Draft Strategy: After Geno, Where to go in the Second Round


In my latest mock draft I had the Jaguars taking Geno Smith with the second overall pick. After his solid pro day performance, where several of the Jaguars’ brass took a thorough look at the prospect, mock drafts around the web started to warm to the idea of Geno in Jax.

SpartaGus came away very impressed after West Virgina’s pro day. Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

SpartaGus came away very impressed after West Virgina’s pro day.

As a well established proponent of new GM David Caldwell picking his franchise quarterback in the first year of his tenure, I am thrilled to see the Jaguars’ sudden heavy interest in the West Virgina prospect. While some people are arguing that this is a terrible year to need a franchise quarterback, I disagree vehemently. Specifically in the position the Jaguars are in, this is a terrific year to have the second pick with a clear cut, number one quarterback prospect.

Thanks to Kansas City’s baffling trade for Alex Smith, they are in no position to use the only pick they have in the first two rounds (2nd rounder went to the 49ers for Smith) on a quarterback. Unless some team trades up to No.1, the Jaguars can take Geno Smith. In that scenario, the Jaguars will almost certainly have their pick of several defenders in the second round who could come in and start immediately.

Injury concerns might allow Tank to “tank” to the Jags in the second round. Sorry guys. Not proud of that one. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Injury concerns might allow Tank to “tank” to the Jags in the second round. Sorry guys. Not proud of that one.

With needs at almost every position on defense (linebacker, cornerback, safety, pass rusher) and a deep defensive class, the Jaguars should be able to draft a solid starter and fill a need. Depending on how the draft plays out, the Jaguars could have their pick of the following players at No.33:

  • Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
  • Matt Elam, S, Florida
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
  • Jamie Collins, DE/OLB, Southern Miss
  • Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
  • Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
  • Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
  • Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

While it’s starting to look more and more unrealistic for some of these players to fall (specifically Arthur Brown and Tank Carradine), there is going to be a really good defensive player on the board in the second round. Optimum Scouting’s scenario where Tank Carradine falls to the second round would have Caldwell salivating at the end of day one.

The Jaguars could potentially take someone like Terron Armstead to play right tackle at No.33, but the Jaguars shouldn’t look at offense at that spot. Why? Because the Jaguars are a lot better off on offense than it might be perceived at the moment.

Despite atrocious quarterback play, the Jaguars got solid and encouraging production out of Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III. Marcedes Lewis had a decent year as well, but the offense sputtered due to lackluster quarterbacking and losing Maurice Jones-Drew. The offensive line play was disappointing last year, but a good quarterback can hide a lot of flaws, particularly on the offensive line. I don’t expect Geno Smith to light it up immediately, but the upgrade from Blaine Gabbert to Smith will certainly improve the offensive line’s performance.

Not all of Gabbert’s sacks were the offensive lines’ fault. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Not all of Gabbert’s sacks were due to the offensive lines.

Last year, the Colts went almost entirely with offensive players in the draft after selecting Andrew Luck. The logic is sound – pick up a bunch of weapons that can grow with your young quarterback. Well, the Jaguars already have two young studs at wide receiver, a solid tight end in his prime, and an aging but still productive running back. The Jags could look at an athletic move tight end like Jordan Reed in the third round or a complementary receiver like Stedman Bailey. Someone like Denard Robinson on the third day would be a great pickup. But in the second round, when there are going to be impact defensive players available, the Jaguars should take their highest rated defender.

– Daniel Lago