Reporting that the Jacksonville Jaguars need offensive line help in the 2017 NFL Draft isn’t shocking, but what if they go first round for a guard?
The 2017 NFL Draft is still months away but rumors that the Jacksonville Jaguars may be targeting a guard early will pique some interest. Not many guards go early in the NFL Draft and the Jaguars have plenty of holes to fill aside from inside linemen.
Still, it shouldn’t be shocking to hear the Jags want to target offensive linemen. Based on the number of times Blake Bortles has been taken to the turf in the last three seasons (most sacked quarterback in two of them, 140 sacks total), the Jags desperately need the help. They also need to rejuvenate the running game.
Per one Twitter post from @NFL_DRAFT_Bites, described as “1 Man Pro Personnel & College Scouting Department. Permanently worried about all 32 teams offensive lines,” the Jaguars are “salivating” over offensive lineman Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky.
While this is decidedly in the rumor category at this point, it’s interesting to think of the Jags being aggressive and nabbing a dynamic player at fourth overall (a running back would be nice) and then dipping back into the first round to get a true mauler of a guard. Lance Zierlein describes his career at Western Kentucky as “brilliant” and his ability to showcase his skills against top competition, specifically against Alabama, does make him a tempting target.
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As the Jaguars look to make strong statement moves in free agency and the draft, finding the right guy and getting after him is a way to do it. The Jags have occasionally done this in the past (Myles Jack, 2016 NFL Draft), but they have also waited patiently for a player to fall to them (Jalen Ramsey, 2016 NFL Draft), or picked a player as a bit of a reach (Blake Bortles, 2014 NFL Draft) because they were confident in him. Getting two players who complement each other well in the first round, something the Minnesota Vikings have done well in recent drafts, would showcase the new regime headed by executive vice president Tom Coughlin.
Perhaps the bigger takeaway from a rumor like this is just that: the Jags may be more aggressive in the draft. If they can become a disruptive force and consistently hit with trades back into the first round, it will stock the team with young, versatile players who can be extended for a fifth year option. That’s valuable as teams continue to find the best way to squeeze production out of under-priced players.
Whether it’s Lamp or not, an aggressive Jags team in the 2017 NFL Draft will be a welcome change. A dominant offensive lineman would be a nice addition, though, too.