The Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves in an interesting position as they hold the third overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans decide to take the top 2 quarterbacks with their selections, the Jaguars are in the enviable position of taking the best non-quarterback in the entire draft class.
During the entire draft process, USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams has been considered the top overall prospect almost unanimously. While some have softened on that stance (see the tweet below), most have maintained that the Jaguars will jump at the chance to draft Leonard Williams if he makes it past the Titans.
The logic is fairly sound – the Jacksonville Jaguars are in dire need of blue chip players, so positional need isn’t really a huge factor here. That’s partly true. The Jaguars could use help all over the roster, but one of the areas they are probably confident in moving forward is the interior defensive line. In fact, Tom Gower of Football Outsiders thinks defensive tackle isn’t a need at all heading into the draft.
"Not a need: Defensive tackle — Jacksonville had a solid defensive line, ranking ninth in Adjusted Line Yards, including a first-place finish on runs at left tackle. They added Jared Odrick in free agency, replacing Red Bryant with a younger, better player. All other contributors return, including Sen’Derrick Marks, who finished seventh among defensive tackles with 10 tackles for loss in 2014."
While Red Bryant, and now Jared Odrick, didn’t play defensive tackle, his role effectively was to hold the point. The talk of Leonard Williams hasn’t really discussed much his role in Jacksonville’s scheme. Will he play the five technique along with Jared Odrick? Is he an interior pass rusher akin to Sen’Derrick Marks and Ziggy Hood? Is he both?
The answers to these questions really all lead to one conclusion – Leonard Williams would be a luxury for the Jaguars at number 3. Williams doesn’t fill an immediate position of need, but that’s irrelevant if he is a transcendent talent. Still, this gives the Jaguars some flexibility with the third pick. They can take an edge rusher like Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler Jr. and fill a more pressing need, or they can test the market and try to trade back if given a sufficiently enticing offer.
With several reasonable avenues for the Jaguars to take in the first round, the 2015 NFL draft should be fairly exciting if nothing else.
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