The NFL inched ever closer to free agency on Tuesday when the deadline to apply the franchise tag passed and several high-profile talents were taken off the market. While nobody really expected guys like Von Miller or Eric Berry to be available, the franchise tag still has a significant effect on the market.
With plenty of good players still slated to vie for big deals in the coming weeks, the landscape of the 2016 NFL Draft will change in considerable way. The Jaguars are probably the team near the top of the draft who will see their roster change the most by the time the draft rolls around in May. With an enviable amount of salary cap room, the Jaguars should be able to sign a handful of solid guys to fill needs, specifically on defense. Ideally, the Jaguars sign a player or two at each level of the defense and give themselves the freedom to choose the best available player at number 5 overall.
Since we don’t know how the team will look after the next few weeks, these mock drafts are really an exercise in meaningless prognostication, but it’s still interesting. ESPN draft “guru” Todd McShay didn’t get too crazy in his latest mock, sending a familiar player to Jacksonville.
"5. Jacksonville JaguarsJalen Ramsey, CB, Florida StateThe Jaguars have needs at both corner and safety. The solution? Draft Ramsey and figure out which hole you want him to plug. The Florida State product has the lateral quickness and natural athleticism to play cornerback in the NFL, and the frame (6-foot-1, 209 pounds), top-end speed (4.41 40-yard dash) and run-stuffing ability to excel at safety. He tested off the charts in Indy and is one of the safest prospects in this draft."
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McShay has the Jaguars choosing between Ramsey and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack (he sends Jack to Miami with the 8th pick).
Ramsey was one of the stars at the combine last week, outshining every other defensive back. He was fast, quick, and uber-athletic, showing all the traits you want in a cover safety or cornerback.
Myles Jack didn’t participate in drills, but I fully expect him to blow up after his pro day. Like Ramsey, Jack is a freak athlete and should impress during drills when he works out at UCLA.
Right now, it seems a safe bet one of Ramsey, Jack, or Joey Bosa will be the pick at 5. Things will change before May, but those 3 are the frontrunners.