With Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft having come and gone, the Jacksonville Jaguars are sitting pretty. They've upgraded three of the weakest positions on the roster by drafting a starter at right tackle, strong safety, and cornerback.
With many roster holes left to be filled, the Jaguars have tons of options for their four remaining picks. Look for Dave Caldwell to target players with the upside to start eventually but that have immediate value as a backup or on special teams.
The Jaguars are extremely excited with the talent they've amassed thus far...let's see how they can add to their haul.
Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley must've gained quite a bit of value from the Senior Bowl. Both their second and third-round picks, Johnathan Cyprien and Dwayne Gratz, played for the North team in Mobile. I believe with this pick, the Jaguars will switch to the South's roster and grab Cornelius Washington, a pass-rusher from the University of Georgia.
Bend is one of the most important qualities for a pass-rusher. It's the ability of the rusher to tilt his body at the waist to slide past an offensive tackle without losing his balance or momentum. Washington has good, but not great, bend, and should be able to get around the edge against NFL offensive tackles. Washington's best quality, however, is his explosiveness off the snap. He has great burst off the ball, and has the ability to convert his speed into power.
Washington also has fantastic stats. At the combine, he ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, a ridiculous time considering he measured in at 6' 4", 265 pounds. He was also a top performer in the bench press (36 reps, most among linebackers), vertical leap (39.0 inches, second to Jamie Collins), and broad jump (10' 8", the third-best distance). Broad jump is a great measure of explosiveness, and Washington definitely possesses that trait.
At Georgia, Washington was not used as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme like teammate Jarvis Jones; rather, he mainly lined up as a five-technique defensive end. At the Senior Bowl, however, the South's coaching staff, led by Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, lined Washington up as a "wide-nine" pass-rusher and told him to get after the quarterback. Washington blew up the Senior Bowl, showing explosive ability to get off the snap and the ability to wreak havoc from the wide-nine defensive end spot.
Many people feel a pass-rushing defensive end is Washington's ideal position in the NFL. As the Jaguars' Leo position is essentially a wide-nine defensive end, Washington would be an ideal fit.
Washington's role his rookie year would likely be as the second Leo on obvious passing downs, and he has the upside to develop into a starter in a year or two.
While I'd love to give you guys a new group of players every time, the purpose of a mock draft is to project who I THINK will be the pick, and I really do see the Jaguars grabbing Matt Scott.
Scott has a connection with new Jaguars quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo, who was Scott's position coach at Arizona. Whether or not that's a positive link remains to be seen, but Scott seems like the type of quarterback prospect the Jaguars are looking for.
Head Coach Gus Bradley have previously stated that they valued the ability to run in a quarterback. They like the way a quarterback who can tuck it and take off can keep defenses honest and create more one-on-one matchups for his receivers.
Scott is one of the few quarterbacks in this draft who have the ability to run for substantial yardage. He's very slight, weighing in at 213 pounds at the combine, but his athleticism was outstanding when compared to the other quarterbacks.
Matt Scott is definitely a developmental quarterback and a player Jaguars fans shouldn't expect to be able to win a job in 2013. However, with a year or two of development both on the practice field and in the weight room, Scott has the potential to challenge for a starting spot down the road or at least become a capable backup.
The Jaguars could potentially be looking to take a back that could develop into a feature back in the future. If that is the case, Mike James makes a lot more sense than Cierre Wood.
James is an inch shorter than Wood (5' 10" to 5' 11"), but weighs ten pounds more (223 to 213). He's built similarly to former Miami running back Frank Gore in that he's a stout player with the ability to deliver a blow. Wood is more of a "beat you to a spot" runner.
New Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch was James' offensive coordinator last year at Miami, and a reunion would be a great scenario for both men. James would be an option off the bench and on special teams, and should already be comfortable in the offense Fisch intends to install.
James is a good fit for the zone-blocking scheme the Jaguars primarily intend to use in 2013, and he has the upside to eventually develop into a starter or reliable rotation back. He would be a great fit in Jacksonville.
After two days, it seems players who only fit specific schemes are falling down the board, while more versatile players are moving up. Price is a player that really only fits a press-man defensive scheme. He doesn't really have the ability to be a factor in zone coverage. Price is definitely better at attempting to mirror the receiver than he is at trying to sit in a zone and make a play on the ball.
Gus Bradley values physical play at the cornerback position, and though he didn't do a whole lot of it at UCLA, Price has the physical talent to play that style of football.
Price's stats are fantastic, especially for a player his size. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at his pro day and measured in at 6' 2", 189 pounds. He's an extremely long, athletic player, and has tons of upside.
If the Jaguars can develop Price into a future starter, this pick would be a home run. As it stands, they would likely be satisfied if he were able to be a solid backup with the ability to contribute on special teams.
Though it's nearly impossible to predict undrafted free agents with four rounds to go, here are some players I think could go undrafted that the Jaguars might be interested in:
Conner Vernon, WR, Duke
Vernon could end up going undrafted due to his slow 40-yard time, but similar to Wes Welker, he has outstanding quickness and the ability to separate from defensive backs. He's primarily a slot receiver. Dave Caldwell has already snagged two players that played in the Senior Bowl, and Vernon participated in the game as well.
Ontario McCalebb, RB, Auburn
McCalebb is likely too slight to be a huge factor on offense, but he does have added value as a kick returner. He blazed a combine-best 4.34-second 40-yard dash and has the explosiveness to make plays with the ball in his hands.
Willie Jefferson, LB, Stephen F. Austin
Jefferson is a monstrous linebacker (6'6", 233 pounds) that racked up 25 sacks over the previous two seasons. Gus Bradley likes big linebackers, and Jefferson has pass-rushing ability as well, giving him a chance to make an impact on defense.
Kyle Juszczyk, FB/TE, Harvard
I had Juszczyk going to the Jaguars in the seventh round of my Day 2 & Beyond mock, but there's a decent chance he'll go undrafted, and if he does I expect the Jaguars to make a play on him. Juszczyk is a versatile H-back/move tight end that can create mismatches in space and contribute as a blocker as well.
Mike Catapano, DE, Princeton
The Ivy League trend continues! Catapano is a defensive end with the size to play the five-technique slot. He racked up 12 sacks last season, and has the upside to develop into a solid rotational player for the Jaguars.