A complete seven-round 2017 NFL Mock Draft for the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2016 NFL season with a ton of expectations. They showed a lot of promise in 2015, despite their 5-11 record. Also, they added a ton of players to the mix who figured to make immediate contributions in 2016. While rookies like cornerback Jalen Ramsey and edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue have been great, talented second-round linebacker Myles Jack and 2015 third-overall selection defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. have been disappointing.
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On top of that, defensive lineman Malik Jackson who was brought in as a major free agent addition, has not had much of an impact. They have a ton of defensive talent, but the group as a whole has not come together well. Also, quarterback Blake Bortles looks awful and is single-handedly holding back their offensive unit.
The Jaguars are a talented team, but these players are not producing a lot of wins.
As we sit 10 games into the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are an extremely disappointing 2-8 on the season. They are far and away the worst team in an ugly AFC South and there are a ton of questions about this team going forward.
Unless the Jaguars completely turn their season around and improbably run off six wins to close out the regular season, their 2016 campaign has been a profound disappointment. That being said, they should be in a great position to add more young, impact talent to the mix in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Without further ado, let’s go seven rounds with the Jacksonville Jaguars in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
Sep 10, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Lineman, Alabama
After dynamic pass rusher Myles Garrett and a pair of quarterbacks went with the first three picks, the Jacksonville Jaguars had their choice of the next best defensive prospects with the fourth-overall pick.
There was a bit of consideration for an uber-talented safety prospect like Jabrill Peppers or Jamal Adams and edge rusher Tim Williams was also on my mind. That being said, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen seemed like the most logical selection.
While defensive line is not a major need for the Jaguars, this is a perfect situation of selecting the best player available. Allen is an extremely talented and versatile defensive lineman who does not have any real weaknesses up front.
Allen is incredibly quick and explosive off of the snap and has ridiculous hands as both a pass rusher and against the run. He has a well-rounded skill-set that will translate extremely well to the next level. Allen is a bit of a tweener, but in today’s game of football, that is not a bad thing. Alabama does a great job of allowing Allen to dominate as a power defensive end on early downs, while he kicks inside as an impact interior rusher on passing downs.
This guy is a complete football player who would immediately make the Jaguars a much better defensive squad. An impact pass rusher who can also dominate against the run, Allen is the logical choice here. Plus, he has the raw talent and athleticism to make incredible plays like this:
Sep 24, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Duke Blue Devils at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback, Notre Dame
Now this would be an interesting situation. The Jaguars made Blake Bortles their franchise quarterback when they selected him with the third-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Bortles showed some nice ability as a second-year quarterback in 2015.
That being said, his 2016 has been an absolute disaster. Through 10 games, Bortles has completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,623 yards, 18 touchdowns and a league-leading 13 interceptions. He will put up some gaudy numbers at times, but a huge majority of them come late in the game with the Jaguars well behind. Bortles simply does not appear to be a high-level starting NFL quarterback. The Jaguars are unlikely to take the next step with him under center.
Early in the second round, a potential replacement for Bortles falls right into their lap. DeShone Kizer is a redshirt sophomore prospect who has a ton of room to grow before he can lead an NFL team. That being said, he is an extremely talented player who could make all of Jacksonville forget that Bortles existed.
At 6-4, Kizer has ideal build for the quarterback position. He has all of the arm talent that you could possibly need, showing the ability to make any throw on a football field. On top of that, Kizer is an athletic quarterback who is not afraid to make plays with his legs, shows fantastic poise in the pocket and great touch on his passes. Kizer does show pin-point accuracy at times, but he needs to become more consistent in that department.
“What really stands out to me is the mental makeup and toughness of Kizer in comparison to McNair,” Zierlein said. “McNair was extremely difficult to rattle and Kizer appears to operate with that same confidence and calm. While McNair could beat teams with his legs, he looked to win from the pocket and I believe Kizer has that same trait.”
Kizer is far from a perfect quarterback at the moment, but he has ridiculous upside at the next level. If he enters the draft, a first round selection is likely. That being said, if he somehow slips to the second round like he did in this mock draft, the Jaguars should make him their priority.
Selecting Kizer here immediately puts Bortles on notice. The Notre Dame quarterback needs a year or two to develop on the bench so Bortles would not immediately lose his starting job. That being said, this selection would mean that his future with the organization would be far from guaranteed.
Perhaps a little competition would be best for both players.
Nov 19, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Budda Baker (32) sacks Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Manny Wilkins (5) during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Back, Washington
After stealing Kizer in the second round, the Jaguars get back to defense here early in the third. Jacksonville has a ton of talent in the secondary, but landing Budda Baker here is simply too great of a value to pass up.
Baker is an extremely quick, athletic and productive defensive back who shows incredible natural coverage skills. He is arguably the best coverage safety in this draft class and landing him in the third-round would be an absolute steal. The Washington product shows ridiculous range at the free safety position. He is a great last line of defense, showing an innate ability to handle the “centerfield” role in a defensive backfield.
He can not only put himself in position to make a play, Baker does an incredible job of actually making a play on the ball. His ball skills are off the charts for a defensive player. While he is an incredible coverage safety who can help shut down the deep passing game, he is also a reliable tackler. For a guy who is typically the last line of defense, being able to make a tackle on the ball carrier is an extremely underrated trait.
