The Jaguars have been miserably bad the past few years, with only Maurice Jones-Drew to be proud of. But they have a new owner and coach going forward, and with them comes new hope.
The Jacksonville "rebirth" starts tonight with the draft, but they will have several options that will dictate where their team will go. Each round presents new opportunities to either take a step toward contention or fall back to their abyssal past.
The Jaguars draft starts soon, so here is just the first three rounds, with the other four to come tomorrow.
Round 1: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
This pick has been argued for a while now due to the fact that a huge playmaker could be available at this pick, and that playmaker is former Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
If both are still on the board, expect to see them take every last second in order to make sure they make the right pick. In the end, though, the big pass-rushing threat will be holding up the Jaguars jersey in the Radio City Music Hall.
The team wanted to sign Mario Williams in free agency, but he never got to leave Buffalo. The Jaguars were horrific on the defense end, and they will need a quick rusher to hurry the new young quarterbacks, Jake Locker and Andrew Luck.
The Jaguars may need someone for Blaine Gabbert to throw to, but they can get a solid player later and get Melvin Ingram to have him terrorize quarterbacks off the edge. Ingram could realistically play defensive end or outside linebacker as well, which gives the Jaguars more versatility and variety in their defensive play-calling.
Jacksonville may be tempted to take the player who will wow the crowd, but the sack machine from South Carolina is their best bet, and will be in green and black this fall.
Round 2: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
After getting a big guy up front on defense, Jacksonville decides to get a man to protect Gabbert rather than fill another need on the defensive line.
Martin's stock was overrated early, but he should be drafted in the early stages of Round 2. The Jaguars need a guy to replace Guy Whimper, who was just terrible for the team last year.
Martin was excellent in the pass game at Stanford, leading, alongside David DeCastro, a Stanford offensive line that was considered in the top five in the nation. And I'll bet that if you ask Andrew Luck, he won't have many bad things to say about a guy who stopped Luck from getting eaten alive by Nick Perry and the rest of the elite pass-rushers in the Pac-12.
He also is a great run-blocker, helping Stepfan Taylor become a legitimate rusher. I'm sure Maurice Jones-Drew will be happy, along with the fans, if the Jaguars can snag this superstar tackle in the second round.
Round 3: Nick Toon, Wisconsin, WR
Toon and Russell Wilson were a connection made in heaven for the Badgers last year. Toon had a signature year, actually scoring more touchdowns and having a better YPC average than consensus first-round pick Michael Floyd, from Notre Dame.
I previously mentioned that the Jaguars would have to get a good receiver later on, and this is where they steal a borderline second-round pick.
The Jaguars already signed Laurent Robinson this offseason to fill a void at receiver, but they need more help. Toon is a good possession receiver who can move the chains. He also could create a great connection with Blaine Gabbert in the OTAs and preseason, and this dynamic duo could bring a pass attack back to Jacksonville.
Make sure to come back tomorrow for Rounds 4-through-7. Stay Tuned!