The 2013 NFL Draft class is over and in the books. There were reaches, there were falls, and there were surprises. Perhaps most surprising of them all was the overall soundness of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first draft under general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley. Every time analysts spoke of the Jaguars and the job they were doing on days one, two, and three, they spoke with appreciation for the picks and what the Jaguars were building.
The Jaguars got a lot better over the last three days. After the first selection of offensive tackle, the Jaguars turned their attention to more skilled positions and never looked back. Here are the picks:
- Round 1, Pick 2: Luke Joeckel, OT
- Round 2, Pick 33: John Cyprien, SS
- Round 3, Pick 64: Dwayne Gratz, CB
- Round 4, Pick 101: Ace Sanders, WR/KR
- Round 5, Pick 135: Denard Robinson, RB/WR/KR
- Round 6, Pick 169: Josh Evans, FS
- Round 7, Pick 208: Jeremy Harris, CB
- Round 7, Pick 210: Demetrius McCray, CB
The strategy for the draft was simple: fill holes and add playmakers. Coming into the draft, the biggest hole was easily the defensive secondary. The Jaguars lacked a starting strong safety and a starting cornerback. The Jaguars filled both holes with Cyprien and Gratz in rounds two and three. Combined with Joeckel, the Jaguars found three immediate starters in the first three rounds.
But this draft goes beyond starters. In rounds 4-7 the Jaguars found players who can compete for roles and for starting jobs. It’s unlikely that Sanders and Robinson unseat the players above them at receiver and running back but they will likely play immediately in special teams and could upset the hierarchy at slot receiver and as the change of pace back. Robinson in particular could be a versatile threat employed at both positions.
The secondary the Jaguars “solved” in rounds two and three got added depth in rounds six and seven. Josh Evans is a free safety but could likely end up as the primary backup for both strong and free safety. The disappointment that is Chris Prosinski was pressed into starting action for seven games at free safety and was terrible last season. He should lose a competition to the ambitious Evans. With just Cyprien as a quality strong safety for the Jaguars following the departure of Dawan Landry, it is not an unfair extrapolation to picture Evans as the primary backup for strong safety as well.
Round seven the Jaguars didn’t add any slouches. While both Jeremy Harris and Demetrius McCray probably won’t unseat Mike Harris as a starting cornerback or Alan Ball as the third man or even third-round pick Gratz as the other probable starter, both players offer much needed depth and should force Kevin Rutland to be the odd man out in the secondary. They are both schematic fits for Gus Bradley’s defense and they both offer a lot of upside, especially if they increase their strength to better play press coverage.
This draft is likely the best for the Jaguars in half a decade. There were no punters chosen for the Jaguars and the eight players selected are going to be quality players who, at a minimum, will find their way into being role players on this team.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims