After a miserable season the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves with a new general manager, a new head coach and the second pick of the draft. There were a variety of directions the franchise could go considering all the holes on the roster. In the end Jacksonville decided to draft players with limited downside in the early going.
Luke Joeckel/T/Texas A&M (Round 1, pick #2): With the second selection the Jaguars debated between trading down, selecting defender Dion Jordan of Oregon or drafting whichever tackle fell to them. Hence when Joeckel tumbled into their laps the job was made much easier. Its a solid pick for the Jaguars who receive an NFL-ready prospect with minimal downside. Our only red-flag with this selection is the recent announcement that Joeckel will line up at right tackle while former first round pick Eugene Monroe stays on the left side. We never viewed Joeckel as a right tackle and feel his pass protections skills far outweigh his run blocking ability. Its a situation that must be monitored moving forward.
Jonathan Cyprien/S/Florida International (Round 2, pick #33): Cyprien built a buzz coming out of the Senior Bowl, though its something I never understood. He’s a good safety, a good athlete and a good prospect. Yet Cyprien is not outstanding in any single aspect. That said, he should be a day one starter for Jacksonville.
Dwayne Gratz/CB/UConn (Round 3, pick #64): Jacksonville came back with a terrific selection in round three. Gratz offers a solid game and like Cyprien, should quickly break in with the first team this fall. Gratz is a scheme diverse cornerback who should have a long NFL career.
Ace Sanders/WR-RS/South Carolina (Round 4, pick #101): While we graded Sanders as fifth round value, Jacksonville was justified taking him a frame earlier. He’s a dynamic receiver with the ability to instantaneously alter the momentum of games as a return specialist. He’s both size (5-feet, 7-inches/173-pounds) and speed (mid-4.5s forty) deficient yet plays better than his measurables. Its tough to imagine Sanders not making the roster as a fifth receiver/return specialist.
Denard Robinson/RB-WR-RS/Michigan (Round 5, pick #135): On the heals of the Sanders selection, grabbing Robinson in round five was interesting. From a value point of view it could be a steal for the Jaguars. Robinson is a situational skill player, much like Sanders, and can produce in a variety of roles handling the ball. Robinson lacks polish and unlike Sanders, he may need time before he’s NFL ready. This selection may end up offering the Jaguars a rotational ball carrier for Maurice Drew-Jones as well as another return specialist.
Josh Evans/S/Florida (Round 6, pick #169): In my opinion this was a questionable pick as Evans is very similar to Jonathan Cyprien. A solid prospect who plays smart football, Evans is an average athlete with no outstanding physical trait to his game. Outside of a zone system, I think Evans will struggle handling the free safety position many have pegged him to play. And other than providing depth, there were better players available (Tourek Williams, David Quessenberry) that were better fits for Jacksonville in round six.
Jeremy Harris/CB/New Mexico State (Round 7, pick #208): Harris built some late momentum for himself after a solid senior season then a good pro-day. He’s a size/speed prospect who really developed his game in 2012 and Harris could find himself on a practice squad this fall.
Demetrius McCray/CB/Appalachian State (Round 7, #210): The Jaguars continued rebuilding their secondary and McCray was excellent value at the top of round seven. In fact he was better value when compared to the prior two choices. McCray has the size, speed and ball skills to line up in dime packages as a rookie. He also comes with a nice degree of upside. The 210th pick of the draft should find himself on the Jaguars active roster this season.
Grade: B. Jacksonville filled holes on the roster with solid players. There’s not a lot of flash in this effort just smart, hard working players with minimal downside. I do question some of the later round defensive backs but overall this was definitely a step in the right direction for the franchise.