Think of this post as your Jaguars Draft Headquarters. I will be updating picks as they occur throughout the draft and providing quick blurbs and grades within 15 minutes of each pick.
My grades will be based on the value of the players selected versus the value left on the board; they will NOT be based simply on my opinion of those players' talent level. The grades will also take into account how well the Jaguars use draft equity. For more info on my concept of draft equity, read my writeup at Big Cat Country.
(Revised 4/26/13; see revision below)
This is simply a terrible use of draft equity. Drafting a right tackle with the second pick is an irresponsible selection and a VERY poor start for Dave Caldwell as the General Manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Is Joeckel a good prospect? Sure. He's a very solid offensive tackle. He's a "safe" pick. However, there's no such thing as a "safe" prospect. Joeckel will start from day one at right tackle, but the Jaguars just spent the second pick on a position that has had multiple solid starters available in free agency for most of the offseason.
The main impact of this pick is that either Eugene Monroe is headed out of town after this season (would be a huge mistake) or Luke Joeckel will be playing right tackle long-term, which is a poor use of value.
The best pick for the Jaguars was a trade down to someone who wanted Luke Joeckel. I cannot imagine there wasn't a trade market for Joeckel, and even taking a below-value trade would've been a superior option to taking an offensive tackle with the second pick.
Now let's look at the player. Joeckel is a very, very solid blocker both in the run game and the passing game. He has prototypical tackle measurables and should be a very solid addition to the Jaguars' offensive line. Jacksonville now has two very solid offensive tackles, and their offensive line should be much improved in 2013. It's hard to look at this pick as anything but a scared pick.
There is one scenario in which I can see this pick making sense: Dave Caldwell is calling everyone's bluff. Perhaps he was lowballed by teams who thought he would pass and they could trade with Oakland instead. In that case, perhaps he said "I will take Joeckel, and if you want him you can come get him." If that is the case, I reserve the right to change this grade, but for now...
Pick grade: F-
The grade for this pick had to be in within 15 minutes of the pick. Over the course of the offseason and the entire pre-draft process, I had convinced myself Caldwell would go with a flashy, difference-making defensive player or a potential franchise quarterback with the second overall pick. There's a lot of emotion tied to your team's first-round pick, especially when it's as high as the Jaguars' pick this season.
When Luke Joeckel was announced as the pick, I was extremely disappointed. I didn't think the right tackle spot had that kind of value, especially with solid starters at the position sitting on the free agent wire. I was mad. The immediacy of the pick elicited a very negative response. I recall smashing the "F-" into the keyboard while still extremely upset with the pick. I didn't have time to really think about it because I hadn't already considered it as a real possibility until it happened, as you can see very clearly from my tweet:
The ONLY thing that'll convince me Dave Caldwell has ANY interest in drafting an OT 2nd overall is if Dave Caldwell drafts an OT 2nd overall— Jaguars Blog (@JaguarsBlog) April 19, 2013
As the first round progressed, I started to regret the grade more and more. First off, the Jaguars got an outstanding offensive tackle. F- is a grade that probably should be reserved for a player that punches a cop or commits domestic violence.
Second, some of the offensive linemen that went off the board in the later part of the first round were players I thought were second or even third-round picks. Players like Justin Pugh, Travis Frederick, and Kyle Long in the first? The run on offensive linemen pushed talent at other positions down the board, leaving some really good players for Caldwell and the Jaguars in the second round.
Third, right tackle and left tackle don't have as big of a value split as they have in previous years. The Jaguars' right tackle is going to have to face J. J. Watt, Robert Mathis, and Derrick Morgan six times a year; having a good player instead of an average one could definitely be an plus.
With the advantage of time to think about it, I should've given the pick a better grade. I still am not a huge fan of taking a tackle with the second overall pick, and still would've preferred Dion Jordan or the deal Miami made with Oakland, but Luke Joeckel definitely deserves a passing grade.
Revised Pick Grade: C+
After the selection of Luke Joeckel yesterday, the Jaguars still had a huge pile of needs to fill including linebacker, cornerback, quarterback, and safety. Strong safety, though was probably the most glaring given the fact the Jaguars literally had zero players on the roster capable of playing the position. No more.
Johnathan Cyprien was more of an unknown among the draft community until the Senior Bowl, where he was constantly cited as one of the top performers. One of my favorite talent evaluators, Joe Goodberry of Cincy Jungle, said he was "blown away" by Cyprien in Mobile, citing his "great feel for running lanes" and ability to "quickly measure up ball-carriers to make crushing hits".
Cyprien also has the ability to play center field, giving the Jaguars additional versatility in the secondary. The quality that will endear him to Jaguars fans the most, though, is his reputation as a hard hitter. Cyprien is a consistent tackler that can deliver a blow, and during Bleacher Report's online draft show Matt Miller said he could see Cyprien potentially developing into a "Troy Polamalu-type player". If the Jaguars get anything near that kind of production from Cyprien they will be thrilled.
I mocked Arthur Brown to the Jaguars in my Day 2 and Beyond mock draft, but that was what I thought would happen, now what I wanted to happen. My favorite prospects left at this pick were Geno Smith, Tank Carradine, Cyprien, and Brown, and the Jaguars were extremely smart to grab a long-term solution at strong safety with the 33rd pick.
There were rumors the Jaguars would trade this selection to a team looking for a quarterback such as the Jets moving up to grab Geno Smith, but selecting Cyprien in lieu of a trade is definitely a good move by Jacksonville.
Pick Grade: A
Did I expect Dwayne Gratz to be the next cornerback off the board? Nope. Did I even think he'd be the next CONNECTICUT cornerback off the board? Not a chance (I thought it'd be Blidi Wreh-Wilson).
Yeah, not quite what happened.
I'll admit I don't know as much about Gratz as I do about higher-profile prospects like Wreh-Wilson, Jordan Poyer, or Logan Ryan, but unknown to fans doesn't mean he's not a good player.
The good news: Bleacher Report's Matt Miller is a fan. Many other scouts who attended the Senior Bowl were also impressed with Gratz. During the Bleacher Report online draft show, Miller noted that Gratz stood out in pretty much every Senior Bowl practice and flashed the ability to make plays on the ball and lock up receivers in man coverage.
Gratz is a bit of a surprise; I was personally expecting Sanders Commings or Wreh-Wilson to be the pick. However, Gratz fits the same mold as Commings...he's a big (201 pounds), physical corner with the ability to play press-man coverage.
As you likely know by now, Gus Bradley's defense depends on the secondary to pull its weight and give the defensive line time to get to the quarterback. Gratz has a challenge ahead of him in a division that features Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Kenny Britt, T. Y. Hilton, etc., etc., etc. Hopefully he proves to be up to the challenge.
There was likely zero trade market for this pick, so that doesn't factor into the grade. Several draft analysts I trust, including NFL.com's draft rankings, didn't have Gratz graded as highly as some of the other corners on the board, so I can't give the pick an A, but I think Caldwell and Bradley did their homework and selected a cornerback that fits their scheme perfectly.
Pick Grade: B-
The Jaguars were scheduled to pick first in the 4th round, but Dave Caldwell couldn't pass up the allure of extra picks. He traded that pick, 98th overall, to the Philadelphia Eagles and picked up an extra 7th-round pick, a fantastic deal to move down only three spots. The Eagles selected Matt Barkley with the 98th pick, a player I had absolutely no interest in the Jaguars drafting.
With their new pick, 101st overall, the Jaguars selected South Carolina slot receiver Ace Sanders. Sanders is a small player (5' 7", 173 pounds"), but he's extremely dynamic both out of the slot and as a kick returner.
Caldwell previously noted that he liked to take players in the 4th round that can play in specific packages, and Sanders definitely fits the bill. He should line up as the team's "starting" slot receiver and "starting" kick returner as well.
Sanders is a fantastic punt returner. He and his punt return ability are the star of one of my favorite GIFs, and racked up 15.3 yards per punt return and two touchdowns in only 28 punt returns last season.
The Jaguars haven't had a good punt return game since the Dr. Jekyll version of Mike Thomas was returning punts. Sanders should be one of the best in the league right off the bat. He could potentially return kicks as well, though he didn't really do that at South Carolina.
Ace Sanders is a dynamic role player that should add explosiveness to the Jaguars' offense and special teams. I thought they'd go with a pass-rusher, but this is a nice pick.
