I digested the entire 2014 NFL combine. I’m getting antsy for May. I sat with a notepad & took shorthand notes. I had the benefit of replay. I was also watching exclusively with the Jaguars’ needs in mind. There will be some evaluations of established players. Ones I liked and some that disappointed. I also project those who moved up my board, those who got on my board because they impressed me, and players I’m projecting as potential undrafted free agents (UFA) that the Jags should invite if available. I have already let you know about the offensive players (QBs, RBs, WR, TE, & OL). I will now look at the key DE position. All projections come from CBSSportsline…Thank you!!!
- Jadeveon Clowney (6-5, 266 lbs) – What more can I say. He was everything advertised. Quick as a flash. Cocky. I liked that he was nice to Dee Ford but showed contempt in his face when they played Ford’s insult of Clowney on a monitor for him. I have selected him first on everyone of my mock drafts and his combine performance made me more confident. If I could, I would adopt him!
- Jackson Jeffcoat (6-3, 247 lbs) – He may be the son of former NFLer Jefferson Jeffcoat, but he didn’t seem prepared. That or he wilted under the pressure. Either way, it was a red flag for me. He showed great speed in the 40, and then proceeded to look very uncoordinated in many agility skills. He would drop a lot on my board.
- Dee Ford (6-2, 252 lbs) – Scary Scary! He was following up an outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl. Before he could line up for the 40 yd test, he was pulled from performing anything because of a 2012 back injury making it irresponsible for him to participate. Now I’m not an expert, (though I did stay at a Holiday Inn once), but a back seems REAL important in an athlete’s career. Drafting a DE with possible back issues is the same as drafting an offensive lineman with shoulder issues. Bad things are probably going to happen. BUYER BEWARE!!!
- Will Clarke (6-6, 271 lbs) – This guy really jumped out. Not because of his 40 time, which was just fair. I liked how agile he was. Very fluid in his motions. I like his build and I especially liked the length of his wingspan. He will compete with J.J. Watt one day for the most knocked down passes.
Potential undrafted free agent DEs the Jags should consider:
- Taylor Hart (6-6, 281 lbs) – Might slip through the cracks. Played for a major power (Oregon), and didn’t miss a game over the last three years. He also is multifaceted, playing all the defensive line positions and even some outside linebacker.
- Larry Webster (6-6, 249 lbs) – He was the second fastest DE at the combine. Long and lanky, if he weighed about 20 pounds more he would be a middle round selection. If he played for a more major college and for more than one year, he would be a day one DE. He even has lineage with a father that played in the NFL for 11 years. I would take the risk.
- Zach Moore (6-5, 269 lbs) – ok…he’s a small college guy. I mean REAL small college (Concordia-St. Paul). But he has talent. he’s had 21 sacks over the last 2 years and 33 over his career. He ran a very nice 40 yd dash and actually tied Clowney for the fastest 10 yd split (which is more important than the 40 for a pass rush DE). He may be a project but I like his (GOD I hate this term) potential.
There is a lot of talent at the DE position. I really though only think about 8 or 9 are locks to make some kind of difference. The Jags better get a DE in the first 3 rounds or it will all be a guessing game.
Looking for the next Tony Brackens…Michael McDonald.
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