Despite currently holding the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft, trading down in the first round could be a valuable option for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The options at pick four are bountiful for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft. Running back Leonard Fournette, defensive ends Solomon Thomas and Johnathan Allen, and safety Jamal Adams have all been widely linked to the Jaguars in various mock drafts. Various other prospects have been as well in more extreme mock drafts.
But the move that could prove to be the most valuable for the Jaguars is trading their pick and moving back. By sliding back in the first round, Jacksonville can load up on more picks while also using their new first round selection to take a guy who will still be an immediate improvement.
Having a later selection opens up the door for still drafting a highly talented player, but with greater value by snagging them later in the round and not at pick four.
These are some options that the Jaguars should have on the table in the event of trading back:
Tight end is one of the weakest positions on the Jaguars roster and needs major reinforcement. Julius Thomas is gone after two highly disappointing seasons in Jacksonville. Marcedes Lewis will be 33 years old when the season rolls around, and his production has been dwindling. Newly-signed Mychal Rivera is a good addition but may not be the permanent starter going forward.
O.J Howard is the best prospect in a solid tight end class. At 6’6″ and around 250 pounds, his size and skill would allow Jacksonville to stretch the field in the passing game, while also having a viable blocking tight end in pass protection and in the running game.
Taking Howard at four seems like a move the Jaguars probably won’t be making, but sliding a little further back, passing up a talented tight end like him would be difficult to do.
Leonard Fournette has been the near-consensus selection in mock drafts for the Jaguars at four. But if a trade back occurs, another running back could be the answer for Jacksonville.
Cook is not as big of a back as Fournette and not nearly as tough of an inside runner, but he does have many strengths to his style of play. Cook has a quick, darting running style and makes cuts look effortless. He has also shown to have an extra gear when he gets loose in the open field, and can be a threat outside of the backfield.
If the Jaguars are serious on improving the running game, Dalvin Cook should be considered a compelling “Option B” outside of Leonard Fournette.
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This would be the big splash selection for the Jaguars should they take this route. Quarterback is easily the most important position for a team, and executive vice president for football operations Tom Coughlin hasn’t fully committed to Blake Bortles.
Jacksonville could be looking for his replacement, and moving back in the first round could be the catalyst for drafting a guy as heir apparent. There’s a great chance that at least two of the upper echelon group of Dashaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, and Patrick Mahomes will be available in the later half of the first round. With a trade, Jacksonville would be in a position to pull the trigger on the guy they really like, if they are indeed ready to move on from Blake Bortles.
Regardless of which direction the Jaguars take when they are officially on the clock on April 27th, trading the fourth pick and moving back in the draft has many potential benefits for the team.