Listed at 5-10, 192 pounds, some scouts will take issue to Baker’s lack of size. That being said, his athleticism and coverage ability undoubtedly plays at the next level. We have seen many under-sized safeties have success in the NFL in recent years and I see Baker being a similar case.
In an NFL where the passing game is key, nothing is more important for a defensive back than being able to succeed in coverage. His lack of size may not seem ideal, but he does everything well at the free safety position. Baker is a player who you can stick as your deep safety on day one and reap the benefits going forward.
After landing the incredibly talented Jonathan Allen in the first round, the Jacksonville Jaguars go back to the Alabama defensive line here back in the fourth. While he is not as proven as his Alabama teammate, Da’Shawn Hand has the raw talent and ability to be a force at the next level.
While his numbers do not jump off of the page, Hand has been a solid contributor for the Crimson Tide for the last three seasons. He really started to come on late last season, forcing consistent pressure against the passer both against Michigan State and Clemson in the National Champioship game. In that title game against Clemson, Hand was a consistent force off of the edge, finishing with two big tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Hand entered the Alabama football program to much fan-fare. In fact, he was considered the top overall prospect in the 2014 recruiting class, according to Rivals.com. While Hand has been stuck as a rotational player at Alabama, he was considered to be better than Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and Leonard Fournette coming out of high school.
While Hand has not become a dominant force at Alabama, that upside is still there. He is now listed at 6-4, 280 pounds and he still shows that special burst off of the edge. His athleticism is still incredibly impressive and Hand has shown great versatility on the defensive line at Alabama. He is far from a perfect prospect who is guaranteed to come in and dominate at the next level, but Hand undoubtedly has a ton of upside.
Sep 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Marquez White (27) against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half at Camping World Stadium. Florida State Seminoles defeated the Mississippi Rebels 45-34. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback, Florida State
The Jaguars really seem to have landed a star at the cornerback position in Jalen Ramsey. The 2016 fifth-overall pick is already turning into a shut-down option at the position. Here in the fifth round, the Jags find a former teammate of Ramsey’s who could certainly make an impact in the defensive backfield.
Marquez White is an interesting cornerback prospect. He is not an athletic marvel like Ramsey, but he is a talented player who simply shows up and does his job. The 6-1, 184-pound White shows great length for the position and shows a willingness to press wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.
His natural coverage skills are top-notch, as White always seems to be in great position to make a play on the ball. He shows nice quickness and solid speed on the field, but he is never going to be a guy who stands out in a workout performance.
White is simply a good football player who always puts himself in a position to succeed. Cornerback is not a huge position of need for the Jaguars, but in today’s NFL where the passing game is king, you can never have too many guys who can defend receivers on the outside. White is not the second-coming of Jalen Ramsey, but he would have a chance to make a significant impact for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In a perfect world, the Jaguars would have found an offensive tackle much sooner than the sixth round. Their starting combination of Jermy Parnell and Kelvin Beachum is not doing anyone any favors—and Luke Joeckel continues to be a bust. There is probably not a bigger need on the Jaguars’ roster than offensive tackle. That being said, this draft class is not exactly loaded at the position.
Instead of reaching for a positional need earlier in the draft, I waited until the offensive tackle value came to me. In such a weak class at the position, that did not come until the sixth round, in the shape of Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton.
Moton is an extremely strong and powerful offensive tackle who is the best player on a dominant Western Michigan offensive line. Playing right tackle for the Broncos, Moton has helped pace one of the best rushing attacks in all of college football.
He is an absolutely dominant run blocking tackle, who will physically man-handle his opponents with regularity. See for yourself:
His power in the run game is top-notch and he shows the quickness to reach the second level with consistency. Moton does have some technique issues in pass protection that need cleaned up, but he has the natural athleticism that gives him a ton of upside in protecting the quarterback.
Moton is undoubtedly a major steal here in the sixth round. He is an NFL ready prospect who has some pretty impressive upside at the next level. The Broncos big man will enter the league as a guy who can come in and start at right tackle.
Dec 24, 2015; Honolulu, HI, USA; As San Diego State Aztecs defensive lineman Alex Barrett (58) is blocked by Cincinnati Bearcats offensive lineman Deyshawn Bond (59) as Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore (8) attempts a pass during the second quarter in the 2015 Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports
After absolutely stealing Moton in the sixth round, the Jaguars go back to the offensive line in the seventh. These seventh-round selections are far from guaranteed to make an impact on the team that drafts them, but Deyshawn Bond is a solid college player who should translate well.
Bond has been the starting center for the Cincinnati Bearcats for the last four years. He has been an incredibly productive and reliable offensive lineman for one of the best offenses in all of college football in recent years. Bond simply shows up and does his job each and every week. He is not a physically imposing or overly athletic offensive lineman, but he consistently puts himself in a position to succeed.
On top of that, Bond shows fantastic leadership skills and has made all of the calls up front for Cincinnati for many years. Bond was named a second-team All-American Athletic Conference selection in 2015 and is likely to be the first-team selection in 2016.
Also, Bond has been on the watch list for the Rimington Award in both 2015 and 2016. He has a great chance to be finalist this season.
A strong and reliable player whose skills should translate well to the next level. Bond is a great value selection here in the seventh round for the Jaguars, and would be a worthy competitor to Brandon Linder at the starting center position.