We're now less than two months away from the 2012 NFL Draft and our Jacksonville Jaguars are picking at an intriguing spot at No. 7. Now, I'm sure you all have thought of all kinds of scenarios where the Jags trade up or trade down, but for the sake of this article, let's say they stay at No. 7 and take a look at which players could be wearing teal and black soon.
It seems all but inevitable that the Jaguars continue their search for an elite pass-rusher, so it's obvious that Quinton Coples is definitely on their radar. He is a physical freak standing at 6'6" and weighing just over 280 pounds. In college, he caused havoc in the backfield whenever he wanted. Now, the big issue with Coples is the last part of that sentence: "whenever he wanted."
The big knock on the top-ranked defensive end is his effort and his work ethic, as many scouts have accused him of taking plays off in the past. A prospect with a poor work ethic is someone GM Gene Smith usually will stay away from on draft day, but Coples' physical talent may be too hard for him to pass up.
Keeping the same theme as the last slide, we'll switch Carolinas and go to possibly the best pure pass-rusher in the draft in Melvin Ingram. Although he is smaller than Coples (a shade under 6'2", 264 pounds), it's safe to say he has more than enough explosiveness off the edge to become one of the best pass-rushers in the game.
From the reports I have seen, Ingram also shined during the media portion of the NFL Combine, and a few teams seemed to really grow fond of him. Ingram is very versatile, but after his combine performance many scouts are thinking he will be a better fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker and will get taken by a team who runs that defensive scheme.
With that said, I wouldn't count out the Jaguars picking him at No. 7 because, as we've seen, they aren't afraid to shake things up a bit.
Now, to turn the page and get away from defensive ends for the moment, a prospect on every Jaguars fan's radar is Justin Blackmon. There is no doubt that wide receiver is the biggest need for the Jags and we'd love to have him. The main concern with this potential selection is, will he last to No. 7 and even give them an opportunity to pick him?
Call me optimistic, but I'm starting to believe he can. At the combine, he measured in a little shorter than expected and did not run or lift, so it's possible that his draft stock could have taken a slight hit. He was projected by many to go No. 2 to the St. Louis Rams, but with a trade of that pick guaranteed to happen, it could give the Jaguars an opportunity to get their No. 1 receiver.
Although corner is not as much of a need as positions like defensive end and wide receiver, Morris Claiborne would be an amazing fit on the Jaguars' defense. He is very good in coverage, has even better ball skills and could add a little explosiveness to an already stout defense.
The Jaguars' defense finished in the top 10 in total yards allowed last season, but they lacked that special player who could force a big turnover at any time.
Claiborne would be that guy, but the same question that applies to Justin Blackmon also applies to him. This time, I'm not as optimistic, as I think he'll land at No. 5 to Tampa Bay. But if all the cards fall a certain way, it's not impossible for him to be there when Jacksonville is on the clock.
Previously, I addressed the glaring need for wide receiver stating the case that Justin Blackmon could fall to us at seven. But if he isn't there, and let's say Coples and Claiborne also are off the board, Michael Floyd could be the Jaguars' fallback option.
He performed very well at the combine and ran faster than most scouts expected (4.47 in his 40-yard dash). He also measured in at 6'3" and weighs around 220 pounds, giving Blaine Gabbert a big target to throw to on the outside.
There have been many questions about Floyd's character as he's had multiple issues with alcohol while at Notre Dame. But he's made it clear that he has grown from them and is ready to focus squarely on football.
Taking Floyd could be a little bit of a reach for the Jaguars at seven and Blackmon is more than likely the safer receiver. In my opinion, though, Floyd has a higher ceiling than Blackmon, and it's clear that Gene Smith isn't afraid to reach for the player he wants.
Well, now I have said my piece. Thanks to all of the Jaguars fans who read this, and I strongly encourage you to comment with your opinions and your possible draft scenarios for the Jags, as there is much to talk about prior to the NFL draft.