Jacksonville Jaguars Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions, Post-Combine
For owner Shad Khan, general manager Dave Caldwell and the rest of the Jacksonville Jaguars organization, the offseason is the most exciting time of the year. When you're coming off of three consecutive seasons without five-plus wins, the offseason is the time when you develop a plan to fix your errors and build a franchise that can compete every season.
That process begins with the NFL draft.
With the third overall pick, the Jaguars need to use that pick and the rest of their selections in the best ways possible. First and foremost, let's look at the Jaguars' needs:
- Defensive Line Depth and Playmakers
- Offensive Tackle
- Outside Linebacker
- Tight End
- Wide Receiver
These are all positions the Jaguars need to upgrade this offseason, whether it be in the draft or free agency.
A deep draft at various positions may allow the Jaguars to get certain quality players they may have otherwise missed out on—an example being the offensive line, where there are a high amount of high quality tackles coming out who can allow the Jaguars to get a solid, young tackle.
The Jaguars will need help at many positions, and not all of their needs will be filled with the draft, especially on the immediate level. But, they may be able to find some immediate playmakers as well as important depth for the future.
With that being said, let's dive into my mock draft for the Jaguars in this year's draft.
Round 1, No. 3 Pick: Leonard Williams
The overall top talent in the draft defensively may be USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams. Williams had a stellar career with the Trojans, and his versatility and experience will be exactly what the Jaguars need for 2015.
Williams has played in every single game for USC since 2012, except for a 2013 game against Cal. His experience and consistency over the three years are quite impressive. If any defensive lineman is ready for the NFL, it's Williams.
It also helps that Williams is a physical behemoth. He is 6'5", 302 pounds, and his stature is a challenge for any lineman to deal with. Williams ran a 4.97 40-yard dash at the combine on Sunday, and for a 300-plus pound lineman, his time is a plus sign in my opinion.
Williams is in great physical shape, and his 300 pounds are not a detractor, but an advantage. Williams can stay on the field for long periods of time, and this is partly due to his versatility on the line.
USC has lined Williams at various positions during his career, and he's showed aptitude and ability just about everywhere. He can pass rush, run defend and even slip back into near coverage when needed.
Williams can just about do it all and may be the defensive game-changer the Jaguars aspire for. However, it's a very real possibility that the Jaguars trade out of their third overall pick.
According to NFL.com's Conor Orr, GM Dave Caldwell is interested in the idea of trading out of the third overall pick.
"I would expect some calls," Caldwell said. "But as you guys in the media know, you pick everything apart and some of the quarterbacks may fall just like some of the quarterbacks predicted to go high last year fell to the late first round. So you don't really know what other teams' value is."
It would be a sensible decision for the Jaguars to make a trade and plan for the future, but there may not be a versatile and useful talent like Williams in the future.
Unlike last year's heralded defensive lineman, Jadeveon Clowney, Williams offers more and can help the Jaguars in a number of ways rather than as a singular pass-rusher.
It will be a hard decision for Caldwell and the Jaguars. But either decision makes plenty of sense, and there's no way to tell what exactly is the right move.
Round 2, No. 4 Pick: Ty Sambrailo
Like first-round mock pick Williams, Ty Sambrailo is massive and athletic. Sambrailo is 6'5", 315 pounds and is as athletic a player you're going to find with those measurements.
The Colorado State tackle has been a key component of the offensive line for all four seasons, garnering seven starts in his freshman year. He started at least 10 games every year after that, and his athleticism and pure size are phenomenal.
Sambrailo had a solid combine and showed specific aptitude at the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, with 7.54-second and 4.58-second times respectively. However, there are some technical aspects Sambrailo needs work on.
For as powerful and quick as Sambrailo is, he sometimes seems slow with the technical parts of his job. He doesn't always use his hands or his leverage to the best of his abilities, and that can cause him to get beat off the snap by athletic defensive ends.
Sambrailo, with the right training from new offensive coordinator Greg Olson and his staff, could be rid of his technical mishaps in a season or two, and he would be immediate competition for either tackle spot.
He isn't a solution for the offensive line woes of 2014, but the Jaguars could certainly turn him into a part of the answer.
Round 3, No. 3 Pick: Lorenzo Mauldin
Lorenzo Mauldin is strong, fast and, above everything else, a hard worker. Mauldin has shown over his four seasons with Louisville that he is about putting in 100 percent every time he's on the field, and that kind of character could be a huge boost for the Jaguars defense.
Mauldin is coming off a consistent couple of years at Louisville and has proved he can handle both the run and the pass. Mauldin had 51 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2014 and was a leader for the Louisville defense.
While undersized for a linebacker at 6'4" and 252 pounds, Mauldin has shown that he can hang with all levels of competition. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with quickness, running a 4.85 40-yard dash and a 4.58 20-yard shuttle.
Mauldin is not the kind of player you can expect to see on every down, but he can fit in a variety of positions and packages and could be the versatile linebacker the Jaguars wanted in Dekoda Watson last season.
More than anything else, head coach Gus Bradley will want players who care and put in the most amount of effort and enthusiasm into every snap. He looks to build a hardworking, positive locker room, and Mauldin would be a perfect fit for that atmosphere.