Pick Grade: B+
The Jaguars kicked off the third day of the draft with a big-time playmaker in Ace Sanders, and they continued the trend by grabbing former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson with the 136th overall pick, the second pick in the fifth round.
Robinson is a fantastic athlete, posting a 4.43-second 40-yard dash time at the combine.
Nicknamed "Shoelace" because he played with his shoes untied in college (can't do that in the NFL!), Robinson is the epitome of a playmaker. Over the course of his career at Michigan he accounted for 91 touchdowns in four years, including an astounding 42 touchdowns on the ground.
The Jaguars are listing Robinson as a running back, and that's honestly his best fit. In four years at Michigan Robinson amassed 4495 rushing yards on 723 carries, an average of 6.2 yards per carry.
Robinson gives the Jaguars a versatile offensive weapon. He can line up in the backfield and carry the ball. He can line up in the slot and catch the ball. He can run jet sweeps, end-arounds, and even trick plays where he throws the ball.
If the Jaguars are looking to add athletic playmakers on day three, they are a solid two for two. Denard Robinson is an explosive player and the type of athlete the Jaguars have been lacking in recent years.
Pick Grade: A-
After taking two explosive playmakers with their first two picks of the third day of the draft, the Jaguars changed sides of the ball and selected Josh Evans, a safety from Florida with the 169th overall pick.
Josh blew up the combine from a physical talent perspective. He posted a 6.64-second three-cone time, tops among safeties, and also ran an outstanding 4.10-second 20-yard shuttle. The three-cone drill measures short-area quickness, a trait necessary to play the free safety position. Evans' quickness should help him develop into a solid NFL player.
A free safety, Evans adds depth to the Jaguars' secondary and his addition could potentially spell the end of Chris Prosinski's Jaguars career. With Dwight Lowery already on the roster, Evans makes three free safeties. Lowery isn't going anywhere, so Prosinski is the one who should be feeling the crunch.
The Jaguars apparently REALLY don't like the quarterbacks in this draft; they yet again passed over Zac Dysert and Matt Scott to grab Evans. Though he will start out as a backup to Dwight Lowery and special-teamer, Evans has big-time potential and could eventually be Lowery's replacement on the back end of the Jaguars' defense. It's a solid pick...CBS Sports' Dane Brugler thinks Evans is a third-round talent.
Pick Grade: B+
With the 208th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected cornerback Jeremy Harris from New Mexico State.
Quite honestly, I had no idea who Harris was, so I went to the internet to try to learn more about him. Harris was not invited to the combine, so the only measurements I could find were from his pro day.
Harris is a VERY tall cornerback; he measured 6' 3" at his pro day. He's extremely light for a tall player, weighing in at only 181 pounds, and definitely needs to get stronger, as he only benched 225 pounds five times. His 4.48-second 40-yard dash, though, is extremely impressive for a player his size.
Gus Bradley's scheme calls for long cornerbacks, and Harris definitely fits the bill. New Jaguars defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker was Harris' college coach at New Mexico State, so it's obvious Walker's input played a factor in this selection.
For a player I had never heard of, Harris seems to have solid measurables and with some time in an NFL weight room could have an opportunity to become a contributor at some point down the road. It's extremely difficult to grade a pick I've never heard of, but it's tough to go wrong in the 7th round.
Pick Grade: C+
The Jaguars decided to spend the 210th pick in this year's draft, their final selection, on a third cornerback, grabbing Appalachian State corner Demetrius McCray.
I've at least heard of McCray, but I don't know a whole lot about him either, so I went to nfldraftscout.com again for more info. McCray is also fairly tall, measuring in at 6' 1" at the combine. He ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash with an outstanding 1.50-second split over 10 yards.
McCray fits the same bill as the Jeremy Harris: he's a tall cornerback with solid speed that needs to add weight and get stronger. Once he does, though, he has the potential to contribute and even possibly start down the road.
The Jaguars obviously felt a need to address their secondary, as the addition of McCray makes five of eight picks spent upgrading the back end of the defense.
McCray and Harris are similar picks, and to me that means they deserve similar grades.
Pick Grade: C+