Jacksonville Jaguars Day 2 2014 NFL Draft Primer
After months of speculation regarding whom the Jacksonville Jaguars would select in the first round, general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley decided that UCF quarterback Blake Bortles would be the team's next franchise quarterback.
Selecting Bortles means that a good chunk of the draft should now focus on surrounding him with as much talent as possible.
Wide receivers, offensive linemen, even a running back would help the cause.
Filling out the team's Day 2 primer, we'll recap all of the action from Round 1, check out some potential Day 2 targets and find out what the experts are saying.
As always, this primer will be loaded with predictions and an updated seven-round mock draft.
Last night was just the tip of iceberg. There's plenty of draft still left in the tank.
Day 1 Recap & Analysis
Well, the Jaguars managed to set Twitter on fire when they pulled the trigger and drafted UCF’s Blake Bortles with the third overall pick.
The problem with the pick isn’t necessarily that they took Bortles. It’s that there were still plenty of game-breakers available on the board when the pick was made.
It’s tough to play the “what if” game when it comes to the draft. However, one can’t help but wonder if they could have grabbed a guy like Khalil Mack at No. 3 and landed Bortles later on in the first round—Johnny Manziel, the second quarterback selected, went to the Cleveland Browns at pick No. 22.
Judging how Bortles will perform in Jacksonville isn't fair at this stage. Like every other quarterback prospect, he has both positive and negative elements that accompany his game.
All we have to go on is what we’ve seen on tape, which is littered with highs but also a significant number of lows.
Right after the pick came in, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated talked about some of the things he believes Bortles does well on the field:
Almost every pro-Bortles argument you hear will start with his size. Even though the Seahawks just won a Super Bowl with the comparatively diminutive Russell Wilson running the show, many teams still want QBs who fit Bortles’ 6-5, 232-pound build. He takes advantage of that height, keeping his eyes downfield and using a steady release to avoid having passes swatted at the line. Bortles also moves better than one might expect, both inside and outside the pocket.
The lows start and finish with his spotty mechanics and poor footwork—two elements that are crucial for any successful NFL quarterback.
Bortles is definitely going to be a project for Coach Bradley and his staff, one that will define how we remember the current regime for the rest of the time it's in control of this franchise.
Updated Needs for the Jaguars
Now that you can cross quarterback off the list, the Jaguars’ biggest needs have been reshuffled.
It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback next season; the Jaguars need help at wide receiver.
Justin Blackmon’s uncertain future has created a conundrum that has to be addressed. Day 2 is a great place to do just that.
If you look at the board, guys like USC’s Marqise Lee—who was expected to be selected in the first round—Donte Moncrief out of Ole Miss and Indiana’s Cody Latimer are all still floating around.
Now that Bortles has been nabbed as the quarterback of the future, it would be nice to give him a group of guys with whom he can develop chemistry.
The Jaguars’ rebuilding process has to include fresh blood on the offensive line.
Despite having Luke Joeckel at left tackle and Zane Beadles playing guard, the rest of the line could use a boost.
Improving the line starts with the center position.
Brad Meester’s departure makes targeting one of the top center prospects on Day 2 an easy decision. Luckily, the way the first round played out, all of those guys are still available.
When it comes to guard, the Jags need a mauler. They need a guy who can help improve a run defense that, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), finished as the league’s worst-ranked unit in 2013.
Crafting a great offensive line is the best way to put this team on the right path.
Look, we all know that rebuilding a franchise can be a long, sometimes tedious road. But when you do it the right way, fans tend to forget about all of those “lost” years rather quickly.
Just because the Jaguars didn’t go after Khalil Mack with the No. 3 overall pick doesn’t mean that they don’t need another edge-rusher.
Yes, the team’s defensive line has improved with the additions of Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and the return of Jason Babin. But collectively, the average age of those three guys comes out to be 31.6 years old.
As you know, Coach Bradley is a defensive guy. And defensive guys love players who can get after the quarterback and create turnovers.
Why not go after some young pass-rushers as the draft progresses?
Top Day 2 Targets
The beauty of the NFL draft is that talented players fall into places you’d never expect them to.
You can look at Round 1 as a win for the Jaguars due to the fact that some of the top wide receivers are still available. The same goes for some of the top offensive linemen and a handful of pass-rushers.
Day 2 is going to be the place where the Jaguars’ draft plan starts to really unfold.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Had you told me last night that USC wide receiver Marqise Lee would fall out of the first round, I probably would have laughed. But low and behold, it happened.
Lee is a tremendous value pick at this point. He’s a day-one, pro-ready talent who can take over for Justin Blackmon.
What you saw on tape from this young man was that he has all of the tools you’d want in a complete wide receiver.
He’s fluid, he can change direction on a dime, and, despite being just 6’0” tall, Lee plays much bigger than his size.
