The Jacksonville Jaguars are in need of a major overhaul following the franchise-worst 2-14 record in 2012. A good draft will go a long way to help turn the team around.
The Jaguars have already started the rebuilding process by firing general manager Gene Smith, but have yet to hire his replacement. The new general manager will get his chance to make his mark on the team in the 2013 NFL Draft this April.
A good draft is imperative to the rebuilding process as the core of the team's future will be picked this year. By making the correct selections in the draft, the Jaguars may have a quick turnaround.
Here are my picks for the best selections for the Jaguars in each round.
Ideally, the Jacksonville Jaguars would trade out of the No. 2 pick and gain more draft picks in the process. To do that, however, would require another team to be willing to trade up, and without an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III-like prospect in this draft, it seems like the Jaguars will be stuck in this position.
The best choice for the Jaguars would be to draft defensive end Damontre Moore out of Texas A&M. The Jaguars have struggled to get a consistent pass rush for years, and Moore would provide just that.
Moore has had a productive career at Texas A&M, and has improved each year. He was moved to defensive end before the 2012 season and he thrived at the position.
Moore finished his final year in college tied for ninth in the country with 12.5 sacks. He was often making plays behind the line of scrimmage and recorded 21 tackles for loss in 2012. Moore's 80 tackles led the Texas A&M Aggies.
He has been recognized as one of college football's best players. He was named to the All-SEC First Team and the AP All-American Second Team in 2012.
Moore has good size at 6'4" and 250 pounds. He flashes a quick first step off the snap and uses his hands well to get around blockers. He has also shown a good ability to locate the ball and is fast enough to run down the ball-carrier.
Moore would be the answer the Jaguars defensive line woes for years to come.
With both Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis set to be free agents this offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars may need to look for someone to fill the void left at the cornerback position. Jordan Poyer would be a perfect choice to do just that.
Poyer, a senior cornerback from Oregon State, has had a stellar collegiate career. His seven interceptions in 2012 led the Oregon Beavers and tied him for second in the country. In addition to the interceptions, Poyer finished the year with 14 pass defenses.
His great play earned him a spot on the All Pac 12 First Team and as an AP First Team All-American.
Poyer also has experience returning kicks, which is a problem area for the Jaguars. The Jaguars finished 29th in the NFL averaging just 7.3 yards per punt return. Poyer could add an explosive spark to the return game, as he averaged 25.9 yards per kick return and 10.7 yards per punt return during his time at Oregon State. Poyer could be exactly what the Jaguars have been missing on special teams.
Poyer is an athletic and physical defender who can make opposing quarterbacks pay when throwing against him. He could step in to be the Jaguars' No. 1 cornerback if Cox and Mathis aren't re-signed, but would also be a great second cornerback opposite of Cox.
Jacksonville's offensive line was terrible in 2012. The Jacksonville Jaguars gave up 50 sacks during the season, which was third-most in the league. They also allowed the third most quarterback hits at 103. The right tackle position was a revolving door during the season, and finding a long-term answer could go a long way in improving the offensive line.
The Jaguars could find the solution at right tackle in Virginia's Oday Aboushi.
Aboushi had a great season in 2012, despite the Virginia Cavaliers' overall poor play. He was named team captain and averaged 10+ knockdowns per game throughout the season, which helped earn him a spot on the All-ACC First Team.
Aboushi is athletic enough to be a steady pass blocker and negate speed rushers. He has enough size at 6'6" and 310 pounds to push opposing players around, but he still needs to improve his run blocking.
He is inconsistent as times and sometimes makes mental errors, but he always watches his play and looks for ways to improve. Aboushi is a hard-worker and the Jaguars could get a steal in the third round.
The future of Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith is an uncertain one. He is a free agent this offseason after only playing two games in 2012 due to a groin injury. Smith, the Jaguars all-time leader in tackles, may have played his last game as a Jaguar. Even if he does return in 2013, Smith is getting older and Jacksonville needs to look for his potential replacement.
Penn State outside linebacker Gerald Hodges would be an ideal candidate. He is a solid all-around player who is built to be a 4-3 outside linebacker.
Hodges is a sure-tackler; he led the Penn State Nittany Lions for the second consecutive year in tackles with 109 on the season. His 8.5 tackles for loss were third on the team.
He has also proven himself to be a great player against the pass. Hodges led Penn State with seven pass defenses and added two interceptions.
His play landed him on the Second Team All-Big Ten and he was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.
At 238 pounds, Hodges may need to add some weight to match up against NFL players, but he does have a good frame as he stands at 6'2".
Hodges is a well-rounded linebacker and would be a perfect fit for the Jaguars.
Louisville center Mario Benavides would be a great pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round.
Jaguars' center Brad Meester is a free agent this offseason. He struggled in 2012 and at 35 years old, it seems as if age is catching up to him. Benavides could be Meester's eventual replacement at center.
Benavides has been Louisville's starting center since taking over as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He played well after taking over the starting role and earned Freshman All-American Honors. He has maintained his high level of play and was named to the 2012 All-Big East First Team.
Benavides is a tough player and has shown the ability to play through injuries. He missed only four games during his collegiate career despite his injuries.
He is a good run-blocker and is athletic enough to be a solid in pass protection.
The Jaguars would have a tough, experienced player in drafting Benavides, and he could solidify the interior of the offensive line.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could get another solid prospect at cornerback in Johnny Adams.
Adams had a great career at Michigan State and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team in 2010 and the All-Big Ten First Team in 2011 and 2012.
Adams recorded three interceptions in each of his last three collegiate seasons. He had seven pass defenses as a senior. Adams is a physical player and had three tackles for loss in 2012.
He possesses better than average speed and plays tight coverage. His aggressive play can lead to him getting beat sometimes, but Adams has the ability to jump passes and turn them into big plays for the defense.
Adams needs to add some muscle, if he wants to continue his physical play, but he has all the tools to be a developmental cornerback for the Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could add another pass rusher with their last pick in the draft with Nebraska defensive end Eric Martin.
Martin, a former linebacker, became a playmaker on Nebraska's defensive line in 2012. He finished the season tied for third in the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks. He was often in the opposing team's backfield and recorded 16.5 tackles for loss in 2012.
He has the ability to drop into coverage, and can use his long arms to maneuver past blockers.
Martin is a developmental player with a lot of upside, and it's worth it for the Jaguars to take a chance on him.