Jacksonville Jaguars 2013 Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors & Predictions
Things didn't exactly go as planned for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012.
A combination of injuries and poor play culminated with the Jaguars finishing with the worst record in franchise history, a 2-14 debacle that led ownership to clean house.
Now, new head coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell will try to reverse the lagging fortunes of the franchise, beginning with the second pick in April's NFL draft.
What are the Jaguars' intentions for that pick and for the rest of the 2013 draft?
Let's take a look by examining the latest news, rumors and mock drafts surrounding the Jaguars, news that we'll be updating regularly as the draft nears.
Latest News, Rumors and Reports
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April 24: It's widely believed that the Jaguars intend to address the quarterback position early in the 2013 NFL draft, but if recent reports are to be believed the number of options available to the team in the second round may be bigger than was originally thought.
According to Rotoworld, NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock reported that it's his belief that there will only be one quarterback taken in the first round, that signal-caller being Syracuse's Ryan Nassib. Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that he's "hearing" that the Jaguars have significant interest in USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
April 22: The reports speculating as to who the Jaguars are targeting with the second overall pick are picking up steam, and there appears to be something of a consensus developing.
According to Ryan O' Halloran of The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville has narrowed their choices to the quartet that Tony Pauline referenced the day before, that being Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and offensive tackles Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.
April 21: The 2013 NFL draft is just around the corner, and the Jaguars have apparently narrowed down their options with the second overall pick.
At least that's the latest from Tony Pauline of Draft Insider, who reports that "The team is looking at either Dion Jordan or one of the offensive tackles with the second pick. No surprise there. If they trade down I am told the player they like is Ezekiel Ansah."
April 18: Although many pundits have linked the Jaguars to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, it appears that the team has also shown interest in another of the 2013 NFL draft's top prospects at the position.
Syracuse signal-caller Ryan Nassib, while appearing on WGR-Radio, told The Howard Simon Show that the Jaguars are among the teams that have "shown the most interest in him."
April 14: Ryan O' Halloran of The Florida Times-Union reports that while the Jaguars have had any number of prospects in for visits, their search for the player they intend to choose has narrowed considerably, with general manager David Caldwell stating that “We’re pretty close — it’s down to two people.”
April 10: The Jaguars are kicking the tires on a number of players this year, and it now appears that those players include one of the NFL draft's top tackle prospects.
Aaron Wilson of Scout.com tweeted Wednesday that the Jaguars have set up a visit with Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, widely considered the draft's third-best prospect at his position behind Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
Johnson isn't the only player visiting Jacksonville Wednesday, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown and Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings are also set to meet with the Jaguars.
April 5: The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't really been linked to the top two offensive tackles in this year's NFL draft class, but that doesn't mean the team isn't looking to get better up front.
As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported last week, the Jaguars hosted Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh, who was a second-team All Big East selection in 2012, for a visit on Friday.
That was only the latest in a long list of players that the Jags have visited with this offseason, according to Draftace.com.
That list features many of this year's top prospects, and it certainly appears that the Jaguars are doing their due diligence where this year's draft is concerned.
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Ryan Griffen, QB, Tulane
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
Trevardo Williams, LB, Connecticut
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Sheldon Price, CB, UCLA
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Dwayne Gratz, CB, Connecticut
D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Latest Mock Drafts
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With the second pick in April's draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for a player who can make an immediate impact for the team.
Here's a look at who some leading draft experts believe that player might be.
ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr., 4/24): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Offensive tackle isn't the biggest area of need that the Jaguars have, but Kiper thinks that Jacksonville should go the best player available route, calling Fisher "a tackle who was so good pass-rushers would simply give up."
Sports Illustrated (Don Banks, 4/17): Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
An incredibly athletic prospect much like Ansah, Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan is the pick for the Jaguars in Banks' most recent mock draft as a player who could be an excellent fit as the "Leo" end in Gus Bradley's 4-3 defense.