It would be hard to imagine Caldwell passing on him if he somehow falls to the Jaguars at pick No. 39.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Donte Moncrief has to be the most slept-on wide receiver in the draft.
Considering all of the media coverage that’s been dispersed throughout the offseason, Moncrief has found a way to steer clear of the spotlight.
When he gets to the NFL, you’re going to remember his name.
Put on any tape you want, and what you'll see is one of the most dynamic talents around.
Moncrief runs like a deer—he posted a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He can erupt off the line of scrimmage, and his ball skills are second to none.
Lee is the “safe” pick at wide receiver. Moncrief, on the other hand, is the guy who could turn out to be the next Josh Gordon.
Marcus Martin, C, USC
If we leave the land of wide receivers, there are some accomplished centers available in Round 2.
USC’s Marcus Martin may be the best one of the bunch.
At 6’3”, 220 pounds, Martin already has that prototypical “NFL-style” body you look for in a center prospect. He’s a strong player on film who plays with a bit of an edge.
It seems like every time he’s out there on the field, he’s trying to launch opposing defensive linemen out of the stadium toward the nearest Arby’s.
From what he saw on tape, Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) compared Martin to Cleveland Browns All-Pro center Alex Mack. Explaining why he feels like that comparison works, Rang said:
Mack was among the more polished and talented centers in recent history when he left Cal and was selected by the Browns with the 21st overall pick of the 2009 draft. Martin isn't yet at this stage but his upside is clear, as is his grit and physicality. With dedication to his craft, Martin could emerge as a quality starter in the NFL.
That's high praise for a guy who will still be on the board when Round 2 gets underway.
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Well, that didn’t take long.
We’re back on the wide receiver express as Indiana’s Cody Latimer gets the nod as a Day 2 target.
Latimer became a trendy pick to be taken in the first round after he ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
That’s a big factor when you consider this guy is 6’3” and weighs about 215 pounds. A rare blend of speed and size like that makes it tough for teams to overlook him in the second round.
It might sound crazy, but Latimer’s biggest asset isn’t his speed.
It’s his great hands and the fact that he's able to create separation with his route-running ability.
He may not be able to assault a defense down the field like Moncrief can, but Latimer is a gifted player in his own right.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Sometimes a great tight end can be even more useful than a wide receiver.
For that reason, Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro would be a nice haul for the Jaguars.
He’s a hybrid tight end who can line up in the slot or put his hand in the dirt and attack a defense from more of a “traditional” approach.
Amaro may not be as gifted as those guys, but he’s an effective route-runner who could be used as a “joker” in Coach Fisch’s offensive scheme.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Defense finally rears its head as Stanley Jean-Baptiste rounds out the top Day 2 targets for the Jags.
It’s not a secret that Coach Bradley worked with guys like Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner up in Seattle. At 6’3”, Jean-Baptiste is cut from that same cloth.
If Bradley wants a physical grinder who can give wide receivers a headache at the line of scrimmage, this would be one pick that would make a lot of sense in Round 2.
Jean-Baptiste may play physical, but he’s still very raw. He can get up in a wide receiver's face, but he has issues when it comes to his tackling.
Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich would have to work with him to help him realize his true potential.
If reached, that potential would present a problem for all of the top pass-catchers in the AFC South.
What Are the Experts Saying?
Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union
Ryan O’Halloran reiterated what we touched on earlier. There are too many options at wide receiver for Caldwell not to roll the dice.
The theory is simple: Draft a QB, then find him a No. 1 target in the next round.
Failing to strike while the iron's hot may result in the Jaguars missing out on landing another first-round talent.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller: Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Matt Miller keeps the wide receiver conversation alive with his prediction that the Jaguars will draft Donte Moncrief in Round 2.
As I touched on earlier, Moncrief is a stud. There’s so much talent there just waiting to be unleashed.
If he can polish up some of the rough edges around his game, he could end up being one the top wide receivers in the entire draft.
Jacksonville.com’s Hays Carlyon
Like O’Halloran, Hays Carlyon mentioned on Twitter a few wide receiver prospects he thought stood out: "Looking at Round 2, prospects that stand out are USC WR Marqise Lee, Missouri DE Kony Ealy and Vandy WR Jordan Matthews. #Jaguars."
But the interesting part about his tweet is that he named Missouri edge-rusher Kony Ealy as a guy whom the Jaguars may want to consider.
Ealy fits the role of a “Leo” because his athleticism would allow him to work in space, while getting after the quarterback.
He’s a diverse prospect who can get off the line of scrimmage in a hurry. Of all the pass-rushers in the draft, Ealy may actually have the best arsenal of moves.
4 Predictions for Day 2
The Jaguars Will Trade Back into Round 2 to Land a Center
With 10 picks remaining in the draft, the Jaguars have plenty of ammunition to climb back into the second round.
If they draft a wide receiver and one of their “top” centers is still on the board a few picks later, why not go after him?
Depth is important, but so is drafting elite talent.
