Most mock drafts are done “in the moment,” which at this time means before free-agency and immediately after the combine. I want to be a little different (hopefully different doesn’t mean stupider) by jumping ahead a bit and prognosticating the draft based on what will hopefully happen with the Jaguars in free-agency.
We all know Gene Smith’s draft philosophy – fill holes in free-agency and draft the best available player in April. So let’s temporarily accept the following fantasy:
The Jaguars (to a certain extent) fill their three most pressing needs in free-agency: wide receiver, cornerback, and defensive end. For the purposes of this mock, let’s be really optimistic but realistic. Let’s say the Jaguars go all out to sign Mario Williams at DE and are low key with wide receiver and cornerback by signing Josh Morgan (WR), Reggie Wayne (WR) and Terrell Thomas (CB). How fortunate, right? So now we can draft purely on value and BAP. Here we go (copyright Bud Light).
|1||Indianapolis Colts||Andrew Luck||QB||Stanford|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Robert Griffin III||QB||Baylor||Trade #4 and #22 to St. Louis for #2|
|3||Minnesota Vikings||Matt Kalil||OT||USC|
|4||St. Louis Rams||Justin Blackmon||WR||Ok. State||Trade #2 to Cleveland for #4 and #22|
|5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Morris Claiborne||CB||LSU|
|6||Washington Redskins||Ryan Tannehill||QB||Texas A&M|
|7||Cincinnati Bengals||Trent Richardson||RB||Alabama||Traded #17 and #21 to Jacksonville for #7 and 4th round pick|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Quinton Coples||DE||North Carolina|
|9||Carolina Panthers||Dontari Poe||DT||Memphis|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Melvin Ingram||DE||South Carolina|
|11||Kansas City Chiefs||Riley Reiff||OT||Iowa|
|12||Seattle Seahawks||Michael Brockers||DT||LSU|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Jonathan Martin||OL||Stanford|
|14||Dallas Cowboys||Dre Kirkpatrick||CB||Alabama|
|15||Philadelphia Eagles||Courtney Upshaw||DE||Alabama|
|16||New York Jets||Luke Kuechly||LB||Boston College|
|17||Jacksonville Jaguars||Whitney Mercilus||DE||Illinois||Traded #7 and 4th round pick to Bengals for for #17 and #21|
|18||San Diego Chargers||Michael Floyd||WR||Notre Dame|
|19||Chicago Bears||Kendall Wright||WR||Baylor|
|20||Tennessee Titans||Devon Still||DT||Penn State|
|21||Jacksonville Jaguars||Stephen Hill||WR||Georgia Tech||Traded #7 and 4th round pick to Bengals for for #17 and #21|
|22||St. Louis Rams||Cordy Glenn||OL||Georgia||Trade #2 to Cleveland for #4 and #22|
|23||Detroit Lions||Janoris Jenkins||CB||North Alabama|
|24||Pittsburgh Steelers||David DeCastro||OG||Stanford|
|25||Denver Broncos||Fletcher Cox||DT||Mississippi State|
|26||Houston Texans||Jared Crick||DL||Nebraska|
|27||New England Patriots||Don’t’a Hightower||LB||Alabama||From New Orleans Saints|
|28||Green Bay Packers||David Wilson||RB||Virginia Tech|
|29||Baltimore Ravens||Mike Adams||OL||Ohio State|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||Josh Robinson||CB||UCF|
|31||New England Patriots||Mark Barron||S||Alabama|
|32||New York Giants||Jerel Worthy||DT||Michigan State|
Whitney Mercilus was ‘merciless’ when rushing the quarterback last season. Eh, eh?
Sorry guys, you know what you’re getting when you read my stuff.
So let’s analyze the three main components of this draft for the Jaguars – the trade and the two picks.
Why would Cincinnati trade up to acquire Trent Richardson? While the popular opinion is that the lack of value at the running back position is driving down Richardson’s stock, he still remains the most talented running back prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson. Most evaluators have him as one of the top 5 overall players in the draft. The Bengals essentially got a free first round pick from Oakland by trading a player that was never going to play for them again, so they could be a little bit more willing to part with the extra pick. Coupling Trent Richardson with Andy Dalton and AJ Green, the Bengals would be set at the three key skill positions on offense for years to come.
For the Jaguars selection at #17, I really wanted to have Luke Kuechly fall past #16, but I doubt the best linebacker in the draft will make it farther than the Jets. So I went with the idea that you can never have too many pass rushers and selected Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus is a pure pass rusher with good athleticism and a high motor. Assuming Mincey doesn’t return to Jacksonville, he’ll be a nice complement to Mario Williams. Even if the Jaguars resign Mincey, a rotation at DE including Mercilus would be formidable. While the Jaguars have a nice choice of receivers available at #17 (our fearless leader, Luke Sims, ran through some of the top receivers in the draft), there should still be a few available at #21 and the second round.
For the selection at #21, I went with what I consider the true meaning of BAP – Best Available Prospect. Stephen Hill is an extremely raw receiver with unlimited upside. I was fortunate enough to see him often at GT and he routinely made high degree-of-difficulty receptions. As Alfie Crow over at Big Cat Country astutely pointed out, he would be a perfect piece of clay for our new, very experienced wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan to mold.
The reality is that the draft is still over a month away, and there will be significant changes in how some players are viewed by then. I’ll have an updated mock draft in the coming weeks, as I’m sure other writers on B&T will.
– Daniel Lago