Jacksonville Jaguars 2013 NFL Draft: Jarvis Jones or Manti Te'o?
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Sitting at 2-10, the Jaguars are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the worst record in the NFL as well as in the race for the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
About a month ago, my rankings for the Jaguars draft board included two quarterbacks in the first two spots.
That has changed pretty drastically since.
With both West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley looking like late-first or early-second round selections, the Jaguars are left with a draft class dominated by defensive players.
The lists change weekly, and with the college season ending shortly, the stocks of every prospect will rise and fall dramatically, right up until the draft.
The list of defensive prospects that look to be near elite are starting to sort themselves out.
Names that both fans and experts alike mention include Jarvis Jones, Luke Joeckel, Manti Te'o, Dee Milliner, and Star Lotulelei.
I believe the Jaguars will select one of these five players.
After sorting through them, the two names that stand out as being immediate impact players as well as need picks for the Jags would be two linebackers, Jarvis Jones and Manti Te'o.
An argument can be made for Luke Joeckel, but I see this team trying to go after a free agent right tackle to pair up opposite of Eugene Monroe. Monroe is in a contract year, but at worst, he will receive the franchise tag.
Cameron Bradfield is still a guy the franchise believes in, so I'm not convinced that they will not keep him as the starting right tackle heading into next season.
Defensively, the Jaguars have played very poorly this season, and with uncertainty around Daryl Smith, the Jaguars are left with one good linebacker in Paul Posluszny.
This year has proven that the Jaguars are in dire need of not only leadership, but sure tacklers that have both talent and football smarts.
Jarvis Jones would add a true difference maker on the defense. He has similarities to Von Miller that only make him more attractive to a team in need of a pass rush.
Jones has remained a top five pick since early in the college season, and he did not do anything to change that.
What makes Jones special is his ability to step up in big games.
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In Georgia's win over Florida, Jones was credited with 12 total tackles and three sacks, then he added two more sacks against Auburn and two more against Alabama in the final game this season. Jones has 12.5 sacks thus far this year, and still has one more game to play.
As a disruptive, play-making linebacker, Jones would really add a dangerous player to the Jaguars linebacking corps, who could then go into the year with Posluszny, Jones, and Smith, if he is re-signed.
The other option I see is Notre Dame leader Manti Te'o.
This guy has turned into such a special player, both on and off the field, that the one thing he promises to bring is fans to this team.
Te'o has the internal knack for football that some players just never get. With three straight 100-plus tackle seasons for the Irish, Te'o took his play to another level this year and added seven interceptions as well—a number that usually goes along with the top defensive back in the league, not the top linebacker.
To go with all the hardware that he has already received in the NCAA, Te'o is also a Heisman finalist.
As a natural leader and player, Te'o would take these attributes to a team in dire need for both of these things.
The Jaguars would fill a void at linebacker by either moving Te'o or Posuluszny to the outside and bringing in a smart playmaker who will help attract fans to this team.
Te'o is a guy looks to be a top ten selection, and to most would be a reach in the top five.
Until scouts and personnel get a chance to see this kid up close, I think he may fall anywhere between the No. 2 selection and the No. 10 selection. The Jaguars will more than likely have the chance to take him if they like what they see.
The difference in this years' draft, compared to past drafts, is that nobody knows who the No. 1 pick will be yet. There are no true franchise quarterbacks or defensive ends.
Linebackers do not have a history of going No. 1, and neither do cornerbacks.
If we were to go by history, then based on the current top prospects, the likeliest guys to go first would be either Luke Joeckel, Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson or Matt Barkley.
I am not buying that this year.
The Jaguars know that they cannot reach for a quarterback with an early of a pick unless they truly believe that he is the Andrew Luck of this year's draft class.
This would seemingly be a great draft to trade back and get more picks, but after seeing the Jaguars only have to give up a fourth round pick to move from No. 7 to No. 5 overall in last year's draft, the value may not be there.
Robert Griffin III cost the Redskins an incredible amount, but it is obviously paying off. There are no RGIII's in this years' draft that would tempt a team to give anything close to what the Redskins gave the Rams.
We are not even at the end of the NFL season, so there is still more than enough time to debate who will even be on Jag's radar.
I'd say these two guys will be.
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