Nov 26, 2011; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Dion Jordan (96) against the Oregon State Beavers during the second half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Z. Rider-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 NFL Draft is a deep draft. Really deep. There are a lot of comments made from armchair GMs to professional draftniks that this draft is not one to be picking early in. Unlike in years past the top four or five prospects are not going to be instant Pro Bowl candidates that are head and shoulders above the rest of the picks in the draft. This year there is practically logjam of premium talent in the first round and into the second. The middle of the first round promises to be the “sweet spot” of the draft.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars picking at number two overall and number 33 overall, they simply can’t miss on talent. The team has so many holes that they can go with pretty much any young prospect, pick him, and plug him in and find success with him. With the first two rounds (and possibly rounds three and four as well) the Jaguars will find quality starters. Do you want another offensive tackle? Here’s D.J. Fluker and Eric Fisher in rounds two or one, respectively. Want a pass rusher? You have your choice of about eight premium talents at both defensive end and outside linebacker.
Jan 26, 2013; Mobile, AL, USA; Senior Bowl north squad defensive lineman Margus Hunt of SMU (96) against the Senior Bowl south squad during the first half of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Jaguars are in a position, with this year’s deep draft class, where they simply can’t lose. There isn’t a Jamarcus Russell who will throw the draft completely off kilter. There isn’t a Derrick Harvey who will be psyching you into thinking he really can make it in the NFL. It may be optimistic, but it looks like it will be very difficult to not do well with the positioning the Jaguars have in this year’s draft.
I don’t remember this much top-flight talent coming out in one draft in a long time. Prior to 2011 Jaguar nation focused on potential quarterbacks. Each year seemed like the year to upgrade over David Garrard, but there was never really a viable option (or so it seemed). When the Jaguars traded up to grab Blaine Gabbert at number 10 overall I thought they would be targeting a player who was slipping, Prince Amukamara, to fit in at cornerback. Instead we got the BG project.
Pick 10 won’t be a project this year. Pick 20 won’t be a project this year. I’d be willing to bet that pick 40 won’t be a project either. This draft is deep and it’s time we recognize the opportunity that that brings. “Reaching” for a player like Tyson Alualu won’t happen at 10 overall because the talent at ten will be comparable to the talent at 20 and 30. And it will all be good.
I’m excited for the draft and don’t see the Jaguars losing at all with their selections. Part of that comes with faith in the talent through the draft and part of that comes from faith in GM Dave Caldwell. Caldwell comes from a personnel system with the Atlanta Falcons that saw high retainment of draft picks and high production from drafted players. If Caldwell gets close to what Thomas Dimitroff has done in Atlanta, the Jaguars will have a good draft.
Are there going to be misses in this draft? Yes. Players like QB Mike Glennon are going to be overvalued because of the position they play. Will some overly-athletic players like DE Margus Hunt be overvalued? Yes. But will the Jaguars be one of those misses? I don’t think so. There isn’t a sure thing in the NFL Draft, just look no further than Ryan Leaf. But there are a multitude of quality players are positions of need for the Jaguars in this year’s draft. Whether it’s offensive tackle, defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, cornerback, safety, or guard, the Jaguars will find their man.
For the first time in a long time, the Jaguars will be winners on draft day. With this draft, the Jaguars simply can’t lose.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims