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Jacksonville Jaguars: Looking to the 2013 NFL Draft

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Jacksonville Jaguars: Looking to the 2013 NFL Draft
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
USC QB Matt Barkley

At the halfway point of the 2012 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars sit alone at the bottom of the AFC South and are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the worst record in the NFL at 1-7.

With eight games remaining, the talk of playoff hopes are all but gone, and now this team looks ahead at very important questions facing the future of the franchise.

General Manager Gene Smith is likely to be released of his duties at the end of the year, and that will have a drastic effect on what the Jaguars do heading into the offseason.

Without getting too far ahead of myself, it is time to start pointing out the most important decision that the Jaguars will make heading into next year. What will they do with their first round draft selection, which looks to be a top three pick?

The trend in the NFL is new GM equates to a new quarterback. 

Does this mean that Blaine Gabbert is all but over in Jacksonville unless an incredible turnaround happens in the next eight weeks?  I am not sure anybody knows exactly what Shad Khan is currently thinking, but the odds go up if and when Gene Smith is fired.

Over the next few months, I believe it is only fair to Jaguars' fans to begin the process of dissecting who we should be looking for to give us hope, for a team that is in dire need of exactly that, hope.

The best way to start this off is by looking at the top prospects and their stock with the Jaguars, assuming that the Jaguars do finish the season with a top five selection.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
West Virginia QB Geno Smith

 

 

1. Matt Barkley QB/USC

 

Barkley is the prototypical pocket passer that the NFL desires. Highly touted out of high school and a very productive collegiate career have given Barkley the tools and reputation to easily be a top 10 selection in the draft. He may have been a top five selection if he had come out a year ago. The Jaguars and Barkley may be a perfect match. He is the lone franchise quarterback in the draft, and after seeing how quickly Andrew Luck has been able to get up to speed in the NFL, it will give hope to a team that looks to add more weapons on top of the guys they have. Both the Chiefs and Jaguars will more than likely be looking to add a signal caller, so the order of the draft will have a huge impact on where Barkley may land.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★★★★

 

 

2. Geno Smith QB/West Virginia 

 

Geno Smith started off the 2012 year with eye popping numbers that guaranteed him the Heisman if he were able to continue. He did not, and the Mountaineers have now dropped three in a row. While the team's stock is down, I wouldn't necessarily say the same about Smith. Geno will be watched very closely come the combine and individual workouts, but he does have a great presence to him in the pocket. I'm not completely sold on Smith as being a top five selection, nor a franchise quarterback, but I did not fully believe in Robert Griffin III either. Choosing between Barkley and Smith is the poor man's version of choosing between Andrew Luck and Griffin III. With the high possibility of the Chiefs and Jaguars having pick one and two in the draft, there is also a high possibility of Barkley and Smith being picked one and two.

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★★★★

 

 

3. Jarvis Jones LB/DE/Georgia 

 

The Jaguars have had their issues due to injuries when it comes to linebackers, and Jarvis Jones is about as solid a prospect as there is coming out. The issue is that he seems to fit more in a 3-4 scheme rather than a 4-3 base like the Jaguars play. They may even have interest in inserting him at defensive end, but that could be risky at such a high pick. Daryl Smith will likely get re-signed similarly to how Rashean Mathis was signed last offseason after missing the majority of the year, so to add Jones to Smith and Paul Posluszny would be a great linebacking corps to have. 

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★★★

 

 

4. Jake Joeckel OT/Texas A&M

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Joeckel is the current premiere tackle in the draft class, but that could change the closer we get to the draft.  As of right now, it looks like Joeckel is making his case to be a top five selection in the draft. The offensive line is a huge concern for Jacksonville. Eugene Monroe will be a must to re-sign, which is likely to be a very large contract. Brad Meester is getting towards the very end of his career, and Uche Nwaneri hasn't played up to his capabilities this season. Mike Brewster may be a fill-in at the moment but not the future guard this team is looking for. Cameron Bradfield shows great potential and shown glimpses of above average blocking this season, but he's no sure bet to hang on to the right tackle position. If Gene Smith somehow sticks around, this is a guy who I would expect him to target.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★★★

 

 

5. Tyler Wilson QB/Arkansas 

 

Depending on exactly how certain guys perform over the last month of the season, the quarterback race is on and based on the last few years, more than two guys will be top 10 prospects. Wilson has a chance of shooting all the way up to number one if he continues his growth and performs well at the combine. I'm not truly convinced of him being a top five selection, but he does have a great arm and has had a great season so far. Wilson seems to be the quiet player moving up draft boards every week.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★

 

 

6. Manti Te'o ILB/Notre Dame

 

Without a doubt the most polished defensive player to be in the draft, Te'o is a stud both on and off the field. Te'o has shown nothing but improvement every year at Notre Dame, and this year he has looked like the Patrick Willis of the NCAA. The Jaguars are set at ILB with Paul Posluszny, which makes the transition for Te'o to outside linebacker a necessity. Luke Kuechly did it with little to no issues in Carolina, so there is small doubt that Te'o wouldn't be a great fit in Jacksonville. The question will be whether or not he is worth such a high draft selection.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★★

 

 

7. Star Lotulelei DT/Utah

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
FSU DE Bjoern Werner

 

Lotulelei is definitely a top 10 pick in the draft and has shown that he may be a perfect nose tackle for any 3-4 defense.  The problem here is that the Jaguars seem pretty set at defensive tackle if they were to re-sign Terrance Knighton, and that they run a 4-3 defense. Not to say that Lotulelei would not work with the Jaguars, but I don't see this team using such a valuable pick on him. Then again, I did not see them using such a valuable pick on Tyson Alualu.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★

 

 

8. Barkevious Mingo OLB/LSU

 

Would be a pretty awesome name to add to the team but also one heck of a player. Mingo would fit in great at outside linebacker with Paul Posluszny and Daryl Smith.  Mingo has had a very solid year and may even surge to be in the top five come draft day.  Mingo will need to truly separate himself from both James and Te'o to get close to the Jaguars selection, but he would not be a bad pick any way you look at it.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★★

 

 

9. DeMarcus Milliner CB/Alabama

 

The Jaguars secondary is currently hurting pretty badly due to injury, and to add a stud corner would be huge for them. Milliner is the top corner in this year's draft class but may not be worth as high of a pick as the Jaguars will likely possess. Top 10 is very possible but not top three. Milliner is only a junior, so this is assuming he will enter the draft early, which would be a smart move for him. There is always the possibility, if set on Gabbert, to trade back in the draft similarly to what the Rams did, but that would be ill-advised for Jacksonville.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★

 

 

10. Bjoern Werner DE/FSU

 

The Jaguars will have to address their pass rush going into next season, and it could be so important that they want a premier pass rusher in the draft. Werner looks to be the best pure defensive end in the draft, and that is likely to at least intrigue the Jaguars. Great size, speed and agility make Werner a top 10 selection. The Jaguars will more than likely look at a few other options prior to Werner, but he will likely remain on their radar.

Chance of being a Jaguar: ★★ 

 

 

Key notables: Sam Montgomery DE/LSU ★★,  Johnathan Hankins DT/Ohio State ★★, Taylor Lewan OT/Michigan ★, Xavier Rhodes CB/FSU ★

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