JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - During last week’s pre-draft media luncheon the Jaguars front office revealed that they don’t feel they have any glaring needs heading into Thursday’s NFL Draft. According to general manager Dave Caldwell, the team was able to fill most of their holes during free agency.
For the first time in a long time, Jacksonville is truly in a place where they can selected the best player available. In no specific order, let’s take a look at five positions the Jaguars could target during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Please note: The players identified below as Potential Targets are based on who could be available at or around the Jaguars' No. 29 overall pick in the first round.
Wide Receiver: Two years ago, the argument could’ve been made that Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns were among the top duos of receivers in the NFL. Due to injuries and production neither player is still in Jacksonville. Donte Moncrief was added in free agency and he’s expected to compete for a starting position along with Marqise Lee. Second-year receivers Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are also in the mix, but none of the four is considered a true No. 1 receiver. Whether it’s at pick No. 29 or later in the draft, expect Jacksonville to add a pass catcher who they feel has tremendous upside.
Potential Targets: D.J. Moore – Maryland, Calvin Ridley – Alabama, Courtland Sutton - SMU
Tight End: Speaking of upside, that's what the Jaguars had in mind when they signed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he has the physical presence to be a blocker but also caught 50 passes for the New York Jets last season. Jacksonville could target a tight end that provides a vertical threat in the passing game. That’s something quarterback Blake Bortles hasn’t had out of the tight end position since he got to Jacksonville.
Potential Targets: Hayden Hurst – South Carolina, Mark Andrews – Oklahoma, Mike Gesicki – Penn State
Offensive line: After drafting Cam Robinson last year and adding Andrew Norwell in free agency, the Jaguars are set on the left side. They also feel great about Brandon Linder at center. Last week, Doug Marrone said if they had to play in a game today he was happy with the roster. Currently A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell are penciled in to start at right guard and right tackle. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jaguars add an offensive lineman or two to create competition for a couple of the starting spots.
Potential Targets: Isaiah Wynn – Georgia, Billy Price – Ohio State, James Daniels - Iowa
Linebacker: Several mock drafts have the Jaguars selecting a linebacker early in the draft. There’s no question that Paul Posluszny will be missed, however there are several reasons why middle linebacker may not be as big of a need as outsiders perceive.For instance, the Jaguars could move Myles Jack to middle linebacker. Also, Jacksonville spends a lot of their defensive snaps in the nickel package and it’s hard to imagine a rookie coming in and unseating Jack or Telvin Smith.
Potential Targets: Vander Esch – Boise State, Rashaan Evans – Alabama, Darius Leonard – South Carolina State
Quarterback: Earlier this off-season, Jacksonville signed Blake Bortles to an extension. However the Jaguars aren’t tied to Bortles long term because of the way the deal was structured. At the moment, former Cleveland Brown Cody Kessler is Bortles’ back up. This is a tricky one. It would be a surprise to see Jacksonville take a quarterback at pick No. 29. But at some point of the draft they’re likely to select one.
Potential Targets: Lamar Jackson – Louisville, Mason Rudolph – Oklahoma State, Luke Falk – Washington State
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