It is too early…WAY too early. There are players that may not return. There are players who may not be asked back. They are definitely looking for depth at other positions. Some of these issues will not be resolved for weeks. Thank goodness it doesn’t prevent us from attempting to guess what will take place in New York City come this May.
Thanks to Fanspeak.com and their programmers, I will now give you my opinion of how the draft will play out for the Jags. The simulator uses all info given by each team of their needs and picks accordingly. When the Jag picks come up each round, I am able to then pick from all available players undrafted. Let me make it clear. I chose the players I thought reflected the best available at the positions most desired. I will try to perform a draft every few weeks so that hopefully, with each new bit of info released on Jag moves and players entering, my picks will become more and more educated.
Just so you understand where my mindset was during the draft, the Jags’ needs I was looking to fill were QB, RB, WR, TE, OG, C, DE, DT, OLB, & FS. I was also keying on speed and punt returning abilities. I will explain further when summarising my picks. Ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to the 2014 NFL Draft…The Jags are now on the clock!
Round One/ #3 - Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina 6-5/274 lbs – Currently ranked #1 at the DE position. Monster. Unblockable. Highlight Machine. All words used to describe Clowney. The Jags haven’t been in a position to draft an elite pass-rusher like Clowney just about ever in their history and I can’t see them passing it up. I have expressed concerns about his work ethic and desire to be his best at all times. If I were put in the position though, I still would have to make this pick. There also isn’t a QB that I believe is top three pick worthy.
Round Two/ #39 - Tre Mason RB Auburn 5-9/205 lbs - Currently ranked #2 at the RB position. Running back is currently not a pressing issue with MJD not completely unwilling to return next year. If he signs elsewhere though, it will be concerning. When my pick came up, there was no way I wasn’t going to take Mason. Unreal speed and power in a small package…sounds like MJD but is compared more to Ray Rice. I like what I’ve seen.
Round Three/ #70 - Daniel McCullers DT Tennessee 6-6/351 lbs – Currently ranked #12 at the DT position. A little bit of a reach since there were about five other DTs ranked higher but I really think McCullers fits what the Jags are looking for at the DT spot. Daniel is big. REAL BIG. Has faced double teams his entire college career and still has shined. Put Daniel next to Sen’Derrick Marks and our rushing defense will improve vastly because the middle will be clogged and they will occupy at least three offensive linemen.
Round Four/ #101 – Dion Bailey FS USC 6-0/200 lbs – Currently ranked #5 at the FS position. Very pleased to see Bailey available in the fourth round. Three year starter at elite program. Recruited as a SS. Played some OLB before moving to FS. Great tackler. A bit of a ball hawk with eleven career interceptions. Has the right size for Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme.
Round Four/ #110 - Tyler Larsen C Utah St 6-4/312 lbs - Currently ranked #4 at the center position. I really didn’t plan on looking at center this early but Larsen is the right pick at this time. The next two centers available don’t do anything for me and then it’s a huge talent dropoff after that. Larsen is strong, has been very healthy, a good study, and fluid in his movements. Most important of all, we need a big, physical center to protect…Our next pick.
Round Five/ #132 - Aaron Murray QB Georgia 6-1/208 lbs - Currently ranked #11 at the QB position. OK, Let’s get this out of the way…Anyone who knows me knows I’m a Bulldog fan and probably want to discount this pick as “homerism”. But walk with me while I explain. As I stated earlier, I don’t get the warm & fuzzies from the so called elite QBs in this draft. I think this team is in too precarious of a position to take another high drafted QB and for them to be a bust. This pick is carefree. It’s in the fifth round so no pressure. And do believe this, Murray has been one of the more consistent QBs in college football over the last four years. If he comes back completely healthy from his knee surgery, this pick will be looked upon as a franchise changer. (By the way, I don’t believe Aaron Murray will be available this late in the draft.)
Round Five/ #138 - Jacob Pedersen TE Wisconsin 6-4/240 lbs - Currently ranked #12 at the TE position. This pick is based on my belief that Mercedes Lewis will not be on our team next year. I’ve looked into this kid and I like what he brings. Good teammate, soft hands, and good speed. It would be nice to have another weapon at TE. Lewis is just too damn inconsistent, and is going to cost a lot of money. Let’s move on.
Round Five/ #147 - De’Anthony Thomas RB Oregon 5-9/170 lbs - Currently ranked #18 at the RB position. Wow…I LOVE THIS GUY!!! Small? Yes. Hard to establish what his role will be? Absolutely! But he has (old cliche) that thing that can’t be taught…SPEED. He scored 46 TDs in three years! (26 rushing, 15 receiving, four kick returns, & one punt). Tavon Austin & Ace Sanders proved that with a little imagination, these ridiculously fast players can devastate a defense. I believe he will be converted to WR. (Another player I can’t imagine being available this late.)
Round Six/ #163 - Devon Kennard OLB USC 6-3/257 lbs - Currently ranked #18 at the OLB position. This pick was necessitated by my belief that Russell Allen won’t be retained per salary cap considerations. I’m also very impressed with Kennard. He has been a starter for an elite program for three years. He has led the team in sacks and tackles for loss. Great height to weight combo. He has been an Academic All American, a 2013 team captain, and has already earned his degree. Sounds like a great character guy and I’m drawn to them. (I know…So was Gene Smith…SHUT UP!!!)
Round Seven/ #199 - L’Damian Washington WR Missouri 6-4/205 lbs - Currently ranked #28 at the WR position. Raw, but very quick, especially for his height. Currently has the 6th fastest 40 time of all WRs. Dave Caldwell was well rewarded last year for bringing in speed. While Washington learns to improve his route running, he will be a nice distraction on deep routes while hopefully excelling on special teams.
So there you go. The only position not addressed is guard. Hopefully you might find a gem undrafted or in free agency. If the draft were to go this way, we’d have a QB prospect with experience, a Heisman-caliber RB, A speedy WR, a reliable TE, a strong center, a run-stuffing DT, a heady OLB, a ball-hawking safety, a special teams dynamo, and the projected best pass rusher to enter the league in years. What more could you ask for?
I think my first mock draft went swimmingly well. PLEASE…if you disagree, I want to hear it. Let me know or I won’t learn nor improve. Thanks again to the crew at Fanspeak.com!!!
Mock draft #1 by Michael McDonald.
Mr. Khan…I will accept any position with the organization. Look me up on Twitter @gumbussy.