The Jacksonville Jaguars may have completely changed their offense in the course of one draft, but analysts are not completely impressed with their additions.
The Jacksonville Jaguars wrapped up the 2017 NFL Draft by adding 7 new players to their roster. They have ostensibly improved their offense by some measure, acquiring a new starter at left tackle in Cam Robinson and a potential superstar running back in Leonard Fournette.
After the first two rounds, the entire draft class has left most of the analysts around the web scratching their collective head.
The Jaguars desperately needed to add bodies to the offensive line, but they are seemingly back where they started by only adding one offensive lineman who will seemingly take over for another recently acquired player (Branden Albert). The Jaguars also needed another edge rusher, but third rounder Dawuane Smoot is slated to backup Calais Campbell at the big end spot.
Obviously these are borderline ridiculous (it takes years to fully evaluate a draft class), but most of the draft grades around the web are lukewarm – including the assessment from the most prominent draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. Here are a few other takes from draftniks around the web:
"Overview: The Jaguars have made a statement about their new direction. They signed a fullback before the draft (Tommy Bohanon), drafted another fullback (Williams), used the fourth overall pick on straight-line power back Fournette, and traded up for Alabama power blocker Robinson. Smoot disappoints athletically for the position he plays, while Westbrook was known to be off many boards for off-field reasons and projects as a fourth receiver at best in Jacksonville. Brown and Myrick are early-career special teamers with a chance at more down the line. The Jags appear to have requisite pieces in place to execute a run-heavy, power-oriented approach that slows down games and leans on a talented defense to stay close on the scoreboard. I think there is a chance the Jags finally take a step forward as a team. At the same time, I’d have a hard time giving the Jaguars a good draft “grade” after they used the No. 4 pick on a non-difference-making position. For better or worse, I gave the Cowboys a C last year.Grade: C-"
"Leonard Fournette, their first-round pick, is a nice player, but I just don’t think you take backs as high as No. 4. After that, they did a nice job trading up for tackle Cam Robinson in the second, and third-round pick Dawuane Smoot will be a steal. Fourth-round receiver Dede Westbrook will add speed to a pass-catching group that needs it, but he does have baggage.Grade: B-"
"B+Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles must be thrilled, though pressure will only continue to build on him to prove he is a franchise quarterback. But that task got significantly easier with first-round RB Leonard Fournette behind him and second-round OL Cam Robinson safeguarding him. Don’t be surprised if Fournette quickly becomes the offensive focal point, which might also allow Bortles to hone some game-management skills rather than attempt some of his ill-fated throws. New team executive VP Tom Coughlin did roll the dice on fourth rounder Dede Westbrook, whose off-field history scared several teams. But the Jags clearly liked Westbrook given they already appear rather set at receiver."
"Day 1 grade: B+Day 2 grade: ADay 3 grade: AOverall grade: A-The skinny: Blake Bortles’ development will be aided by Fournette’s. Fournette’s injury history is a bit worrisome, but the same was said about Adrian Peterson — that turned out well. But will he be able to succeed like last year’s No. 4 pick, Ezekiel Elliott, without a similarly talented offensive line? Cam Robinson is a beast, and will be a longtime starter inside or outside for Jacksonville; giving up a sixth-round pick to get him in the second round was no sweat. Duwuane Smoot from Illinois has strength and flashed off the edge, a solid pick in the early third round.Dede Westbrook is elusive and fast, but he fell to the fourth round due to off-field issues and a slight build. He’s not contact-shy, though — he’ll play tough. The Jags got faster with linebacker Blair Brown and corner Jalen Myrick."
"With Blake Bortles having an up-and-down career, the Jaguars started their draft by taking running back Leonard Fournette, who can be the focus of the team’s offense. Fournette can be a force for Jacksonville. That, of course, is assuming the offensive line can open holes for him. That’s why I love the pick of Cam Robinson at the top of the second round. If he’s playing hard, he performs like a first-round player. That’s especially true in his run blocking.Because Dante Fowler has struggled, getting Dawuane Smoot of Illinois was a smart move in the third round. Dede Westbrook was a solid fourth round pick, but he’ll need to figure out how to stand out in a crowded wide receiver group in Jacksonville. Linebacker Blair Brown was a nice depth addition in the fifth round. I’m surprised they didn’t get a tight end or quarterback at some point.Grade: B-"