Looking Ahead to Jacksonville Jaguars' 2014 Draft

Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

Looking Ahead to Jacksonville Jaguars' 2014 Draft

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    With 10 picks in the upcoming 2014 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a chance to drastically improve their franchise in just a few days.

    Entering their bye week at 0-8, it looks like there's a pretty good chance the Jaguars will end up with the first pick in next year's draft.

    Using film study and a series of advanced NFL statistics, this mock draft was created to address some of the biggest holes the Jaguars need to fill on the both sides of the football.

    So without further delay, it's time to start the slideshow below and take a look ahead at the Jacksonville Jaguars' 2014 draft.

     

    *All stats courtesy of ESPN.com unless noted otherwise.

    *All advanced stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required) unless noted otherwise.

Round 1: Quarterback

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    More than anything else, having a franchise quarterback in the NFL can propel your team into the stratosphere of success.

    That's why, without question, the Jaguars have to go out and select their quarterback of the future in the first round.

    The obvious name that comes to mind when you talk about quarterbacks and the 2014 draft is University of Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater.

    Completing 73.7 percent of his passes to go along with 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions, Bridgewater has looked calm, cool and collected in the face of adversity.

    Generating lots of praise from scouts, Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller said that in the past decade, Bridgewater is the second-highest graded quarterback he's ever seen behind only Andrew Luck.

    If this young man can live up to the hype, the Jaguars will finally have a chance to acquire the franchise quarterback they have desperately been seeking.

    Outside of Bridgewater, another quarterback who the Jaguars may consider taking is Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.

    While there's no guarantee he will leave school to enter the draft, Mariota is a remarkable NFL prospect.

    Throwing 20 touchdowns and zero interceptions, Mariota has shown off his outstanding skill set and leadership ability this season.

    If he does enter the draft, what may push the Jaguars to draft Mariota over Bridgewater is his versatility.

    Whether it's his ability to play in just about any scheme or his Superman-like instincts to evade pressure, Mariota's upside is limitless.

    No matter who they decide to pick on draft day, adding a franchise quarterback has to be priority No. 1 for the Jaguars in 2014.

Round 2: Defensive Line

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Entering the second round of the draft, the Jaguars will have the chance to add another elite NFL prospect to their roster.

    With a franchise quarterback now in play, the front office must turn its focus to the defensive side of the football.

    According to Pro Football Focus, aside from defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, the Jaguars don't have anyone who can rush the quarterback.

    With a pass-rush grade of minus-15.5 as a team, the Jaguars have to consider using this pick to select a player who can make an immediate impact on the defensive line.

    Although he may end up going late in the first round, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley would be a perfect remedy for the Jaguars' needs.

    A disruptive edge-rusher, Beasley would provide this lethargic defensive line with a serious shot of energy.

     

    Other Prospects Worth Drafting

    1. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford
    2. OLB/DE Adrian Hubbard, Alabama
    3. DE Ben Gardner, Stanford

Round 3: Defensive Back

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    One thing you have to like about the 2014 draft class is there seems to be plenty of depth on the defensive side of the ball.

    From rangy cornerbacks to ball-hawking safeties, having a good defensive back on your roster can dramatically alter the complexion of a football game.

    If he falls into the third round, Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner could be one heck of an addition for this secondary.

    With the ability to play both cornerback and safety, Joyner's versatility is something this defense desperately needs.

    Watching Joyner on film, you notice right away that he has exceptional burst and vision on the field. 

    But what makes Joyner such an intriguing NFL prospect is that he possesses a Yokozuna-sized heart—for a great look into Joyner's background, check out this article by Seminoles.com managing editor Brandon Mellor.

    Although he's only 5'8", Joyner has shown during his time at Florida State that he is a player who can consistently find the football.

    With the Jaguars looking to add an influx of playmakers to this roster, drafting Joyner here makes a lot of sense.

     

    Other Prospects Worth Drafting

    1. CB Quandre Diggs, Texas
    2. FS Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
    3. SS Corey Moore, Georgia

Round 4: Running Back

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Playing in the final year of his contract, odds are running back Maurice Jones-Drew won't be back in Jacksonville next season.

    With a void now at the running back position, the fourth round seems like an appropriate time to go after a set of fresh legs. 

    If you look at CBS Sports' running back rankings, it appears that a lot of talented players could fall into this round. That means the Jaguars can go after a high-quality player and not be forced to pay him first-round money.

    From USC's Silas Redd to James Wilder Jr. of Florida State, drafting a potential starting running back in the fourth round would be a smart move for the franchise.

     

    Other Prospects Worth Drafting

    1. RB LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
    2. RB Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State
    3. RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

Round 5: Linebacker

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    With three fifth-round draft picks, the Jaguars front office should use this opportunity to try to find a steal at the linebacker position.

    At this point in the draft, there still should be some players who could turn out to be productive pieces for this defense.

    Take Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland, for example.

    At 5'11", Borland isn't your prototypical linebacker. But his elite on-field instincts and unique ability to find his way to the football make him an extremely valuable commodity this late in the draft.

    For the Jaguars, adding linebackers who can bring a new dimension to your football team is always a smart move.

    With three chances to get it right in this round, the time to start drafting these linebackers is now.

     

    Other Prospects Worth Drafting

    1. LB Shaquil Barrett, Colorado State
    2. LB A.J. Tarpley, Stanford
    3. LB Lamin Barrow, LSU

Round 6: Best Player Available

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

    At this point in the draft it's all about selecting the best player available.

    With plenty of holes to fill, the Jaguars have to make sure they select a player with lots of upside.

    That's why although they hypothetically took a running back two rounds earlier, drafting Antonio Andrews out of Western Kentucky makes a ton of sense.

    One of the most versatile players in the draft, Andrews has racked up 1,180 yards rushing and 332 yards receiving so far this season.

    Because of the fact that Andrews' talent far outweighs his projected draft status, drafting this young man would be a great move for the franchise. 

Round 7: Roll the Dice

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    If things fall into place, the Jaguars will have a chance to add another productive player to their roster in the seventh round.

    Two players who make a lot of sense here are Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders and Ohio State safety Christian Bryant.

    If either of these guys fall to the seventh round, general manager David Caldwell would be crazy not to roll the dice on one of them.

    Saunders is a shifty wide receiver who does most of his damage lining up in the slot.

    While his upside as a wide receiver may be limited due to his lack of size and route-running ability, Saunders' skill set would allow him to help out right away on special teams.

    Ohio State safety Christian Bryant is another player who you can't help but like. After suffering a season-ending ankle injury in September, Bryant's draft stock has dipped.

    While he won't dazzle you in coverage, Bryant's ability to lead a defense is the best part about his game.

    According to John Kampf of The News-Heraldwhen Bryant got injured, head coach Urban Meyer was concerned about how his team would replace its defensive leader.

    Drafting a player who commands respect like Bryant would be exactly the type of thing this Jaguars team needs during their rebuilding phase.