Well Jag fans, it looks to be an almost certainty that the Jaguars are out of the playoff race and unless Gabbert just begins to get it after the bye, they are definitely out. However, don’t look at this as a bad thing. We all knew that as soon as Garrard was cut, McCown bombed and Gabbert took the reins, that the season was in jeopardy. We knew a rookie QB was more then likely going to struggle, but little did we know how much. Now, it isn’t all his fault and I’m not the only one to think this (see: Country, Big Cat), but its obvious Gabbert and the offense need some help. So let’s stay upbeat and take a look ahead at the schedule and potential matches for the Jaguars in next years draft.
Let’s assume the current rankings stay the same until the end of the season, with the Jaguars earning the 6th overall pick. Here are a few scenarios that could happen with the Jaguars in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Scenario #1 — Pick a wide receiver! The Jaguars would have a shot at two legitimate receivers in Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery. Both are good talents with good (but not great) speed with great size and body control. Blackmon would be my pick if available as the guy has done nothing but produce monster numbers when teams know the ball is coming to him. He’s a number one the Jaguars could stand to have. Jeffery is a big boy at 6-4, 229 and runs a respectable 4.5ish. He could be an amazing pick up (think a thicker, healthier Sidney Rice). Having either WR could put Mike Thomas back in the slot, have Hill or MSW placed in the #2 spot with Dillard the 4th WR. Shorts (if he ever gets his act together) could play a role there too. Gabbert would love the idea of having a WR calling for double and rolled coverages, opening up the passing game for the rest of the receivers.
Scenario #2 — Continue the defensive transformation. There are a handful of good defensive players coming out next year and surprisingly enough at perceived weak areas on the resurgent defense. If Rashean Mathis leaves next year or is not resigned, a CB could be a good pick up. Morris Claiborne (LSU) or Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) could both be solid pickups. Both are considered good cover guys would could step in and both are products of major defensive power houses. Another route could be DE (with Kampman struggling with injuries), with Quinton Coples (UNC) is a DE with prototypical size and strength. Coples could be what Derrick Harvey was always supposed to be, a pass rushing end.
Scenario #3 — Draft an OT. Whaaat?! A Tackle!? Por que you may ask. Porque, I would say back, Britton and Monroe can’t stay healthy this year and back injuries are a major problem. Britton might be kicked inside if a better RT could be found and Nwaneri could get that crack at center that we’ve all been talking about for two years now. Johnathan Martin (Stanford) and Matt Kalil (SC) could be potential prospects for the Jaguars. If the Jags selected either and shuffled the OL to have Nwaneri at center and Britton at RT, the line would be youthful across the board and could have the potential to play together for the next 5-10 years. I think Gabbert would have to love a tackle selection, seeing as how little time he has had so far this year in the pocket (whether if be real or phantom).
Scenario #4 — Trade Down. Yes, yes, I know. We always want to trade down, however the Jaguars are getting to the point where draft picks may no longer make the team automatically. There is a ton of trade bait out there. Any of the players I’ve already mentioned, or any of the quarterbacks that should be available. Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Matt Barkley (USC), or even Robert Griffin, III (Baylor). Ideally, the Jags could trade down later into round 1 and garner either an extra 2nd or more. If the Jags could come away with a first and two second or even more, then they would be in a good position to draft multiple high quality players that could help the team win in the long run. There are some linebacker and interior players of quality who could help out the Jaguars.