on the field. He just looks big. He is the type of athlete that fits the profile of a player who Trent Baalke likes to select. Ringo had an up-and-down year for the Bulldogs last season. With his athletic profile, Ringo’s best football could easily be in front of him. He is expected to light up the combine this week and that could put him firmly in the conversation at 24 or even have a team before the Jaguars select him and push another player down to the Jaguars.
DB Brian Branch, Alabama
The other defensive back I have my eyes on more closely fits a need for the Jaguars. Branch is a unique player in the sense that while his profile says safety. He played almost exclusively in the slot at Alabama. The Jaguars have a big need to improve at the nickel spot this offseason and Branch would be a perfect fit.
While Ringo is expected to light up the combine, Branch on the other hand isn’t quite that type of athlete — right now. Most experts expect Branch to be off the board by the time the Jaguars are on the clock at 24. If he doesn’t test as well as some of the other players at his position he could slide a few spots and fall into Jacksonville’s lap.
DE Andre Carter II, Army
The next guy on my list is Army’s Carter. At 6 foot 7, he has the length of an edge player that Trent Baalke loves. And coming from a service academy he checks the character box in a big way. Plus, Carter had plenty of production. In 2021, he had a 17-sack season. In 2022, his numbers were down because every team basically doubled and triple-teamed him. The biggest question mark for Carter is his weight. At the Senior Bowl, he weighed in at 252 pounds and he was overpowered at times by some of the bigger offensive linemen. Carter is expected to test extremely well in Indy. If he weighs in a little heavier and shows teams he can add the needed weight, that could help his stock.
TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
The last guy on my list is also the only offensive player on the list. Oregon State tight end Musgrave. He missed most of last season with an injury. While I expect the Jaguars to keep Evan Engram, if for some reason there was a road block, Musgrave is the tight end who could help himself the most at the combine. Musgrave should run one of the faster 40 times at his position. If his numbers are in the low 4.5s or even the 4.4s, his stock will have a big boost. He is a guy who could go late in the first round or be on the board when the Jaguars pick in the second round. A big part of the attraction about him will be how athletic he is and the combine will allow him to showcase all of those skills
Also, watch for the eight local players from News4JAX coverage area who will be on the field at the combine: Stetson Bennett (Pierce County), Chamarri Conner (Trinity Christian), DeMario Douglas (Mandarin/Menendez), Xavier Hutchinson (Bartram Trail), Will Mallory (Providence), DeWayne McBride (Bradford/Fleming Island), Warren McClendon (Brunswick) and Jack Podlesny (Glynn Academy).