CBS Sports (Rob Rang, 4/21): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
As I stated earlier, the offensive line isn't exactly Jacksonville's biggest problem. However, Rang states "reaching to fill a need is precisely the strategy which has resulted in the Jaguars "earning" a top 10 pick six consecutive years. The two best players in the 2013 draft happen to be offensive linemen, which puts the Jaguars in position to fill their need at right tackle with whomever the Chiefs don't select No. 1."
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks, 4/24): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
As often as a few weeks ago you'd have been hard pressed to find an expert mocking Fisher to Jacksonville. However, as Fisher's stock has steadily climbed, so has the number of draftniks who feel that Jacksonville will go the safe route with what appears to be very close to a can't-miss pick.
Bleacher Report (Matt Miller, 4/22): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Like Brooks, Bleacher Report NFL draft Lead Writer Matt Miller believes that the Jaguars are prepared to move on from Gabbert. Miller points out in his mock draft that "from owner Shad Khan all the way to head coach Gus Bradley, there is a buzz surrounding Geno Smith that is radiating from the building."
Florida Times-Union (Vito Stellino, 4/20): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Beat writer Vito Stellino, who took part in the Los Angeles Times' recent mock draft as the Jaguars' representative, thinks the team will bolster the offensive front with Fisher, saying that "The Jaguars have only one tackle, so they need one, and it's a safe pick. The rest of the top players are too much of a gamble."
Latest Trade Rumors
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April 22: The Jaguars may be unwilling to move down from the second overall pick, but it appears there is no such reluctance with the first pick of the second round.
Ryan O' Halloran of The Florida Times-Union speculated on Monday that "the Jaguars’ best case Friday is trading out of No. 33 to acquire more picks," and general manager David Caldwell's comments seem to indicate that the Jaguars are indeed open to the idea.
The 33rd pick will be a value pick and every team will see how the first round unfolds. There are always one or two players that will be available and a team will go, ‘Wow, we can’t believe he fell out of the first round.’
April 22: There's been a significant amount of speculation regarding the Jaguars potentially trading down in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, but it now appears that the team is inclined to stand pat.
That's the word from Ryan O' Halloran of The Florida Times-Union, who reports that general manager David Caldwell stated that he would be "surprised" if the Jaguars don't make a selection with the second overall pick.
Will the Jaguars Pull the Trigger on Geno Smith?
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The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team with multiple needs, and a club that Ian Rapoport of NFL.com calls "the biggest enigma" in this year's draft.
That's because given those numerous needs, there are any number of theories about what Jacksonville might do with the second overall pick.
As we showed in the mock drafts section of this article, some pundits believe that the Jaguars will target West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as their quarterback of the future.
Granted, head coach Gus Bradley recently told Dan Pompei of The National Football Post that he feels the Jaguars "can be successful" with Blaine Gabbert under center, but in that same article, general manager David Caldwell made it clear that the team isn't ruling out drafting a quarterback early this year.
"There are some talented guys out there who have done some great things for their teams,” Bradley said. “We have some needs but we are trying to capitalize on the best available. If there is a quarterback that shows up that we gravitate to, that will be an option for us.”
If the Jaguars make that pick in the first round it will all but certainly be Smith, and you can bet the rent that there will be a ton of speculation regarding Smith to Jacksonville over the next few weeks.
The Pass Rush Must Be Addressed
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The Jaguars may well be an "enigma" in this year's NFL draft, but one thing is crystal clear: Jacksonville must address the pass rush in the 2013 draft.
The Jaguars tallied all of 20 sacks last year. J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans had more all by himself.
The Jaguars also haven't had a player rack up double-digit sacks since 2006.
At second overall the pick could be Ansah, or Floyd, or Dion Jordan of Oregon, whose athleticism would seem to make him a great fit as the "Leo" end in Bradley's 4-3 under front.
If the Jaguars wait, players such as Texas A&M's Damontre Moore or SMU's Margus Hunt could be available in the second round.
This is a deep draft where pass-rush talent is concerned, and it's absolutely crucial that the Jaguars take advantage of that.