Gus Bradley Will Push for a Pass-Rusher
We all understand that edge-rushers are vital if you want to run a successful Cover 3 defense.
Even though they signed some veterans in free agency, drafting a dynamic quarterback slayer would certainly be a nice way for Bradley to put his stamp on this team.
Guys like Kony Ealy, Demarcus Lawrence, Jeremiah Attochu and Kareem Martin are all ideal candidates to fill that position.
The Jaguars Will Take a Cornerback in Round 3
Cornerback is a need, and Round 3 is the perfect time to address that need.
Consider this: Say there’s a run on wide receivers, pass-rushers and offensive linemen in Round 2. That would allow Caldwell to trade some of the team's late-round picks so that he could select two quality cornerbacks in the third round.
The Jaguars Will Stay Away from “Risky” Picks
Caldwell may opt to play it safe and draft an offensive lineman in the second round in lieu of a wide receiver.
There's a chance that he believes the “top” guys left on the board aren’t much different from some of the other pass-catchers in the draft.
Why roll the dice on a risky pick when you can draft a cornerstone center or offensive guard instead?
Updated Jaguars Mock Draft
Round 2, Pick No. 39: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
USC's Marqise Lee is polished. There's no getting around that.
He can move in and out of breaks, stretch the field and win at the point of attack.
Blake Bortles is going to need some targets he can grow with. Lee would definitely be one of those guys.
Round 3, Pick No. 70: Trai Turner, OG, LSU
LSU's Trai Turner in Round 3 is a perfect fit for the Jaguars.
At 6'3", 310 pounds, he's a machine in run-blocking situations.
This roster needs someone who can dominate in the trenches. Once Turner learns how to become a complete football player, he has a real shot to be the most productive guard in the entire 2014 class.
Round 4, Pick No 105: E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
E.J. Gaines is a productive cornerback who always finds a way to show up on film.
At 5'10", he has a knack for breaking up passes and sticking with wide receivers down the field. As a fourth-round pick, Gaines would be a great fit for Coach Bradley and Co.
Round 4, Pick No. 114: Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa
At 6'2", 233 pounds, Iowa linebacker Christian Kirskey may be considered "undersized." But when you turn on the tape, this young man plays with a chip on his shoulder.
He's got a great feel for where he is on the field at all times and can absolutely fly to the football.
The Jaguars need help at linebacker and adding a productive player like Kirksey is a good way to address that need.
Round 5, Pick No. 144: Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
Another Pac-12 guy lands in Jacksonville in Round 5.
Josh Huff is a burner. He's an outstanding athlete who can overwhelm cornerbacks at times with his strength.
You can't say it enough: Adding more weapons for Bortles is key. Huff brings depth and balance to the Jaguars' wide receiver corps.
Round 5, Pick No. 150: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Oklahoma's Aaron Colvin is an awesome football player.
Had he not suffered an ACL injury during Senior Bowl practices, Colvin could have been a first-round pick.
He may have to sit out a season—like the San Francisco 49ers did with running back Marcus Lattimore last year—but the reward is worth it.
Colvin has everything you'd want in a top-flight NFL cornerback.
Round 5, Pick No. 159: Aaron Lynch, DE, USF
Putting value on pass-rushers is a philosophy any defensive coach can appreciate.
The Jaguars could use a boost off the edge, and that makes USF's Aaron Lynch a good fit in Round 5.
At 6'5", he has the ideal length you'd want in an edge-rusher. That type of size makes it easier for Lynch to push the pocket, disengage quickly and find his way to the quarterback.
Right now he's still an incredibly raw talent, which makes him more of a development pick at this stage in his career.
Round 6, Pick No. 179: Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
Of all the running backs in this year's class, Arizona State's Marion Grice may be the most explosive.
Grice reminds you at times on film of C.J. Spiller or LeSean McCoy. He's a shifty runner who can catch passes and turn a small gain into something special.
Bortles would love to have a player who can catch passes out of the backfield and work with him out of the shotgun on third downs.
Round 6, Pick 205: Bryan Stork, C, Florida State
Missing out on USC's Marcus Martin makes Bryan Stork a good value pick in the sixth round.
Stork has a ton of experience and will be able to find a place on this roster from the jump. He may have physical limitations, but he understands the game and displays proper technique on film.
Round 7, Pick 222: Xavier Grimble, TE, USC
There's still a need for a quality tight end in Jacksonville, and USC's Xavier Grimble might turn out to be that guy.
He has good speed, and being 6'4"allows him to line up all over the field.
Grimble was a victim of former USC head coach Lane Kiffin's scheme, which didn't put a ton of emphasis on the tight end position.
As a seventh-round selection, there's no real disadvantage to taking a flyer on the USC big man.
All 2014 draft projections provided by NFLDraftScout.com (viaCBSSports.com), unless noted otherwise. All CFB stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com unless noted otherwise. Combine results courtesy of NFL.com.