The Jacksonville Jaguars have an intriguing roster. A year removed from very disappointing season they come into this draft with the same potential but new leader. The first draft under new Coach Doug Marrone. We saw him take a QB in his first draft as Bills Head coach in EJ Manuel. This time around things could be different.
With up and down QB Blake Bortles the Jags could attempt to build through him and hope to see his 2015 version. If they can reclaim that then they could have a special team on their hands accompanied by a young and hungry defense. At pick 4 we could see the Jags go in a couple different directions:
First the Jags can stay at 4 and address 1 of 2 possible holes on offense running back or tight end. In Bortles defense the Jags rushing attack hasn’t been special ranking 27th in 2015 and 22nd last season. The tandem of T.J. Yeldon (465 rushing yards) and Chris Ivory (439) didn’t spark as many yards as expected. With pick 4 the Jags can choose from the roll call of prominent running backs: Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffery, and Dalvin Cook. With the ability to add the best back in the class in Fournette, it’s looking like a match made for both sides, and the Jags can give Bortles a much-needed stress reliever and true work horse back.
Second, The Jags can address the other need on the offensive end with top tight end prospect O.J. Howard. Howard can do it all block, run, and catch and has the ability to line up on the outside. Howard, Allen Hurns, and Allen Robinson on the field together sure sounds like a problem for AFC South opponents. Julius Thomas last year’s tight end was ranked the 36th best tight end by football outsiders. In 2014 Marrone’s best year in Buffalo, his tight end Scott Chandler, ranked 26h.
Chandler had 497 yards which was 8 more yards than Thomas had in his break out campaign with Denver. The addition of Howard could prompt a spike in the Tight end usage in Jacksonville and lead to the offense getting over the hump and strike for gold in the AFC South.
Finally, everyone’s least favorite: the trade down. While many feel that Bortles may not be the guy, for this scenario, we will say he is, and he will turn back to his 2015 self and lead this team.
So, we will draft around him and trade down.
With the new selection, the Jags can go after an offensive lineman without over drafting and still help Bortles and the offense. With the addition of Branden Albert to go along with Brandon Linder (5th ranked center pro football focus) and LG Patrick Omameh ( No. 19), a good choice will be Forrest Lamp. Lamp, out of Western Kentucky, is regarded as one of the best lineman in this class and can instantly improve the Jags offense. Though not a “sexy” pick this will help stabilize an offense line that ranked as the 22nd best O-Line.
All in all, The Jags have the ability at four or any other pick in this draft to start putting this franchise in the right direction and put their darker yesterdays into brighter tomorrows.