The Jacksonville Jaguars 2017 NFL Draft pick will be all about winning, which makes it a fairly clear choice early in the process.
“What the hell would you be doing this for if you’re not going to win games?”
Tom Coughlin swings the hammer of substance and accountability the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise has been missing since… well, Coach Coughlin left after 2002. For all of the recent talk about the Jaguars stagnating, throwing all of the blame on Gus Bradley but keeping the same core coaching staff from a failing franchise, the hiring of Tom Coughlin as Executive Vice President of Football Operations institutes a larger cultural change than any retread coach-swapping could do for both the short and long term fortunes of the franchise. The establishment of a winning culture begins with the 2017 NFL Draft.
The front office decided to retain a significant number coaches and the general manager from the previous regime, but not until they received Coughlin’s approval. The approval of an NFL veteran who spent twenty years building successful football rosters, executing successful game plans, and who carries two Super Bowl rings. It needs to be clear to all Jaguar fans that they will work as a cohesive unit, sharing similar philosophies. No where is this more evident than each coach’s draft history.
The NFL Draft has been the high point of every Jaguars season for years.
“We got Ramsey! We got Jack!!”
Fans forget how fortunate the franchise was in 2013 when the Chiefs took Eric Fisher and the Jaguars scooped up Luke Joeckel, the consensus #1 overall talent. It may appear different in 2017, but in 2013 it was an extremely valuable pick.
Johnathan Cyprien? Projected top-20 pick the Jaguars nailed down in the second round.
All of this is to say David Caldwell scouts talent and value as well as anyone in the NFL. Coughlin is also an ace talent scout. The Caldwell and Coughlin duo is a dream combination that will vault the Jaguars to national prominence sooner rather than later. The only question is, who will they draft with their first pick?
The answer is clear.
By analyzing the history of the first two rounds of Coughlin, Marrone, and defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s drafts, it is very clear what the Jaguars will do in the first round of the draft.
Tom Coughlin: Coach Coughlin had 20 drafts in his career, totaling 42 picks in the first and second rounds combined. He appears judicious in his selections, with 20 offensive picks and 22 defensive picks.
Of those picks, however, 20 were linemen. He averages about one lineman in the first two rounds, and selected only linemen in eight of his 20 drafts, or 40% of his picks.
His selections were primarily from “Power 5 Conference” schools. The exceptions being Brad Meester and Jason Pierre-Paul, so when he does step outside of the powerhouse schools, he strikes gold. Again, this concerns only the first two rounds.
Doug Marrone: Coach Marrone’s draft history is much shorter than Coughlin’s, but it still shows some tendencies. Offense, offense, offense. (I am incorporating offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, as he and Marrone worked together through the part of this draft process.) Of the four applicable draft picks, they were all offense. All from “Power 5 Conference” schools. Marrone selected a lineman when the value was there: OT Cyrus Kouandjio in 2014.
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Todd Wash: Wash’s draft history often coincided with both his position group and the proclivity of the Jaguars front office personnel. As a defensive line coach in Tampa, the Bucs drafted Roy Miller, Gerald McCoy, and Brian Price at the top of the draft. As a defensive line coach in Seattle, they drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round. And finally, as a Jaguars coach, Dante Fowler was selected in the first round in 2015.
The stone-cold summary: Coughlin, Marrone, and Wash
– Historically execute similar draft strategies.
– Draft from “Power 5 Conference” schools 91% of the time.
– Select a lineman 45% of the time.
Based on the current personnel tendencies and draft grades, the Jacksonville Jaguars #4 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft will be either:
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama (6’3”/291lbs)
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee (6’3”/265lbs).
Start walking the selection card up to the podium in Philadelphia now.