With rare exceptions, every NFL team is trying to improve in at least a couple of areas each offseason. And it’s the case for the three teams that we cover in this state- looking to shore up or better certain positions and contributors.
Let’s start with the Jagaurs.
Off a surprise AFC South winning 2017, and then two post season wins that got them to the AFC title game, it could have be easy for Jaguars to stand pat with a lot of the young talent that they have accumulated. However, VP of Football Tom Coughlin, GM Dave Caldwell and Co. have been aggressive in free agency. Going and grabbing Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, Colts WR Donte Moncreif, and Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed that the Jags intentions to go after quick fixes at certain positions.
Now, what can they focus in on for the draft coming up?
Picking at the end of the first round, the Jags could go a couple of directions, like linebacker for example. That’s where, even though they have up and coming young stars like Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, veteran Paul Posluszny retired last month.
If they are inclined to look in the first and the second rounds, names like Rashaan Evans of Alabama, Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State or Josey Jewell of Iowa are expected to be there.
The Jags could also be looking for yet another tight end and names like Hayden Hurst of South Carolina, and Jordan Akins of UCF could be in play for them, too.
Next, the Buccaneers have two primary needs.
One, GM Jason Licht kind of addressed in free agency and that’s pass russh, especially on the ends. Signing Vinny Curry from the Eagles and trading for Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants, means the Bucs can be patient, if they want for the draft. The top name, Bradley Chubb of N.C. State will be gone by their seventh overall spot. So, if they are waiting until the second round, the names who will likely be there will be Sam Hubbard of Ohio State, Andre Key of LSU and Duke Ejiofor of Wake Forest.
However, the bigger need is running back. And unlike defensive line, the Bucs let starter Doug Martin leave and didn’t sign a veteran to come in to compete with youngster Peyton Barber.
Now, just like with Chubb, it’s almost impossible to see a scenario where Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is still available at #7. Someone will draft or trade up to draft him, before that pick. And, there’s not another stud worth a top ten selection.
Will the Bucs entertaining trading down in the first round and still target a running back? Names like Derrius Guice of LSU, Sony Michel of Georgia (above) and others will be there, as the first round goes on. And into the top of the second round, names like Ronald Jones of USC, Rashaad Penny of San Diego State and Michel’s teammate Nick Chubb of Georgia will likely be there, too.
It’s a safe assumption the Bucs will take a back with one of their first two picks. Let’s see, if that holds.
Finally, the Dolphins seemingly have a couple of pressing needs, too.
VP of Football Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier did sign veteran running back with Frank Gore, but also lost Damien Williams to free agency, too. and that means, only Kenyan Drake remains from the backfield of 2017. So, while picking at #11 you can look at the same names and possible slots, as the Bucs above.
Miami could also go QB, although at #11, the top four names of Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Mayfield may all be gone. Would they trade up to get one of those? Or, wait for names like Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph, etc?
Keep an eye on the name Vita Vea, a defensive tackle from Washington.
The Dolphins need a young replacement in the middle for Ndamukong Suh, who left in free agency. Is 11 too soon to take him? Might they trade down and still get him? Could be.
The suspense and drama will build over the next couple of weeks. But, your needs at this point are your needs.
And you can bet in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami they are going over those needs, constantly.
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