2012 NFL Draft: In a Perfect World the Jacksonville Jaguars Select...
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All this week, I'll be looking at whom AFC South teams would take if everything broke their way.
Teams should always take the best available player, regardless of need, but every once in a while the perfect "need" player is also the best player available. Obviously, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are not going to fall to the back of the first round, so we'll try to focus on players that could realistically land near where each team is drafting.
Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars did not take kindly to my assertion last week that their greatest need was at quarterback. Whether or not Blaine Gabbert will become a viable starter is open for debate, but what isn't in question is the Jaguars' need to improve their passing game.
There is one player particularly coveted by the Jags with the seventh pick, and it's only a question of whether he lasts past St. Louis with the sixth pick. Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon would be an absolute home run for the Jags.
Blackmon is the highest-rated wideout in the 2012 draft by virtually every scouting service. He's fast, has great hands and has been incredibly productive in college. He doesn't possess prototypical size, but there are many elite receivers who don't have massive frames.
Blackmon would help the Jags answer the most important question facing the franchise: Is Blaine Gabbert the long-term answer at quarterback? If Gabbert and Blackmon struggle, the Jaguars will have their answer and be able to move on quickly from their mistake. If the connection blossoms, they will be able to proceed with confidence that they have found their franchise quarterback at last. Either way, Blackmon should be a valuable contributor for years to come.
There are obstacles to Blackmon falling to the Jaguars. With Cleveland determined to make a pick at four, the wide receiver could go before Jacksonville picks. Wideout would be a strange choice for the Browns, as it's already painfully clear that Colt McCoy is not the answer for the team. St. Louis has Washington's pick at six, and while the Rams need help everywhere, adding talent at receiver could obviously help them make a similar decision on Sam Bradford, who struggled mightily in his second year.
Drafting a wideout in the first round can be dangerous, but Blackmon to the Jags is a perfect world match if there ever was one. It's only a question of whether someone else gets to him first.
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