DE, SS, WLB, SLB, WR (depth), CB (depth), DT (depth)
The Jaguars, who missed the playoffs last season, came into this year’s draft with plenty of needs, mostly on defense. However, that’s not the direction the team went with its first three selections.
The Jags wanted to add a young quarterback capable of being the starter, so the Blaine Gabbert pick wasn’t really a surprise. Veteran David Garrard will open the season as the starter, but if the team falls out of the playoff race later in the season, Gabbert could take over.
Gabbert could start Week 1, but it’s not realistic considering he’s missed so much time learning their offense because of the lockout. While Garrard is signed through 2014, the 33-year old signal caller is set to earn $8.475 million for 2012. This year could realistically be his last in Jacksonville.
While the offensive line wasn’t a primary need, the team addressed that area of the offense by drafting Will Rackley, who could play guard or tackle. It’s possible that he eventually takes over for starting left guard Vince Manuwai, who is on the final year of his contract.
The need at wide receiver was addressed in the fourth round with the selection of Cecil Shorts. While the team is penciling him in to compete for the third receiver job initially, the talented rookie could challenge for a starting job as the season progresses. Shorts is known in scouting circles for his intelligence, route running and physical play.
The other fourth-round pick, safety Chris Prosinski, figures to compete for a backup job this season, but has the size and ability to compete for a starting job down the road.
The team failed to add pass-rushing help for the defense, which posted a pathetic 26 sacks last season, so look for them to address that need in free agency. Second-year ends Larry Hart (203 defensive snaps last season) and Austen Lane (308 defensive snaps) are expected to have bigger roles this season.
Two out of the three linebacker jobs are open, but the expectation is that third-year pro Russell Allen, who started four games last season, will compete for a starting job in training camp.