Will the Jacksonville Jaguars draft a player in round one of the 2018 NFL draft that will be a day one starter?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have pick 29 in round one of this year’s draft. Barring it coming from a trade, a team picking that late in the round means two things: A) the team is coming off a successful season, and B) the team has a talented roster.
But cases are obviously true for the AFC runner up Jaguars, who boast arguably the best defense in the league, and now a much improved offense after free agency signings this offseason.
Not to say Jacksonville can’t clearly improve with impactful improvements, but with the strength of the team, there aren’t many glaring holes on the roster. With that on the table, is there a selection the Jaguars can make in the first round that would be a starter right off the bat?
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The positions that need shoring up have been clear since the end of last season: Guard/tackle, tight end, quarterback, wide receiver, and linebacker. But which of those positions would see a player come in and play right away?
Quarterback is the easiest no to that question. The Jaguars should explore taking one in round one, but Blake Bortles will be the guy in 2018.
A tight end prospect may seem like an easy candidate for a day one starter, but I don’t see the team starting a rookie over free agent addition Austin Seferian-Jenkins, at least in the beginning.
Linebacker is in dire need of depth, but I don’t think Jacksonville looks in that direction at 29. Even if they do, it is not a given that the rookie would step into a starting role over a guy like Blair Brown, who has shown promise.
The most likely areas that a rookie could come in and be a number one from the jump is on the offensive line and at wide receiver. The Jaguars need an upgrade at right guard, and potentially a boost at right tackle. With the Jaguars’ philosophy of being a hard-nosed running team, a lineman is a very realistic possibility in round one. A guy like Will Hernandez or Mike McGlinchey has the size and attributes it takes at the next level, and could easily push the guy ahead of them on the depth chart in training camp and preseason. Also, an explosive wideout could find himself on the field early if the team wants to add an offensive weapon with their first pick.
In the end, this is a great situation for the Jacksonville Jaguars to be in heading into 2018. The roster is talent-laden, and the team doesn’t necessarily have to ask a guy to step in right away, but instead can look at best player available and draft for the future.