Returning to the trenches in the second round, the Jacksonville Jaguars bring in a player that can help settle the revolving door at left guard. After missing out on re-signing Luke Joeckel in free agency (one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks), the Jaguars need a player that can settle the position. No matter what the coaches say currently, Patrick Omameh is not the long-term answer.
Dan Feeney, however, could be. One of the more impressive guards coming out of college, Feeney gives the Jaguars a solid player that simply does the work. That’s exactly what teams need out of a player at guard. Pairing with center Brandon Linder and left tackle Branden Albert, Feeney can create a much stronger left side of the line for the Jags.
It’s worth noting that in Feeney’s time at Indiana both Jordan Howard and Tevin Coleman absolutely tore it up as dominant collegiate running backs. As the Jags focus on rebuilding the running game, finding a guard who can step in and dominate in the run game is critical. Nobody currently on the roster truly fills that role. A two-time captain, Feeney also brings some leadership to the still-young Jaguars.
An incredibly controversial selection because of Joe Mixon’s past history involving striking a woman in the face, Tom Coughlin and the Jacksonville Jaguars gamble to solve the running back situation.
Mixon is arguably a top-three talent at running back in the 2017 NFL Draft. He has the ability to be a day-one starter for any team. His off-field concerns are real and should be taken into consideration in the draft calculus, but his on-field ability is too great to pass up if he is available in the third round (which he could be with teams taking him off draft boards).
While the single incident is being addressed by Mixon effectively in team meetings, reportedly sounding contrite, he’ll have to do a lot of convincing to land with the Jaguars. Coughlin will run a tight ship and head coach Doug Marrone is instilling a stern culture as well. That culture may be strong enough to weather having a player like Mixon on the team and it may be strong enough to help mold him into a better man, ensuring that an incident like when he was 18 never occurs again.
For those purely interested in the football, Mixon has 2027 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns averaging 6.7 yards per carry over two seasons with Oklahoma. He also has 894 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. If the Jags choose to draft Mixon purely for his football ability, they must be clear about it and steer into the criticism by addressing it openly and honestly and putting effective support in place to help Mixon improve as a person. Nobody can wipe away the past but a new future can always be born.