Jacksonville Jaguars Draft Review
Team Needs: LB CB OL
Rd 1. 5 Jalen Ramsey CB Florida State
Rd 2. 36 Myles Jack LB UCLA
Rd 3. 69 Yannick Ngakoue DE Maryland
Rd 4. 103 Sheldon Day DT Notre Dame
Rd 6. 181 Tyrone Holmes LB Montana
Rd 6. 201 Brandon Allen QB Arkansas
Rd 7. 226 Jonathan Woodard DE Central Arkansas
Coming into this draft most pundits, and teams, recognized Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack (when healthy) as top 5 selections. For The Jaguars to come away with both must be considered a coup. Additionally, for a team that has never really enjoyed much success, coming off of a year in which their offense showed great promise with a couple of young breakout stars in Allen Robinson and Blake Bortles, this draft could be remembered as the draft that established Jacksonville as a contender for the next decade. Jalen Ramsey the highest rated defensive back on our board, and most others, by a long shot. With a floor that should still make him a very good starting free safety, Ramsey immediately gives Jacksonville a shutdown cornerback that can move about the field tracking the opposing primary target. For him to fall to five overall, past two teams that could have filled a position of need with him, is almost inexplicable. A short trade up in round 2 gave The Jaguars yet another top 5 talent. Even if Jack doesn’t play a down this year he will be a great player in time and brings an enthusiasm to the fanbase immediately. Jacksonville didn’t get a minute from last years first round choice, Dante Fowler, and so they are comfortable with the process of waiting for a talented player to heal from injury. The Jaguars defense could be very difficult come 2017. After filling two of its primary needs with its first two selections Jacksonville took the first of three pass rushers in this draft, clearly choosing to fill this need through competition and depth. Yannick Ngakoue, the first of those three choices, is an athletic guy that is best as a situational pass rusher. Sheldon Day adds some depth to the interior of the defensive line. Day is a limited athlete that gets the most out of his abilities and has the look of a long term rotational player in the NFL. Tyrone Holmes played outside linebacker in college at Montana and will need some time to adjust to the increase in competition. He should find a home as the primary back up to Dante Fowler. Brandon Allen gives the teama developmental quarterback for a few seasons with no real commitment beyond his rookie contract. WIth Blake Bortles firmly in command in Jacksonville until probably 2030 Allen could serve as his primary backup for a few season, or maybe more. Finally, Jonathan Woodard is another small school edge player that has some potential, but more obvious limitations. He might need a year on the practice squad to get ready but if he seizes his opportunities in training camp he could find a home as the team’s 9th defensive lineman to start the season.
The top of the draft couldn’t have gone better for the Jaguars. Ramsey falling to them at 5 overall would have been enough for them to improve this team but Myles Jack in the second is a double shot. The Jaguars suddenly have a very good young corps of players throughout their defense.
When you can’t fill all of your needs with a single player, and the Jaguars probably could have taken that risk, it makes sense to add numbers to a position and let the competition dictate the winner. That’s what Jacksonville did at defensive end. They have three players that can compete for pass rushing opportunities and managed to improve not only the top of their roster with Jack and Ramsey but the bottom of their roster as well.
One hates to be cynical, but the drafting of Allen is something we will be watching in years to come. The Jaguars have a ton of cap room that they aren’t spending and could easily afford to extend a veteran backup like Chad Henne but selecting Allen looks like a move to get younger and cheaper at that position in the future. If the Jaguars can add one more defensive player next year, and stabilize their offensive line, the only thing that might stop them from being dominant for a decade is their own stubborn thriftiness. This could be the first sign of that.