Circumstances can change quickly in the NFL. Just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars. A year ago, the Jaguars sat at No. 4 in the draft order after a three-win season. This year, they’re scheduled to pick 29th after a 10-win season that ended in the AFC Championship Game, where That’s what happens when you’re able to spend freely in free agency (Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, Malik Jackson, and so on) and hit on some notable draft picks (Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, and so on).
Their draft position might be considerably worse this year, but their situation has improved remarkably. As Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell put it, they suddenly “don’t have a glaring need” anymore.
“[The media has] been around us where we didn’t have guys to line up with at this point of the year,” he said Friday, via The Florida Times-Union. “Our first year here, we had to draft rookies and start them. Now we can take the best player available. We have needs, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t have a glaring need.”
And that means the Jaguars won’t be forced to reach for a player, which is the point executive vice president Tom Coughlin made.
“You’re not going to reach for a player,” Coughlin. “We know some people will drop, but will they drop as [low] as we are?”
As Caldwell said, the Jaguars still have needs, but they’re just not as glaring as they were in year’s past. Though Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, so acquiring a receiver needs to happen at some point during the draft. Linebacker is a need after Paul Posluszny retired. They could use another cornerback after losing slot man Aaron Colvin to free agency. And the offensive line needs better depth., they shouldn’t cross quarterback off their list of needs considering Bortles is still an inconsistent-at-best quarterback. The Jaguars’ receiving corps just got gutted in free agency with the departures of both
So, who will the Jaguars draft? It’s pretty much impossible to predict who they’ll end up taking considering 28 players will be off the board before they’re on the clock, but based on all our mock drafts here at CBSSports.com, the following prospects could be in play:
- Connor Williams, OT, Texas
- Courtland Sutton, WR, Sourthern Methodist
- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma St.
- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
As you can see, receiver was the most popular pick. And that makes sense because if the Jaguars do have a glaring need, it’s definitely receiver. As of Friday, they have nine receivers on the roster. It’s not the most inspiring group of players:
- Donte Moncrief
- Marqise Lee
- Dede Westbrook
- Keelan Cole
- Jaydon Mickens
- Rashad Greene
- Jaelen Strong
- Shane Wynn
- Tevaun Smith
If the Jaguars do take a receiver in the first round, that receiver would likely jump to the top of the depth chart. The problem is that several receiver-needy teams — the Cowboys, Ravens, and Panthers most notably — are positioned ahead of them. As Coughlin alluded to, the Jaguars can’t bank on their guy being there at No. 29.
It’s a weird change for the Jaguars, who picked in the top five from 2012-17 and the top 10 from 2008-17.