2012 NFL Draft 1st-Round Odds: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars moved back up into the Top 10 last year and shanked the pick (at least it appears so at this juncture) by selecting Blaine Gabbert. Now they are back in the Top 10 naturally with the No. 7 overall pick.
In many ways, this pick represents the off ramp from any sort of consensus, although the Rams' No. 6 pick is also more uncertain than a quick glance at mock drafts would have you believe. What is going to happen when the Jaguars are on the clock?
50% - Trade Down - I hate to project a trade down so highly, but GM Gene Smith has indicated that he will "entertain" the possibility. A closer examination reveals that there really is no clear-cut "best player available" at No. 7, even if Justin Blackmon gets out of the top six picks.
The inflated asking price for moving down set by the Redskins-Rams deal and the short clock in the first round could hinder deal-making, but if I were Smith I would at least try to convince Miami that the pick is going to the highest bidder.
He could probably get a third- or fourth-round pick to move down one spot and still get the exact same player he would get at No. 8 since the Dolphins are seemingly set on QB Ryan Tannehill, who the Jags won't take despite Gabbert's horrid rookie campaign.
Maybe I am overestimating the trade-down odds, but the board is so flat in the mid-first that Smith could afford to take less than market value for a trade down. Jags fans should hope that he recognizes this. The lengthy list of candidates and no clear favorite if the Jags stay home at No. 7 reflects that a trade down is the best possibility for Jacksonville.
10% - Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox - Yes, the Jaguars just took a defensive tackle in the Top 10 two years ago (Tyson Alualu), but that could be interpreted as a strong indication of Gene Smith's valuation of the position. Add in current starting NT Terrance Knighton's eye surgery and free-agent status next year to create potential need at the position, and Smith could turn to a defensive tackle as a best player available yet again. It's not a stretch to see Cox as being able to line up at end in some situations, and he's the No. 5 player on my board.
7.5% - South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram - You can make a value-based argument for Ingram as the No. 7 overall player on the board because of his versatility, and you can certainly make an argument for Ingram as a good need-based pick for the Jaguars because of their weakness at DE. If they can't make a trade, this should be the pick, although they might give in to the larger need at WR.
7.5% - Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd - Character questions could eliminate him from consideration, but Floyd is actually a better fit than Blackmon for what the Jags offense is lacking. The latest draft buzz certainly puts him in play in the Top 10.
7.5% - Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw - Upshaw is a better pure DE than Ingram, but he's also not really that exciting as a pass-rusher. Still, he is a high-floor pick, which fits Gene Smith to a tee, and he addresses the team's greatest need on defense.
7.5% - Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon - I do think the chances of Blackmon still being there at No. 7 have been underestimated, but I also don't see him as a Gene Smith kind of pick. Blackmon isn't the game-changing No. 1 this offense needs. Conventional wisdom would dictate that he's the pick if he's there and the Jags don't trade down, but I see him as one of a pack of many possible picks.
5% - Stanford OG David DeCastro - DeCastro is another high-floor, high-character player (which should appeal to Smith), and while he isn't an obvious fit at RT, which would be the weak link on the Jags offensive line, he projects well enough there to justify a BPA pick.
2.5% - South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore - Surely a longshot, but he would be the best CB available, which is a position of potential long-term need for the Jags. His potential could justify a pick here.
2.5% - North Carolina DE Quinton Coples - Perhaps the best fit in terms of style of play and need at DE, Coples' effort issues and bad combine buzz make him the type of player that Gene Smith is likely to pass on.
Note: Thanks to @alfiebcc and @calforniajag for their consultation.
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