Thursday, March 13, 2014
Kiper's Mock 3.0: Jaguars
By Michael DiRocco
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has been consistent in which player he believes the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to take with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft.
In his first mock draft he predicted the Jaguars would bypass a quarterback and instead select defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
In his second mock draft he had the Jaguars taking ... Clowney.
We’ll find out if he has changed his mind in his third mock draft when it is released late Thursday morning.
The Jaguars had one of the least-talented rosters in 2013 and general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley still have a lot of work ahead before that improves. They have needs everywhere, but the two biggest are undoubtedly quarterback and pass-rusher, and it seems likely the Jaguars will take one of those two positions with their first pick.
The team signed quarterback Chad Henne to a two-year contract on March 7 and Bradley promptly named him the starter for the 2014 season. He said the ideal situation would be for whichever quarterback the team drafted -- whether it was in the first round or later -- to spend time learning behind Henne. The young quarterback might not even take a snap in 2014.
That would seem to indicate the Jaguars won't be likely to take Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles in the first round. Players taken that high need to make an immediate impact, and that won't happen if they're sitting on the bench.
However, Clowney or linebacker Khalil Mack would instantly make the Jaguars better on defense. The pass rush has been among the worst in the league the past two seasons (51 sacks, including 20 in 2012) and Clowney is regarded as the best pass-rusher in the draft. Mack, who is a perfect fit for the Jaguars' hybrid end/linebacker spot, had one of the most impressive workouts at the NFL combine and is rising up draft boards.
However, the Jaguars do need help at receiver, too. Maybe Sammy Watkins could be the player Kiper believes the Jaguars will pick.