Jacksonville Jaguars 2016 NFL Draft: Surveying the early mock drafts

Nov 14, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jalen Ramsey celebrates a turnover against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jalen Ramsey celebrates a turnover against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports /

With the 2015 NFL regular season officially in the books, it’s time for those teams sitting at home to turn their attention towards the offseason and improving their rosters.

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Jacksonville Jaguars general manager

David Caldwell

recently had a press conference in which he provided some very transparent comments about the state of both the franchise at the macro level and the progression of the players he’s brought in.

Caldwell talked about having oodles of cap space again this offseason and it sounds he’s planning on using it to bring in impact players regardless of age.

That means the Jaguars are going to add some key players at positions of need in free agency, consequently changing their targets and strategy heading into the draft. Naturally that means we should take all of the upcoming mock drafts with a grain of salt, but the Jaguars are almost certainly going to heavily invest in the defense in this year’s draft.

Let’s start the offseason with an abbreviated look at the plethora of mock drafts around the FanSided network:

NFL Spin Zone – Tyler Spinnenweber (7-round mock)

"5. JALEN RAMSEY Safety, Florida State"

"Think the Jaguars need safety help? Take a look at free-safety Sergio Brown attempting a tackle yesterday.The Jaguars only had nine interceptions all season and only five were from players in the secondary. One was from safety Jonathan Cyprien. The other four were from cornerback Davon House.Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com has Jalen Ramsey as his third overall prospect…"

FanSided – George Stockburger

"5. VERNON HARGREAVES Cornerback, Florida"

"While they only won five games this seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars took a tremendous step forward in the development of the franchise. Blake Bortles came into his own with the help of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns making big plays down the field. Defensively however, the Jaguars are still looking for their own quarterback. That side of the ball needs a young, talented leader who can help balance out games, specifically in the secondary. The Jaguars failed to create turnovers and get the ball back to their offense, only intercepting quarterbacks eight times this season. Help is needed at cornerback and safety if this team expects to make the jump from top five pick to playoff contender.If you are looking for a pure cornerback with just as much shutdown ability as Jalen Ramsey, you’ve come to the right place. Vernon Hargreaves doesn’t get Darrell Revis comparisons for nothing. The hometown kid can just do everything you need a cornerback to do and more. He can shutdown even the speediest receivers in the game with excellent quickness down field and the ability to adjust well to routes. He’s also a sure tackler, wrapping up the ball carrier and bringing him all the way to the ground."

NFL Mocks – Erik Lambert

"TRADE! Send #5 overall to St. Louis Rams for #13 pick and two 2nd rounders in 201613. ROBERT NKEMDICHE DT, Ole Miss"

"Dante Fowler should be back in 2016 and will give the Jacksonville Jaguars the much-needed edge rush they’ve lacked at times.  Why not have some help waiting for him when he returns in the form of an interior pass rush that will pull away double teams?  Something else they don’t have enough of.Enter Robert Nkemdiche.  Though his stock has cooled somewhat thanks to a drug-related incident and a fall from a fourth-story window, he still remains one of the most talented defensive linemen in the country.  He’s big and strong but also quick off the snap, able to shoot gaps and either penetrate the backfield or force blockers to double team him.  Either way he often disrupts plays from the start, and the Jaguars need more such types."

As I mentioned earlier – defense, defense, defense. The Jaguars were a horrendous defensive team last year (see ya Babich) and need an influx of speed and talent.

Of the 3 players above, I think Jalen Ramsey is the most likely at the moment. Hargreaves is a good prospect but I think the Jaguars will lean towards luring a veteran corner like Janoris Jenkins in free agency.

I actually am a huge fan of the 3rd scenario – Nkemdiche is probably a top 3 prospect who will slide because of off the field concerns and the additional 2nd round picks would give the Jaguars ammo to move around and possibly pick up a speed linebacker like Jaylon Smith or Myles Jack in the late 1st or early 2nd round. Unfortunately I don’t see Jeff Fisher having a friendly conversation with the Jacksonville front office.

We’ll see how these mock drafts develop, but these are some names that will crop up several times until May.