Jacksonville Jaguars Need to Target Running Back in 2015 NFL Draft


Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell swung for the fences in free agency this offseason, and he managed to hit a few home runs. Tight end Julius Thomas and defensive lineman Jared Odrick are both upper-echelon starters, while Jermey Parnell and Davon House are high upside starters who could develop into impact players.

The Jaguars took care of a handful of needs in free agency, but they still have some holes to fill as they move towards the 2015 NFL draft. The team reportedly made a big push to sign free agent running back DeMarco Murray, but he opted to go to the circus developing over in Philadelphia.

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, the Jaguars admitted their need to acquire a guy to tote the ball in the backfield when they made a run at Murray. With Murray off the market and few options remaining in free agency, the Jaguars need to look toward the draft.

Over the last few years, I’ve been lured into the camp of not taking running backs high in the draft. I stand by that, but I think the Jaguars afforded themselves flexibility in the draft by signing so many quality free agents. While it would be sheer insanity to take a running back with the third overall selection in the draft, I see no issue with the Jaguars looking in the 3rd or possibly 2nd round for a starting running back.

The guy that immediately comes to mind – and he’ll be a point of contention leading up to the draft – is Georgia’s star running back Todd Gurley. If you remove the serious knee injury that ended his 2014 campaign and college career, Gurley was a consensus first round pick. Now? Not so much. ACL injuries are becoming less of a long term hindrance, but it’s still a tough proposition for a team to mortgage a first round pick on someone coming off that injury. If Gurley falls into the second round and to the Jaguars, they should probably take that risk. Gurley has the chance to be one of those playmakers the opposing defense has to gameplan around. The Jaguars have nobody – save for possibly Julius Thomas now – on offense to serve that role right now.

Outside of Gurley, there are other guys the Jaguars could consider in the later rounds. I think prospects like Jay Ajayi and Telvin Coleman are a stretch in the second round, but they are solid targets in the 2nd and 3rd day of the draft. Melvin Gordon is another possibility, but he appears to be locked in as a late first round pick.

Regardless of how it shakes out, it’s hard to imagine the Jaguars closing out their draft class without one running back to show for it.

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