History shows that cornerbacks and offensive tackles rarely get chosen with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft.
And it could well be that when Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said he has narrowed his choices to two possibilities, he didn’t have either of those positions in mind.
But with the absence of hot prospects at the glamour positions of quarterback, running back and wide receiver, this could be the year where that trend is bucked. The Kansas City Chiefs, who are slotted to choose ahead of the Jaguars, are looking more and more like they’re going to take 6-foot-6, 306-pound tackle Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.
Even if Joeckel is unavailable, the Jaguars will be looking at some point to shore up an area that, aside from 2009 first-rounder Eugene Monroe, is a prime concern. And given the fondness expressed by coach Gus Bradley for big, physical cornerbacks, it’s clear the revamping there will not be limited to the signing of free agent Alan Ball.
The Jaguars struck it rich in 1995 by drafting Tony Boselli. But the only other two offensive tackles taken at No. 2 since then were, to put it mildly, far less successful. Robert Gallery wound up being moved from tackle to guard by the Oakland Raiders, who selected him in the 2004 draft, and retired last spring after eight nondescript years. Jason Smith was even more of a disappointment, with the St. Louis Rams unloading him after only three years upon realizing he couldn’t handle the responsibilities of left tackle at the NFL level.
The only defensive back to go second in the past 30 years wasn’t even a cornerback. It was safety Eric Turner, who was picked by the Cleveland Browns in 1991.
Still, there are numerous enticing options Thursday night should the Jaguars stay at No. 2, trade down in the first round, or wait until the first pick of the second round.
Eric Fisher, Central Michigan — Agile and a strong pass protector, he has been mentioned in more than one mock draft as the player the Jaguars will select. About the only concern is his tendency to get off-balance against quicker opponents.
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma — A quarterback in high school and a tight end at the beginning of his college career, his athleticism enabled him to make the transition to tackle. He uses his hands and length well and often plays with an attitude.
D.J. Fluker, Alabama — Not as highly regarded an offensive lineman as college teammate Chance Warmack but a good bet to go in the first round nonetheless. At 339 pounds, he can create running lanes and has improved his technique against bull-rushes.
Menelik Watson, Florida State — A native of Manchester, England, who came to the Seminoles after a junior college career, he’ll be 25 by the time his rookie season starts. Concerns about his tendency to get overly grabby could make him available in the second round or later.
Dee Milliner, Alabama — Far and away the top prospect at this position, he is expected to go no later than sixth overall to the Browns. He was timed at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the draft combine and has the size (6 feet, 201 pounds) and skills Bradley craves.
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State — A raw prospect who has been widely projected to go to the Miami Dolphins at No. 12. Cornerbacks who thrive in physical press coverage coming out of college seldom come along, so the Jaguars’ interest in him is understandable. Outstanding vertical jump.
Desmond Trufant, Washington — The younger brother of Seattle’s Marcus Trufant is comparable in speed to Milliner, but questions about his strength and mental lapses in coverage make him at best a late first-rounder. A first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior.
D.J Hayden, Houston — He might be the most intriguing player in the entire draft because of a freak injury he suffered in practice last November that tore a large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body back up to the heart. Has excellent quickness but only average size and strength.
Jamar Taylor, Boise State — His stock went up at the Senior Bowl and combine, but perhaps not enough to sneak him into the first round. He would become the sixth defensive back from that school to be drafted in the last eight years.