2012 NFL Draft: 5 Receivers the Jacksonville Jaguars Should Target
Through three weeks, the trio of Mike Thomas, Jason Hill and Cecil Shorts have been completely ineffective, and will have the Jaguars in need of a true playmaker in April's draft.
Most fans in Jacksonville are clamoring for the Jaguars to spend a first-round pick on either Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State or Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina, but that seems like a long shot.
Currently, the Jaguars have an equally pressing need on the defensive side of the football, and I expect them to find Aaron Kampman's eventual replacement in a prospect like Brandon Jenkins of Florida State. General Manager Gene Smith passed on a pass rusher in the 2011 Draft for Blaine Gabbert, and I don't expect that to happen again with a defensive-minded GM like Smith.
There is plenty of value at receiver in this year's class, and I expect the Jaguars could address that need as early as the second round, when Blackmon and Jeffery will likely be off the board.
Here are the five receivers I expect the Jaguars to entertain in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
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I consider Michael Floyd the third best wide receiver prospect behind Blackmon and Jeffery, but off-the-field concerns may make him a long-shot at becoming a Jaguar.
Gene Smith doesn't take as many chances of low-character individuals as his predecessor, James "Shack" Harris. The Jaguars were burned by off-the-field issues throughout the 2000's, with individuals like Matt Jones, who spent more time holding rolled-up dollar bills than he did catching footballs.
Floyd is a talented guy, but his DUI arrest in the spring, which caused him to be dismissed from the team before ultimately being reinstated, could also cause his stock to drop in the eyes of some GMs.
He could end up in Jacksonville, but I expect Smith to allow his stock to slide much more than most other GMs.
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
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Either type of receiver will work for Jacksonville, because they have neither right now.
Fuller has plenty of speed for his size, 6'3" and 215 pounds, but he is faster speed coming out of breaks than he is in the open field. He uses his body very well, and is overall a very good route runner.
If the Jaguars make a move on a guy like Fuller, who I like a lot, expect to see Mike Thomas spend more time in the slot, where he is naturally suited.
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
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Broyles is a great receiver that could drop late into the second or even early third round because of his lack of size.
At 5'11", Broyles may not be an ideal fit for the Jaguars, who already have an undersized group of receivers, headlined by the 5'8" Mike Thomas.
However, if you are simply looking for a playmaking, field-stretching receiver, maybe Broyles is your guy.
Broyles could also be dangerous enough to help the Jaguars as a return man, which is something they desperately need at the moment.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Jaguars go after Broyles in the second round, and potentially a bigger, more imposing target like Wisconsin's Nick Toon late in the draft.
Pairing together two young studs like Broyles and Toon with QB Blaine Gabbert wouldn't be a bad idea, right Jags' fans?
Damarlo Belcher, Indiana
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Damarlo Belcher is an intriguing prospect.
Indiana isn't exactly a football factory, and Belcher's name isn't well known, but Gene Smith loves guys who come out of nowhere.
Belcher could represent a great value selection in the fifth or sixth round for Jacksonville, and is a guy who would likely step in as an immediate red zone threat.
Belcher is a fantastic athlete, who is 6'5" and weighs 200 pounds. If you think he's just a big guy that can't run, you're wrong.
While Belcher won't wow you with his speed on tape, he is surprisingly shifty and figures to run in the high 4.4 range.
Furthermore, Belcher is prone to making remarkable catches, and has excellent concentration on the football.
It helps to be the size of a power forward.
Chris Owusu, Stanford
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Expect Owusu's stock to continue to climb.
Being Andrew Luck's primary target after the departure of Doug Baldwin has Owusu off to a fast start in 2011.
He possesses all the tools you look for in a potential No. 1 wide receiver, including a 6'2", 200 pound frame.
In addition, Owusu has trustworthy hands and enough elusiveness to do something after the catch.
While I wouldn't classify him as a "burner," he does get some separation and would likely be the Jaguars' No. 1 receiver shortly into his rookie year.