2012 NFL Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars' 5 Biggest Needs

Vaughn JohnsonCorrespondent IIJanuary 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars' 5 Biggest Needs

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    Needless to say, the Jacksonville Jaguars need a lot of help.

    The team finished 2011 at 5-11, missed the playoffs for the fourth season in a row, fired its head coach during the season and are now under new ownership.

    How did the Jaguars get into this position you ask? Poor draft picks.

    The Jaguars have become the model of poor drafting outside of the man you see pictured above, Maurice Jones-Drew. (Too soon to call Blaine Gabbert a bust.)

    Year after year, the Jaguars come away with next to nothing from their drafts and it may cost the city of Jacksonville its team.

    In order for the Jaguars to escape mediocrity, the new regime of head coach Mike Mularkey and owner Shahid Khan should look at these five areas in particular when mulling over who to take in April.

Wide Receiver

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    The Jaguars have been in dire need of this for so long it's almost sickening to think that they haven't addressed it sooner.

    The Jaguars could have done just that a couple years ago when Dez Bryant fell right in their laps.

    But the Jaguars selected defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. Now, Bryant has turned out to be a bit of a knucklehead, but at least show your fan base that you're trying.

    Before that, the Jags did select receivers in the draft, but all were busts.

    Does Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Ernest Wilford ring a bell?

    Who in their right mind would think that Blaine Gabbert was going to have any success with Mike Thomas, Mike Sims-Walker (who got cut from the Rams during the season) and Jason Hill (who the Jags cut after the season ended).

    And people wonder why Gabbert had a rough go of things during 2011.

    The problem was none of them had a lot of speed.

    The logical choice is Alshon Jeffrey. If not Jeffrey then Justin Blackmon.

    Either way, something has to be done. Both of these guys have game-breaking potential to take some of the load off Maurice Jones-Drew and help Gabbert just a little bit.

    Expect this with the seventh pick in the first round.

    If not, the Jaguars will be 5-11 again in 2012.

A Rush Defensive End

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    This need goes back even further than the need for a receiver.

    The Jaguars did try to rectify this in 2008 with Derrick Harvey and Quinton Groves, but like many other Jaguars' picks, they did not pan out.

    The lack of a pass rush have made the Jaguars sitting ducks on defense, especially from the edges. The Jags at one time had the best defensive tackles in football with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud but could never could create pressure from the edges.

    Last season, the Jags finished 25th in the NFL in sacks with only 31. In 2010, they finished 30th.

    The ideal choice would be Quinton Coples, who has been very highly touted. But if they take a receiver in the first round, no Coples.  He has no chance of falling into the second round.

    So instead, look for Andre Branch from Clemson if he slips or Billy Wynn out of Boise State.

    Both were good off the edge in college and could bring some help to an area where the Jaguars definitely need it.

Linebacker

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    Picking up Paul Posluszny during the last off season was supposed to be an upgrade, but that did not come to fruition.

    Posluszy's claim to fame, so to speak, was that he led the Bills (a bad team) in tackles the last couple of seasons.

    I guess someone had to lead that team in tackles.

    Clearly he wasn't the answer in Buffalo, and he is not the answer in Jacksonville, which makes him replaceable.

    If the Jags go inside linebacker in the first round, which I doubt, but if they do, I like Luke Kuechly out of Boston College.

    If they go outside linebacker, look for Courtney Upshaw from Alabama.

Cornerback

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    Don't let the numbers fool you. The Jaguars need to upgrade nearly its entire secondary.

    Despite finishing eighth in the NFL in passing yards allowed, the Jaguars were in the middle of the pack as far as interceptions (13th).

    Look at the teams that participated in the AFC/NFC championship games last weekend and you see teams that force turnovers.

    Current starting corners, Morgan Trent and Kevin Rutland, grabbed three interceptions combined.

    To correct this, could be Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield. He's known as good to great man-to-man corner who is good in the bump-and-run.

Safety

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    Like cornerback, the Jaguars are in need of an upgrade here.

    To play devil's advocate, you could attribute the lack of interceptions from the secondary to the lack of a pass rush.

    Either way you slice it, there is definitely a need for change.

    A good choice would be Markelle Martin out of Oklahoma State. If not him, look for the Jags to target South Carolina safety Antonio Allen.