Also, here's a fun fact: According John Mullin of CSN Chicago, Mauldin is a self-described "feminist."
Round 4, No. 4 Pick: Nick O'Leary
Similar to Mauldin's attitude, Nick O'Leary is a prime example of a hardworking player. O'Leary has played all four years of his time at Florida State, and with every season, his stats and his character have gone up.
O'Leary has improved statistically each season at FSU, and his relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston created some beautiful connections over the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
O'Leary's growth in college culminated in his senior year, in which he recorded 48 receptions, 618 yards and seven touchdowns. O'Leary is incredibly good at getting himself open and using his 6'3", 247-pound build to box out defenders and bring down balls.
He had a solid combine in both strength and speed. He ran a 4.93 40-yard dash and had the fourth-best number of bench press reps with 21. This brings us to O'Leary's second benefit.
O'Leary, if you couldn't guess it by his size, is also a tenacious blocker. He has been used at both the tight end and fullback positions to block, and he may be just as useful in the run game as he is in the passing game.
He will never burn a defender or be the guy who will get huge chunks of yards, but he will be a consistent short-yardage option who can also block when needed. The theme of this mock draft has been versatility, and O'Leary is another good option for the Jaguars for this reason.
This is not to mention that he absolutely loves trucking defenders.
(What I wouldn't give to watch him blow up Vontae Davis in a Jaguars uniform...)
Round 5, No. 3 Pick: Stefon Diggs
The first four picks of this mock draft have been addressing the tougher aspects of football, but Stefon Diggs is going to bring the flash.
Diggs has been one of the most exciting receivers in college football. He blew up in his freshman year at Maryland thanks to the quickness he showed on offense as well as special teams. Diggs is a slot receiver whose quickness can be a major threat once he's got hold of the ball.
His combine wasn't much of a representation of what he can actually bring to a team. Diggs ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and didn't finish in the upper levels of any of his exercises. However, he is better with the technical aspects of being a slot receiver and is reliable at his position.
Diggs also offers something the Jaguars desperately need, and that is a proper returner. Diggs has returned kicks all three years at Maryland and also returned punts his freshman year. Diggs is dangerous on the return, and if he gets a bit of space, he can create big plays.
AT 6'0" and 190 pounds, he isn't much of an outside receiver. However, he can be the player the Jaguars always wanted Ace Sanders to be: a guy who is available on offense but can change the game on special teams.
Like every mock pick in this draft, Diggs also has a good head on his shoulders. Some may say he should've waited until his senior year was finished. But Diggs went through multiple injuries, and no one can blame him for making sure he made it to the NFL while he still could.
Here's a highlight tape of his incredible freshman season, and it actually is "Ridiggulous."
Round 6, No. 4 Pick: Anthony Jefferson
For Jaguars safeties Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans, 2014 was lackluster. There was a lack of big plays that we started to see at the end of the 2013 season, and more than anything right now, they need competition.
UCLA safety Anthony Jefferson could potentially be that competition. Jefferson has played in 25 of the last 26 games and was widely regarded as a consistent part of the Bruins defense.
Jefferson had 89 tackles, two interceptions and recovered two fumbles in 2014, and he is quick to make tackles and plays all over the field. Jefferson could be a potential option for the Jaguars when they need a change at safety, and he would be reliable in almost every case.
Jefferson did not do anything stellar at the combine, posting a 4.72 40-yard dash, 33.5" vertical jump and a 7.18 three-cone drill. However, Jefferson was in good physical condition and seems to be working hard in the offseason.
Jefferson doesn't seem to be good enough to come in and take a safety position; however, his presence could be a looming reminder to Cyprien and Evans that their positions are under fire.
Round 7, No. 3 Pick: Jermauria Rasco
With Jermauria Rasco, we again address "the trenches" of football. Rasco, a defensive end, has been a key role player for the LSU Tigers in 2013 and 2014. He could bring talented depth to the Jaguars roster and has the potential to be more.
Rasco had 68 tackles and four sacks in 2014 and was consistently high in the box scores for his number of tackles. Rasco is smart on and off the field and knows his ability and place on a team.
Rasco is excellent at defending the run, and while he's not as adept at the pass rush, he could learn some tricks from defensive veterans Chris Clemons and Red Bryant.
Rasco's most appealing aspects are his intelligence and his grooming at LSU. Rasco has turned into a potential position player in the NFL, whereas at the beginning of his career at LSU he may have been regarded as a senior-year player at best.
Rasco rounds out this mock draft with the theme that has been apparent in every player mocked: hardworking, smart and NFL-ready.
There is no real way that we can predict what GM Dave Caldwell and the Jaguars may do on draft day. The first-round pick of quarterback Blake Bortles surprised many at the time, and Caldwell may surprise us again.
The Jaguars had a well-rated draft last season, and if they can pick up the positional players they need for the right value, they can continue their draft success this season.
Here's to a productive offseason.
All stats were found at ESPN.com unless otherwise stated.
Evan Reier is a first-year journalism major at the University of Alabama and a member of Bleacher Report's APSM program. Follow Evan on Twitter at @evanreier.