The NFL Draft is quickly approaching! The IDP department is breaking down each team post-free agency and what they should look to address in the draft.
They have one of the best defensive units in the league. They have quality starters at all positions and some very good quality depth backing them up. A nice mix of veterans and youth should allow them to stay near the top the rankings. If they continue to hit in the draft, they should keep this going. When you’re this stacked, you should be drafting to be proactive, in case of injuries or free agent casualties. This, in my opinion, is the situation you always want to be in, proactive not reactive.
This group is a strong one and is led by superstar Calais Campbell[/profiler]. He came over from the Arizona Cardinals via free agency and in his first season as a Jaguar, all he did was set a career high in sacks (14½), after recording eight straight seasons of 5-10 sacks. At age 31, the veteran has shown no signs of slowing down yet. His bookend mate on other side is the third-year end [profiler]Yannick Ngakoue, who is an elite pass rusher as well. After recording eight sacks as a rookie, he followed that up with twelve in year two. He and Campbell harass opposing QBs. Behind these two, they have a couple of incredibly talented young studs, who they are grooming for the future. First is Dante Fowler, who sat out his entire rookie season with an injury, but has developed into a very nice backup and situational pass rusher. He had eight sacks a year ago and has twelve for his career. Next up is Dawuane Smoot who they drafted from Illinois in last years draft. Smoot is another highly touted college sack artist and helps the Jags with some elite depth.
For as good as Jacksonville’s defensive end group is, their defensive tackles are equally impressive. This group is led by Malik Jackson, who arrived a couple of seasons ago from Denver, via free agency. One of the best interior pass rushers (career-best eight sacks in 17’) in the league and is another reason the Jags, earned the name Sacksonville. Lining up next to him is newly acquired Marcell Dareus, who came over mid-season after he was traded by Bills. It seems that the rich were getting richer here. Dareus himself provides a solid pass rush from the interior and is a big run stopper. Backing up these two are veteran Abry Jones, who graded out as a top run stopper and Eli Ankou from UCLA who is still developing.
Another strong group, but did take a hit when veteran Paul Posluszny retired back in back in March. A tackling machine throughout his career and his 1,213 career stops will be hard to replace. Myles Jack, who played the SLB spot last year could be a candidate to replace Posluszny. It depends on how the coaches feel about Jack’s play on the strong side. Either way, he will be a big piece for this group and will look to improve on his ninety tackle season from a year ago. Another option at the MLB spot could be Blair Brown, who they drafted last season from Ohio. He’s still developing, but with all the talent surrounding him, it might not be that big of an issue. At the WLB position, is Telvin Smith, who was a playmaker for the Jags defense. He recorded over 100 tackles last season and will be heavily counted on to lead this group moving forward. There is isn’t a lot of quality depth behind these guys, so this need should be addressed.
The Jags have two of the top corners in the league. They are aggressive and confident, which is a deadly combination for opposing offenses. First is, Jalen Ramsey who is quickly becoming one of the league’s elite corners. There isn’t much he can’t do, and the scary thing is he knows it. Despite locking down his side of the field, he still gets his fair share of plays to make. Next is A.J. Bouye, who is as good as Ramsey. Bouye set a career high with six interceptions and will continue to get those opportunities as long as teams avoid Ramsey’s side of the field. Behind these two, the quality of the depth falls off a cliff. They lost slot corner Aaron Colvin in free agency, which was a blow to this team and replaced him with, D.J. Hayden who comes over from the Lions. Just like with LB’s, they have very good starters, but the backups are in dire need of upgrading.
The weakest of all the defensive units, but they are effective. At free safety they have Tashaun Gipson, who came over from Browns a couple of seasons ago. He patrols the deep middle like a centerfielder and has 19 career picks. Lining up next to him is Barry Church, who is the enforcer, but recorded a career-best four picks himself, last season. The backups for these two are Cody Davis formerly of the Rams and veteran Don Carey, who comes over from the Lions. They could use better backups here.
Draft Needs – LB, S, & CB
The Jaguars are pretty well set for starters across the board. They could use a starting LB to replace the recently retired Posluszny. That would be the only starting position that I would look to fill immediately. After that, they need to improve the quality of their depth in the secondary the most and then LB. Their front line is pretty stacked from top to bottom, and unless someone falls right into their lap, they should be fine there.
Round 1· Pick 29 (29)
Round 2· Pick 29 (61)
Round 3· Pick 29 (93)
Round 4· Pick 29 (129)
Round 6· Pick 29 (203)
Round 7· Pick 12 (230) from Cincinnati
Round 7· Pick 29 (247)
Depending on what the Jaguars do with these picks offensively will be the issue to how they draft on defense. I would assume that WR and TE will be at the top of the list. But that’s not what we’re focusing on here. We want to look at it from a defensive point of view. Here’s what I think could be some options for them in the draft.
They are picking at the back end of first round (29), and a good pick for them here would be Rashaan Evans from Alabama. He’s an OLB, but made the move inside last season and did fairly well in that transition, and he’s only going to get better. He would also give the Jags some flexibility as well. They could move Jack inside and leave Evans outside or visa versa. If Evans falls to them here, they should turn the ticket in for him.
In the 2nd round, they could target some safety help like Armani Watts from Texas A&M. Watts plays with a smooth fluid style and relies on his instincts. Very athletic player and would be a great addition to this secondary.
With their 3rd round pick, they could take the BPA approach and try to build quality depth. Or they could look at a player like ILB Tegray Scales if he were available. A very instinctive player who racks up a lot of tackles. Very comparable to what Posluszny did for them.
In the later rounds (4-7) there will be many good players that should be available that can help their team overall. The main thing they need to focus on is improving the quality of their depth. If they can do that and make the right picks, they could have a dominating defense for quite some time.
For more in-depth analysis of these players, you can get the 2018 Rookie Roundup for FREE and read up on the IDP relevant draft prospects.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for your favorite team broken down IDP style. Follow me @DFF_DWIN and let me know who you would want the Jaguars or your team to draft this year!
Liked this? Check out the breakdown of the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.