Jacksonville Jaguars Mock Draft: Fresh Predictions After the Super Bowl
With the Baltimore Ravens holding off the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII, the 2012 NFL season is officially in the rearview mirror, which means only one thing: We're now in NFL draft season.
The upcoming draft is going to be an important one for the Jacksonville Jaguars; they will need to have a great crop of selections this year to launch a successful rebuilding process.
General manager David Caldwell has already revealed his draft plan, saying the Jaguars are going to draft for need. With needs at offensive line, defensive line and cornerback, there will be no shortage of talent who might be asked to contribute right away for the Jaguars.
Here is who Jacksonville should take in each round.
Round 1: Damontre Moore, Defensive End, Texas A&M
The Jaguars' biggest need is to find a dominant pass-rusher, and there are several who will be available early in the draft.
Jacksonville finished last in the NFL with 20 sacks in 2012, and it must find a player who can get pressure on the quarterback to improve the defense.
Although it would be ideal for the Jaguars to trade back and get more picks, Texas A&M's Damontre Moore would be a great pick if they're unable to move out of the No. 2 selection.
Moore more than lived up to his "DaMonster" nickname during his senior season: He excelled in his only year as a defensive end, terrorizing quarterbacks and finishing the season with 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss.
Moore has a quick first step and great speed coming off the edge. He uses his hands well to get around blockers and shows a late burst to close in on ball-carriers. He's able to locate the ball well, and he has shown the ability to cause turnovers with eight forced fumbles in his collegiate career.
He is also good against the run, which would also benefit a Jaguars rushing defense that ranked 30th in 2012.
Moore would be a major upgrade over what the Jaguars have now and could be the pass-rusher they've been lacking for years. He would be the centerpiece around whom to rebuild the defense.
Round 2: Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington
Cornerback is another area of concern for Jacksonville. Both Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis are set to be free agents this offseason, leaving the team thin at the position. The Jaguars would be smart to re-sign Cox and let Mathis walk and find his replacement in the draft.
Washington Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant would be a perfect replacement for Mathis.
A four-year starter, Trufant was a shutdown cornerback, who was named first-team All-Pac-12 for his play during his senior year. Trufant finished his senior season with one interception and nine passes defensed, and opposing quarterbacks rarely tested him.
He is a an athletic player who plays well in both man and zone coverage. He has good straight-line speed and the ball skills to make opposing quarterbacks pay for trying to throw against him.
Most importantly, Trufant is exactly what Jaguars coach Gus Bradley looks for in a cornerback. At 6'0", he has the size that Bradley likes in his corners.
Trufant seems like a natural fit for Bradley's defense, and he would be a great pick at the top of the second round.
Round 3: Larry Warford, Guard, Kentucky
With the most pressing needs on defense addressed, it's time for the Jaguars to turn their attention to the weakest part of the offense: the offensive line.
The offensive line struggled to pass protect and run block. They gave up the third-most quarterback sacks (50) and quarterback hits (103), and they were unable to open up holes for the running backs; the Jaguars finished 30th in rushing yards per game (85.6).
I expect the Jaguars to address the right tackle position by signing a veteran free agent. That leaves the interior of the line, and Kentucky guard Larry Warford would help solve those issues.
Warford is a versatile player who can play both guard and center, and his versatility will make him a valuable player for the weak Jaguars line. He has a thick frame at 6'3" and 343 pounds, which makes it difficult for defenders to get around him.
Although he doesn't have the speed to block at the second level, Warford is agile enough to pull across the line of scrimmage.
Warford would be a good pick because of all the options he provides. He could either step in and immediately compete for the starting center position, or he could start at right guard and veteran Uche Nwaneri could slide to center.
Warford would help shore up the Jaguars' offensive line issues.
Round 4: Matt Scott, Quarterback, Arizona
General manager Caldwell hasn't ruled out drafting a quarterback this April, but with more pressing needs at other positions, I can't see the Jaguars taking one in the first two days of the draft.
The beginning of the third day would be a good spot to draft a quarterback, and Arizona's Matt Scott should be available.
Scott took over the starting role in 2012 and shined in Rich Rodriguez's offense. He completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 3,620 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also has the ability to make plays with his legs, adding more than 500 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
With mobile quarterbacks beginning to have more and more success in the NFL, Scott would be a nice pick to develop into a future starter.
He is athletic and can make defenders miss in the pocket, while still having the arm strength to fire the ball downfield and fit throws into tight windows, even on the run. He is an accurate passer, and he consistently hits his receivers in stride.
Scott will have to get acclimated to a pro-style offense after playing in Rodriguez's spread system. He will need to add some weight to his lean 6'2", 202-pound frame to be able to absorb the punishment a mobile quarterback will take in the NFL.
Scott has a ton of upside, and would be a very good pick as a developmental quarterback in the fourth round.
Round 5: Keith Pough, OLB, Howard
With linebacker Daryl Smith set to be a free agent this offseason, Jacksonville may be looking for his replacement.
The Jaguars could get that player in Howard's Keith Pough.
Pough had one of the best careers in Football Championship Subdivision history. He set an FCS career record with 71 career tackles for loss and was a three-time member of the All-MEAC First Team. His play during his senior year earned him the 2012 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He became the talk of the East-West Shrine Game, impressing coaches and scouts with his natural athleticism and aggressive playing style. He also became known for his mouth, as he talked the entire time he was on the field.
Pough has good size for a linebacker, standing at 6'3" and 240, but it doesn't affect his coverage ability.
Pough would be a great replacement for Smith. Both are physical players who make plays behind the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars could find the next Daryl Smith in Pough.
Round 6: Terry Hawthorne, Cornerback, Illinois
Even with drafting Trufant in the second round, Jacksonville will need to add some depth to the secondary.
Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne would do just that. He had a solid career at Illinois after being moved to the defense full time as a freshman. He finished his collegiate career with six interceptions and 22 passes defensed.
Hawthorne has decent size at 6'0" and 194 pounds, but he is fast and is a ball hawk. He has a natural awareness that helps him make plays on defense.
He would add quality depth to the secondary, but he would also be an asset on special teams. He has experience in both kick and punt returns, and he could see time at both for the Jaguars.
Hawthorne could contribute in several areas, and that would make him extremely valuable for Jacksonville.
Round 7: Terron Armstead, Offensive Tackle, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
The Jaguars need not only players who can start on the offensive line, they need players who can provide depth, too.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff's Terron Armstead would offer just that as well as the potential to be a starting tackle down the road.
Armstead had a productive college career and was invited to play at the East-West Shrine Game, where he had a good showing for the East squad. He more than held his own against opposing pass-rushers.
He played left tackle in college, but is athletic enough to move inside and be a pulling guard. Armstead would provide much-needed depth across the offensive line.