Five positions the Jaguars should target in the 2015 NFL Draft
The Jaguars were in the hunt for DeMarco Murray but weren’t able to land him. Jacksonville did claim former Baltimore back Bernard Pierce, but he largely failed to distinguish himself during his time with the Ravens and arrives with off-field baggage. Whether he sticks remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s a deep draft at running back and the Jaguars should be in the market for a workhorse back to go along with Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson. If either of the top two backs in the draft, Georgia's Todd Gurley or Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, are available at the top of the second round, they would warrant serious consideration. Otherwise, there will be plenty of value to be found in the later rounds.
Getty ImagesJohn Grieshop
Demetrius McCray will start at one spot, and Dwyane Gratz will battle with newly signed Davon House to be the other starter, but this group is still relatively unproven. The fact that Gratz was benched for a time last season indicates the team isn't completely sold on him. Now more than ever, the NFL is passing league. When you’re facing Andrew Luck twice a season, it’s imperative to have quality corners. Until the Jaguars can confidently say they have them, they need to keep adding talent to the mix. Look for the Jags to add a player at the position in the mid-to-later rounds of the draft.
Getty ImagesLeon Halip
Safety play is a key component in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme. The Jags added Sergio Brown from division rival Indianapolis, but he mostly played a reserve role with the Colts. It’s unknown if he’s capable of holding down the starting job opposite Johnathan Cyprien. Unfortunately, this isn’t a particularly strong draft for safeties, but Jacksonville still should address the position. Later-round options include Fresno State’s Derron Smith and Louisville’s Gerod Holliman.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY SportsPat Lovell
Left guard Zane Beadles, a free-agent acquisition in 2014, underperformed last season. The Jaguars gave up 71 sacks; that's a lot. Protecting the team's investment in quarterback Blake Bortles is at a premium. Jacksonville already strengthened the line by signing Jermey Parnell to play right tackle, but look for them to draft another interior lineman to push Beadles for playing time. 2014 sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko was pressed into action early last season, and although the team has high hopes, he has yet to prove he’s a capable starter the NFL over the long haul. Someone like Florida State G/C Cameron Erving would be a smart pick at the top of the second round if he's still on the board.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsJake Roth
Defensive end/outside linebacker
The Jaguars desperately need someone to rush the passer. Fortunately for Jacksonville, they’ll be picking third overall and will have plenty of talented players to choose from. Unless someone entices GM Dave Caldwell to trade out of the spot, look for the Jaguars to choose Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. with the pick. Missouri’s Shane Ray and Clemson's Vic Beasley warrant consideration as well. Nebraska’s Randy Gregory would have been in the mix as well, but news he reportedly failed a drug test at the scouting combine will like cause his stock to drop.