December 11, 2011; Jacksonville FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Roy Miller (90) rushes as Jacksonville Jaguars guard Will Rackley (65) blocks during the first half at Jacksonville EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Jacksonville Jaguars were fortunate to snag offensive tackle Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick during the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Joeckel fills a void at right tackle for the Jaguars. With many more holes on the roster, they will look to add two more starters in rounds two and three. If the Jaguars can trade the 33rd overall pick then they may be able to come away with even more potential starters. But no matter what happens, the Jaguars will be selecting players to fill gaps on their roster.
The Jaguars have many needs at many positions. I separate these needs into to two separate categories: 1) Voids, and 2) Upgrades.
- Strong Safety – With the cutting of Dawan Landry, the Jacksonville Jaguars have an absolute void at strong safety. Chris Prosinski reportedly impressed during the team’s voluntary minicamp but as we saw last year, he’s is definitely not the answer. Prosinki’s poor play made free safety Dwight Lowery look like a much worse player than he is.
- Cornerback – GM Dave Caldwell cut Aaron Ross, let Derek Cox walk, let Rashean Mathis walk, and let William Middleton walk. He then signed Alan Ball. Ball is not a starting cornerback. The Jaguars need a cornerback to start opposite Mike Harris. A lot of what head coach Gus Bradley wants to do on defense is reliant on big, press corners. Harris is not one but he did decently starting during his rookie campaign last season. At a minimum, the Jags need one cornerback who can fit Bradley’s mold.
- Outside Linebacker – Kyle Bosworth displayed complete ineptitude last season. His interception, fumble was the embodiment of how lost he was. The Jaguars let Daryl Smith walk in free agency and need to replace him or risk another year of sub-par linebacker play.
- Guard – Frankly, we have no idea who is going to play left guard this season. Mike Brewster filled in last season for the injured Will Rackley. Oh, and Even Britton played some. Oh, and Herb Taylor. Oh, and….get the picture? I think this is pretty close to a void, though the coaching staff may be willing to see what Rackley can do in his third season after missing all of last year and starting during his rookie campaign. I don’t trust Rackley and think the position needs an upgrade.
- Defensive End – The pass rushing woes for the Jaguars have been long and well documented. I think this is a lower need upgrade with Jason Babin expected to play the LEO and a number of decent, if underwhelming, players in the rotation currently. There’s no doubt that Bradley would like a real playmaker at the position, though.
- Quarterback – The Jaguars will see if Blaine Gabbert can be “the guy” in year three. He has to beat out Chad Henne first, though. It was reported the Jags won’t go with a quarterback in round two, but if someone falls to them in round three that they covet it wouldn’t be shocking to see them add the player for competition.
Obviously there are more voids and upgrades needed than there are selections in rounds two and three. I think it’s more likely that the voids get addressed in these rounds than the upgrades. It will be tough for the Jaguars to let first-round talents like cornerback Jamar Taylor, safety Jonathan Cyprien, and defensive end get past them but they may if they trade back further in the second round. I think safety and cornerback are the most likely to be addressed though outside linebacker has a couple quality options in these two rounds as well.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims