Jacksonville Jaguars' Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions Post Combine
Getting the chance to watch 335 NFL hopefuls go out and compete at the 2014 NFL combine has to be an ominous task for any franchise.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, the conclusion of this historic tradition means that general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley should now have a better understanding of some of the top players on their big board.
Using the minutiae of film study and melding it together with recent news we've heard about the team, it's time to sit back and explore the Jaguars' full 2014 seven-round mock draft—post-combine edition.
All 2014 draft projections provided by NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) unless noted otherwise.
All CFB stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com, unless noted otherwise.
All NFL combine info courtesy of NFL.com, unless noted otherwise.
Round 1: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
By now, football pundits and fans alike understand that Johnny Manziel isn't a "prototypical" NFL quarterback. Plus, looking at some of the other guys who are perceived to be top-tier signal-callers, Manziel isn't even the most polished player in his own draft class.
What makes him such a special field general is the way he embraces creativity both in and outside of the pocket.
The film on the Texas A&M Aggie is out there, and let me tell you, it's a beautiful sight to see.
Going on to compare him to former San Francisco 49ers great Steve Young, the Harry Houdini of college football won over yet another evaluator with his keen understanding of the game and his outlandish style of play on the field.
No matter how you feel about his viability as a starting QB, taking Manziel would invigorate this franchise from the moment his name was called at the lectern.
Discussing the possibility of Manziel ending up in Jaguars uniform, Jeff Reynolds of CBSSports.com indicated: "Caldwell confessed he is genuinely intrigued with Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman in 2013 and rode a roller-coaster calendar year to arrive at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine as one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft."
Assessing the amount of risk involved in drafting Manziel is going to determine whether the GM is willing to pull the trigger on draft day and bring the legend of "Johnny Football" down to Florida.
But, if he believes that the coaching staff can build this franchise around the inventive QB, there's a distinct possibly the kid from Tyler, Texas will be out there making plays for the Jaguars next season.
Round 2: OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
The Jaguars need to inject as many dynamic football players into their roster as they possibly can during the upcoming draft.
BYU's Kyle Van Noy is one of those guys.
On tape, he showed great versatility in attacking the quarterback and getting after ball-carriers in the backfield.
Finishing his final collegiate season with 67 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed and four sacks, the BYU Cougar proved that his game revolves around being a well-rounded football player who thrives on his superb instincts.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) broke down Van Noy's strengths in his extensive scouting notes:
Quick, instinctive linebacker with excellent reaction skills. Athletic enough in coverage, showing balance and change of direction. Locates the ball quickly and provides good effort in pursuit. Impressed at the Senior Bowl with his fluidity and instincts in coverage by closing quickly to bat away multiple passes during practices.
The point has been discussed ad nauseam, but Coach Bradley comes from a place where versatility is an essential ingredient to success—we call that place Seattle.
If Caldwell and Bradley want to emulate the Seattle Seahawks, adding players with assorted skill sets is a good way to start.
Van Noy may not the fastest linebacker in this year's draft—he ran a 4.71-second 40-yard dash at the combine—but his inclination for making plays and getting around the football makes him a diverse athlete with generous upside.
Round 3: CB Keith McGill, Utah
Round 3 is a place where Caldwell and Bradley can go after that Seahawks-like cornerback.
Utah's Keith McGill is a physical playmaker who displays a superb amount of strength in jamming wide receivers at the line of scrimmage on film.
Aside from his physical adroitness, the Utah product impressed at the combine. Running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, he demonstrated that he has the top-end speed to stick with wide receivers at the next level.
Lost beneath his physical attributes is the defensive scheme he cut his teeth under in college. As Lya Wodraska of The Salt Lake Tribune noted, Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake made it a point this past season to implement fresh looks into his defensive philosophy.
But like any prospect, McGill isn't beyond the realm of criticism.
As Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) pointed out: "(McGill) often lines up with his hips open, helping him turn more efficiently to run downfield with receivers. Often sneaks in a strong pop on the receivers deep downfield, which could earn him holding penalties in the NFL."
No matter what, the Jaguars need to upgrade the cornerback position. Going by Pro Football Focus' metrics (subscription required), the only Jacksonville defensive back to finish with a positive grade during the 2013 season was Alan Ball.
Adding a body like McGill into the mix would allow Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich to explore the possibilities of a long-armed cornerback who bodes well in press-coverage situations.
Round 4: WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
Donte Moncrief out of Ole Miss is another talented prospect who's part of this glowing wide receiver class of 2014.
Comparing him to Cleveland Browns enigma Josh Gordon, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller said in his pro comparison video that Moncrief has "Day 1 starting ability."
He may not receive all of the accolades that guys like Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or even Brandin Cooks have gotten, but as NFL Films producer and draft expert Greg Cosell told ESPN's Colin Cowherd, "I really like this guy on film."
Currently projected to fall between the third and fourth round, Moncrief would be more than just a luxury pick at this point.
With the uncertainty surrounding Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Caldwell needs to add another quality target to help keep this offense on the straight and narrow.
Talking to NFL.com's Marc Sessler about Blackmon's future in Jacksonville, Caldwell said, "I think if he comes back, it's a luxury for us. If he doesn't, we have to have a contingency plan. I think we're going to go business as usual. If he comes back, that's a bonus."
On tape, the Ole Miss product has looked good enough at times to be considered a first-round selection, as Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) mentioned when talking about his draft stock:
Perhaps the only thing standing in Moncrief's way of becoming the first "skill-position" player from Mississippi to earn a first round draft selection since Eli Manning (No. 1 overall, 2004) is the question about his straight-line speed. Moncrief was not caught from behind on tapes viewed but the big-bodied receiver may not possess elite timed speed.
After running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the combine, you may not hear those concerns anymore.
Regardless of whether his current projection holds up or he's thrust into the second round, the Jaguars would be wise to keep their sights set on this dynamic wide receiver out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Round 4: OG Anthony Steen, Alabama
Alabama offensive guard Anthony Steen is a mid-round pick who B/R's Matt Miller compared to Ben Grubbs of the New Orleans Saints in his pro comparison video.
Steen is an experienced lineman who spent his collegiate career operating in a pro-style offense under Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
Overall, he shines when you turn on the tape. He's commanding at the line of scrimmage, has great footwork and is able to control opposing defenders using his technical know-how.
Detractors will point to his ceiling as a reason to push him down draft boards. Unlike a Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews, Steen doesn't show enough athleticism or raw power to make him the creme de la creme of this year's offensive line class.
His path for success in the NFL is based off his experience. Playing in Tuscaloosa alongside some of the nation's top talent and coaching warrants him consideration on draft weekend.
If Steen can continue to vigorously improve his game, the Jaguars would be landing a heck of prospect in Round 4.
Round 5: DT/ DE George Uko, USC
Building up the Jaguars defensive line is a project that entails more than just signing free agents.
Though Coach Bradley told Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union that his team would potentially look at defensive linemen in free agency, the draft is still the best way to mine and grow talent.
George Uko out of USC is an interior lineman with grandiose potential. Dubbed as a fifth-round pick, on film, he was used all over the Trojans defensive line in 2013.
The problem is that he's extremely raw, which led to issues in pushing through blocks and making plays in the backfield.
In order to properly evolve as a player, he's going to have to be coached up and polish his technique.
Compared by B/R's Matt Miller to Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen in his pro comparison segment, Uko would be an enticing fifth-round pick that the Jaguars could mold into either a full-time defensive tackle or pass-rusher.
Round 5: RB Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
The impending excursion to free agency for Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is monumental for this franchise on a few levels.
For starters, he will be 29 years old by the time the 2014 season gets under way. Second, in a rebuilding mode, the Jaguars should be looking for young talent to build around instead of throwing out contracts to veteran players with excessive mileage on their tires.
Looking toward the draft for some answers, Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon is a nice late-round pick who could turn out to be a special player for this organization.
He managed to fly under-the-radar during his stint at Georgia Southern mainly due to the fact that the majority of his carries came as a read-option quarterback.
That low-key perception changed at the 2014 NFL combine.
Running a 4.41-second 40-yard dash and posting a 40.5-inch vertical, he had a tremendous day at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Just how good of a performance was it? After analyzing all of the metrics and data, Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal proclaimed that McKinnon had the best day of anyone who attended the combine this year.
A classic small-school prospect who has a chance to rise up draft boards, McKinnon is the type of tailback who has enough speed and vision to help Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch establish an efficient running attack in 2014.
Round 5: C Bryan Stork, Florida State
Longtime Jaguars center Brad Meester's retirement after 15 years with the team leaves a major void on the offensive line.
Going after a player in this year's draft to come in and compete will lead the Jaguars to Florida State center Bryan Stork.
One of the men responsible for protecting Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, he quickly established himself as a savvy interior lineman with sublime instincts.
Studying his game, Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) compared him to New Orleans Saints center Brian De La Puente. Going into further detail about his strengths as a football player, Rang wrote:
Tenacious and technically sound center whose awareness and reliability made him an underrated factor in Jameis Winston's Heisman campaign. Very good initial quickness, whether snapping the ball out of shotgun or the traditional exchange and turning to seal off defenders or releasing to block downfield. Shoots his hands into the chest plate of defenders and plays with his knees bent and butt down, maximizing his leverage.
For a guy with a fourth- or fifth-round grade attached to his name, Stork is a talented, experienced center who could jump in right away and help solidify Jacksonville's offensive line.
Round 6: TE/WR Trey Burton, Florida
Florida's Trey Burton is a bit of a physical anomaly.
At 6'2", 224 pounds, his body type resembles a wide receiver more than a tight end. But, in today's NFL, being a hybrid receiving tight end has become an important commodity for teams that experiment with new offensive philosophies.
At the combine, he had a solid performance. Finishing his 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds, the Florida Gator demonstrated that he has the speed to make a difference in the pros.
Like Jaguars running back Denard Robinson, Burton's draft stock will be predicated on his perceived value as an athlete above anything else. If an offensive coordinator feels like Burton can contribute and grow into an efficient commodity, he would be worth the risk.
Comparisons aren't always fair, but if you watched Burton's tape, at times he resembles Miami Dolphins fullback/tight end Charles Clay.
Catching passes and lining up all over the field, Burton has all the tools to be a diverse weapon in Coach Fisch's scheme.
Round 7: DE Larry Webster, Bloomsburg
The seventh round in the NFL draft is a good time to roll the dice on a prospect with astronomical upside.
Looking at the board, Bloomsburg's Larry Webster fits that profile.
At the combine in Indianapolis, he ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash for a defensive end behind only Jadeveon Clowney.
He possesses so much athletic ability, according to Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com), that a few NFL teams asked Webster about playing tight end.
No matter what position he ends up playing, he is a "project" pick. But at 6'6", 252 pounds, this Bloomsburg product has the measurables to blow up and become a quality contributor at the next level.
If that turns out to be an accurate assessment, you'd have to assume that Caldwell, Bradley and the rest of the Jaguars brass would be over the moon about this seventh-round pick.