The Jacksonville Jaguars could go in any direction in this year’s draft, but Mel Kiper thinks wide receiver is a priority after all the turnover this offseason.
That’s the narrative at least, but in reality the Jaguars will only have one new player (Donte Moncrief) while the rest of the room will be guys who contributed heavily in 2017 (Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook).
Still, it’s easy to see why so many folks think wide receiver is now a big need for the Jaguars.
In his latest mock draft, Kiper goes best available player (according to him) and finds Blake Bortles a new weapon:
"29) Jacksonville JaguarsD.J. Moore, WR, MarylandMoore is one of my favorite prospects in this class, and he tested off the charts at the combine (4.42 40 and 11-foot broad jump). He could be a No. 1 receiver in time, and he’ll be an impact returner as a rookie. Jacksonville lost top wideout Allen Robinson in free agency and will try to replace him with a combination of Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole. Why not take a big-time receiver on Day 1 and fill that hole?"
This year’s wide receiver class seems to be quite deep so I’m not sure the Jaguars need to go out and find a guy in the first round. Depth at the position is needed, but it seems a luxury to spend a high pick on a player who wouldn’t be expected to contribute a lot right away at a position the team clearly doesn’t value right now.
In a different piece, ESPN ranked the likelihood of each team drafting a QB this year and the Jaguars came in near the top, as one of the franchises likely to take a guy early:
"There is only one QB currently on the roster (starter Blake Bortles). The Jaguars will likely sign a veteran backup and need to draft someone to sit and develop for a year or two and (possibly) be ready to take over if the team decides to move on from Bortles after 2019. It’s not likely in the first round — unless someone they like surprisingly drops to No. 29 — so expect the Jaguars to grab one on Day 2. That means they’ll be targeting the second tier of quarterbacks such as Luke Falk, Kyle Lauletta and Chase Litton. — Mike DiRocco"
This was written before the Jaguars traded for Cody Kessler, but it still holds true. Kessler is a camp arm and no more than a long term backup. The Jaguars still need a developmental guy and a real option behind Bortles if things go south.
Even if it isn’t quarterback, there are other spots throughout the roster the Jaguars could address early that would have a bigger effect than wide receiver. Right guard, defensive end, linebacker, and tight end are all areas where players could either come in and compete right away or earn playing time.
Maybe Moore is a great prospect, but the positional fit just doesn’t seem right for the Jaguars and the type of offense they want to play.