Jacksonville Jaguars 2014 Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
With 11 selections at their disposal, this year's draft provides Jaguars general manager David Caldwell and second-year head coach Gus Bradley with ample opportunity to rebuild the core of this roster.
Starting on Thursday night and continuing through the final rounds of the draft on Saturday, we'll be here bringing you all of the latest Jaguars news as it happens.
Stick around, grab a cold beverage and most importantly, enjoy the 2014 NFL draft!
Jaguars Draft Blake Bortles No. 3 Overall
In what came as a massive surprise, the Jaguars' administration decided to spend the No. 3 overall pick on UCF quarterback Blake Bortles.
The 6'5", 235-pound Bortles has all of the physical tools you'd want in a quarterback.
Talking about some of his strengths on the field, Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) wrote:
Good height and a NFL-build. Very athletic mover and picks up chunks of yards with his legs. Anticipates pressure and uses his mobility to move the pocket. Quick feet with very good pocket footwork and maneuverability.
Climbs well and keeps his eyes downfield. Good set up and delivery with a balanced base and quick eyes to survey his reads and take what is there. Terrific peripheral vision and feel to see the entire field. Above average poise and accuracy under pressure. Efficient decisions and always under control of the situation.
Both guys have good arm strength, tremendous size and are a handful to take down in and around the pocket.
Bortles is definitely a player you didn't expect to see get taken this early in the draft—especially with guys like Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins and Johnny Manziel still on the board.
But he's a franchise-caliber quarterback, and that my friends is still the most vital position in the National Football League.
Jaguars Draft WR Marqise Lee No. 39 Overall
Blake Bortles now has a No. 1 wide receiver to throw the football to in USC's Marqise Lee.
Lee was a player who displayed a complete skill set on film. Racking up 248 receptions for 3,655 yards receiving and 29 touchdowns, he was dominant during his tenure in Southern Cal.
Despite being listed at 6'0", the USC Trojan pass-catcher plays a lot bigger than his frame indicates.
Like the 6-0, 204-pound Cruz, Lee lacks the frame to wow scouts but his agility, acceleration and soft hands make him a natural playmaker. It is unknown whether Lee can salsa, but he's a breathtaking talent who should have plenty of opportunities to develop touchdown dances of his own in the NFL
Look, the Jaguars desperately needed a wide receiver with Justin Blackmon's future up in the air. Lee is a polished, experienced prospect who without question has enough talent to come in on Day 1 and contribute in a positive way.
[TRADE] Jaguars Draft WR Allen Robinson No. 61 Overall
The Jaguars continued their quest to go after big time wide receivers when they traded up with the San Francisco 49ers and selected Allen Robinson out of Penn State.
At 6'3", 220 pounds, Robinson is a bigger target than his counterpart Marqise Lee.
On film, he can work back to the ball and use his extensive frame to shield opposing defensive backs away at the point of attack.
Clearly the Jaguars have made the decision to move past Justin Blackmon. On top of that, they have now given Blake Bortles a stash of offensive weapons he can mature with over the next couple of seasons.
All in all, this was a fantastic way for the hierarchy in Jacksonville to upgrade their aerial attack.
[TRADE] Jaguars Draft OG Brandon Linder No. 93 Overall
The Jaguars' brass decided to trade back into the third round and select University of Miami offensive guard Brandon Linder with the 93rd overall pick.
Linder looks the part of the an NFL offensive linemen. Standing at a towering 6'6" and weighing 311 pounds, he has enough size and technique to compete right away for a starting spot at guard.
After landing two stud wide receivers to help their quarterback out, Caldwell went out and beefed up the offensive line bringing in a mauler like Linder.
This pick addressed a major need for the Jags. A need that was magnified when last year's starting offensive guard Uche Nwaneri was cut earlier this offseason.
Jaguars Draft CB Aaron Colvin No. 114 Overall
The Jaguars couldn't wait any longer. They decided that Round 4 was the right time to draft Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin.
Colvin is an outstanding defensive back prospect.
