The Jacksonville Jaguars addressed many of their glaring needs with their selections in the 2014 draft. Ken Hornack takes a look at each one of the team's picks.
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Blake Bortles, QB, UCF, first round (No. 3 overall)
The Jaguars elected not to address immediate concerns at other positions in the first round by taking someone they are convinced will be their quarterback for years to come, most likely beginning in 2015. Bortles arrived at UCF with modest expectations but blossomed into an accurate passer capable of producing in the clutch, as shown by the Knights' 7-1 record in games decided by seven points or fewer. With only two years as a starter, he needs time to refine his technique under offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.
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Marqise Lee, WR, USC, second round (No. 39 overall)
Justin Blackmon's substance abuse problems have left his status for next season very much in doubt, while Cecil Shorts III and Ace Sanders weren't much in the way of deep threats in 2013. If Lee is healed from his knee and shin injuries that slowed him as a junior, the Jaguars might have come up with a steal. He can run past tacklers and is outstanding for someone his size at catching passes over the middle, although he does not break many tackles. Like Sanders, he doubles as a kick returner.
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Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State, second round (No. 61 overall)
The leading receiver in the Big Ten the past two seasons, Robinson has the size (6-2, 220 pounds) the Jaguars have lacked at the position. His leaping ability and arm length makes up for a lack of top-end speed. He set school records last year for receptions (97) and yards (1,432) while playing with a true freshman at quarterback (Christian Hackenberg). The Jaguars traded two picks in later rounds to the San Francisco 49ers to move up and select Robinson.
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Brandon Linder, G, Miami, third round (No. 93 overall)
One of the many players who coach Gus Bradley and his staff got to know at the Senior Bowl in January, Linder could be the leading candidate to start at right guard in the wake of the release of Uche Nwaneri. He was used at right guard and right guard last season for the Hurricanes and even played some center as a freshman. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound native of the Fort Lauderdale area helped St. Thomas Aquinas to a 28-1 record in his last two years there and a Class 5A state title in 2008.
Projected as an early second-rounder at the beginning of 2014, Colvin tore his right ACL the Tuesday before the Senior Bowl and will probably be on the Jaguars' physically unable to perform list to start next season. At a shade under 6-foot and 186 pounds, he's a physical cornerback similar to 2013 third-round pick Dwayne Gratz but with shorter arms. He began running again two weeks ago and expects to soon be able to make moves involving cutting.
Smith started at both weak side linebacker and middle linebacker during the Seminoles' march to the national championship. Although some teams could view him as a potential strong safety, the Jaguars are likely to see him as a contributor on special teams who will also back up either Geno Hayes or Dekoda Watson, two other FSU products. Smith was among the draft prospects who had either a positive drug test or a diluted sample at the NFL scouting combine in February.
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Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas, fifth round (No. 159 overall)
With the pick they acquired last October from the Baltimore Ravens for tackle Eugene Monroe, the Jaguars selected one of the Southeastern Conference's top pass rushers the past two years. At 6-1 and 266 pounds, Smith isn't exactly built like No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. But he's instinctive and a hard worker who could be used at outside linebacker and even line up inside if the situation requires. His 37-inch vertical jump was fourth among all defensive linemen at the combine.
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Luke Bowanko, C, Virginia, sixth round (No. 205 overall)
This was the pick the Jaguars got from San Francisco for Blaine Gabbert. Bowanko, a three-year starter and a fifth-year senior, will compete with three-year pro Mike Brewster for the opening caused by the retirement of Brad Meester. Bowanko has played both center and guard, like Brewster, but is more natural at center. He was a college teammate of Morgan Moses, a third-round pick by the Washington Redskins, and Jaguars offensive lineman Austin Pasztor.
After transferring from Miami, Johnson was teammates for two years with Blake Bortles and played a key role in the Knights' 12-1 season last fall. Johnson is similar in build (6-0, 216 pounds) and running style to Toby Gerhart, the free agent signed by the Jaguars to replace Maurice Jones-Drew. But he's not particularly speedy or adept at picking up blitzers, and he has a tendency to fumble. He finished his career by rushing for 124 yards and three touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl.