A Quick Ramble Before Showtime


It is finally here! After an extra two weeks of over analyzing and splitting hairs, the big night is finally upon us. After much anticipation, fans nation wide will see where the next big stars of the NFL will land. Will this class be like the class of 2012? Or will it share the fate of the dreaded class of 2009?

Before we get started, is it just me or has the extra two weeks pretty much screwed with everyone’s heads? I actually read a draft article yesterday that had a Godzilla vs. Rodan reference. OK so I enjoyed the reference. I just didn’t think that I would actually see something like that in my Wednesday morning cornflakes.

Anyways, it’s time to say something NFL network-esque about how these young prospects are going to go from college prospects to professionals in the National Football League. Blah, blah, blah…yeah it’s so glorious in all of its pageantry. Hey don’t get me wrong, I love the draft just as much as the next guy, but its getting a little ridiculous.

So with the big night finally upon us, I will leave you with a few personal thoughts on this year’s draft.

Forgive me if I sound a bit cynical. I’m really not. I’m actually very, very excited about the next three days. Notice how I said three days. I’m not one of these casual fans who tunes out after pick 32. When I say I watch the draft, I watch the draft. All seven rounds.

The NFL Network is the Justin Beiber of the NFL scouting universe.

Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) celebrates after the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

What has happened to Teddy Bridgewater’s stock is completely unfair. It is not right. I see Mayock has Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Jimmy Garoppolo ranked ahead of the signal-caller from Louisville. Why? Because he had a bad pro day? C’mon. You got to be kidding me! Bridgewater is hands down the most pro ready quarterback in this year’s draft. If Teddy really does experience a draft day slide, someone, perhaps Cleveland at 26, will be getting a franchise QB.

While we are on the topic of quarterbacks, and since this is a Jaguars fan site, let’s talk Johnny Manziel. It’s looking more plausible that Johnny Football could be coming to Jacksonville. If that’s what Caldwell wants, I trust him and I certainly trust that his reasoning is NOT to sell tickets. If Caldwell feels like Manziel gives this team the best chance to win, then so be it, but Manziel won’t be drafted third overall to “fill seats.”

Sure have been a lot of talk about trades. Is it possible that this Manziel-to-Jacksonville talk is a ploy to pump up the value of the third pick? In what is either a strong vote of confidence or the world’s meanest joke, Jeff Fisher appeared with Sam Bradford during a predraft conference and said that, “he (Bradford) is our guy.” If Manziel goes first to the Texans, I will be surprised. That pick will and should be Jadaveon Clowney. St. Louis goes on the clock once that’s over with. Since the world now knows that the Rams have no real interest in Manziel, it all but leaves the Jaguars as the last possible suitor for Johnny. Is there a team (Tampa?) who just loves this smug little a-hole so much that they would deal out their 1st and a 2nd to move up? Maybe another mid rounder if they’re desperate enough? Like really desperate. Think Nic Cage Leaving Las Vegas desperate.

This is such a deep class, especially deep in wide receivers. There should be plenty of options in the mid rounds. There should even be options in the late rounds. A few players I like beyond the first….Donte Moncrief-Ole Miss, Bruce Ellington-South Carolina, Martavis Bryant-Clemson, Kevin Norwood-Alabama, Robert Herron-Wyoming, L’Damian Washington-Missouri, Jeff Janis-Saginaw Valley State

The more I think about it, when it comes to the NFL draft, the Jaguars are in an enviable position. Everyone continues to talk about what their team “needs” and really Jacksonville needs so much…they really can’t go wrong with any position they draft. Not saying there aren’t some promising young players already on this roster at left tackle (Joeckel), wide receiver (Sanders) cornerback (Gratz) and safety (Cyprien), but even with those guys showing so much promise, the depth behind them is certainly in question and could definitely stand to be addressed in the later rounds.

The list of prospects who visited Jacksonville is very impressive. Aside from the obvious first rounders, there were some pretty darn good day 2 and day 3 prospects brought in as well. DE Trevor Reilly from Utah had 8.5 sacks last year and 16 TFLs. He was 1st team All-PAC 12. He is a high motor guy who can cover and stop the run. Cornerback Walt Aikens from Liberty has the right physical build for Bradley and Babich’s scheme. Give him a few years and there’s no telling how good he could be. DE Marcus Smith from Louisville has good length for the position and had 12.5 sacks last year. He can cover tight ends and backs as well as be a physical, reliable tackler. The list goes on and on, but I’m just so happy to see these types of players being brought in and looked at.

It’s all going down in a few short hours. Hang tight and let the games begin.

-David R. Johns