During his time playing in a Sooners uniform he was a disciplined, savvy player who showcased above average ball-skills and a willingness to come up and get his hands dirty in run support.
The only reason Colvin fell this far down the board is because he suffered a torn ACL during Senior Bowl practices earlier this year. Had it not been for that unfortunate twist of fate, we would all be talking about him being a late-first or early-second round selection.
Colvin may have to sit out this season as he heals, but the potential that he's shown time after time on tape, makes this a superb pick for the Jaguars.
Jaguars Draft LB Telvin Smith No. 144 Overall
Fresh off winning a BCS National Championship, Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith is now the newest member of the Jaguars' linebacker corps.
Smith is talented there's no question about that, but he was one of the players who Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported had "failed" his drug test at the 2014 combine.
On tape, Smith is an instinctive, ultra-fast linebacker who's showed countless times that he has no issues whatsoever bouncing all over the field and making plays.
Standing at 6'3", and weighing a meager 218 pounds, he still has plenty of room to bulk up—something he's going to have to do if he wants to play weak-side linebacker in the NFL.
While scouting Smith, Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) highlighted some of his strengths:
Fluid in his cover drops and plays natural in space. Easy for blockers to underestimate his speed, bursting into the backfield with a fiery temperament. Excellent read/react instincts to diagnose and attack without hesitation. Light, but physical and won't shy from point of attack contact, tackling through his target and taking on blocks to find the quickest route to the ballcarrier.
Caldwell has done an excellent job addressing his team's biggest needs. You may question the picks, but you can't question the fact that he's doing his very best to shore up weak spots on this roster.
Smith is just another example of that.
Jaguars Draft DE/OLB Chris Smith No. 159 Overall
Arkansas edge-rusher Chris Smith is a perfect fit for the what the Jaguars are trying to do on defense.
One of the players I had listed as a top Day 3 target, Smith has a quick enough first-step to get off the line of scrimmage in a hurry and find the quarterback.
Right now, the Jaguars have defensive ends Chris Clemons and Jason Babin currently on the roster—and that's ok. Smith comes into a good situation where he'll be able to soak up everything he can from those two veterans while refining his technique.
At 6'1", 266 pounds, he is a well-built prospect who shows off great closing speed.
In Round 5, Smith provides this defense with a rotational pass-rusher in the interim who should be able to take over as the Jags' full-time "Leo" down the line.
Jaguars Draft C Luke Bowanko No. 205 Overall
Brad Meester's retirement at the end of the 2013 season cleared the way for the Jaguars to try and find his replacement during the draft.
With the 209th overall pick, Caldwell decided that one guy who may be able to fill those shoes is Virginia's Luke Bowanko.
If nothing else, Bowanko is another big linemen. He measured in at 6'5" and weighs 293 pounds.
Bowanko played a multitude of positions while at Virginia.
According to Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com, he spent time playing right guard in 2011, before switching over to center shortly after that—he also took limited reps at left guard last season.
He isn't the most compelling prospect at this point in the draft—Bowanko was ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's 18th-best center—but if the team believes he can be a good fit for their zone-blocking scheme, the pick makes sense.
Jaguars Draft RB Storm Johnson No. 222 Overall
The Jaguars 2014 NFL draft concluded with the team selecting running back Storm Johnson.
A teammate of Blake Bortles down at UCF, Johnson comes to the Jaguars as one of the more underated runners in the entire 2014 class.
Breaking down what he does well on film, NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki wrote:
Excellent size and strength to run between the tackles. Has quick feet, gets out of the blocks well and shows some giddyup for a bigger back. Nice leg drive and forward lean. Surprisingly slippery. Good open-field ability -- displays nice peripheral vision and elusiveness to run to daylight. Creates after the catch -- can turn a screen or dump-off into a long gain. Scheme-versatile.
Picking Johnson in Round 7 was a great way to not only give Toby Gerhart some relief, but it also provides Bortles with a guy he's comfortable with.
Simply put, it was the icing on the cake that Caldwell and Bradley were looking for as they wrapped things up on Saturday.