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Thursday, April 10, 2014
Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Jaguars

By Michael DiRocco

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after finishing 4-12 in 2013. With a roster in need of a significant upgrade, the Jaguars can take a best-available-player approach and still fill an area of need.

Todd McShay's fourth 2014 NFL mock draft Insider is out on ESPN Insider on Thursday and his choice means the Jaguars will fill one of their biggest needs.

Much like Mel Kiper did in his Grade A mock last week, McShay has the Jaguars taking Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, who excelled as a pass-rusher and in coverage during his four-year collegiate career.

The Jaguars are certainly in need of a quarterback and Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater are still available when the Jaguars pick behind Houston and St. Louis. But McShay believes the Jaguars are willing to pass up taking one of those three in favor of landing a versatile player who can help improve a pass rush that ranked last in the NFL in each of the past two seasons.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Mack is a perfect fit for the Jaguars' Leo spot, which is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker whose main responsibility is rushing the passer. He was a very good pass-rusher at Buffalo (28.5 sacks) but he expands the Leo position even more because he's athletic enough to play in coverage, as well. Mack also seems to have a knack for creating turnovers. He picked off four passes and forced an NCAA-record 16 fumbles in his career.

In taking Mack, the Jaguars also bypass the most explosive offensive player in the draft in receiver Sammy Watkins, whom McShay believes will be drafted fifth by the Oakland Raiders.

The Jaguars also have significant interest in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who would certainly make an impact on the Jaguars' pass rush, but McShay has the Houston Texans using the No. 1 pick on the former South Carolina standout.