Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft: LB in the first round?

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Brett Rypien
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Brett Rypien /

The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to miss the leadership of Paul Posluszny, but it would be indulgent to take a linebacker in the first round.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny retired this offseason and earlier this week the team honored his service with the franchise with a press conference. Current star linebacker Telvin Smith gave a heartfelt speech and it’s clear the team is going to miss the leadership and overall presence of Poz.

That being said, the Jaguars were evolving defensively past the point of needing someone like Poz on a regular basis. The Jaguars have two star linebackers in Telvin and Myles Jack, and depth is desired more so than a third starter since the team rarely plays base defense.

Steve Muench over at ESPN recently put together a post, trying to match each team with prospects that should be available each of the three days of the draft. He has the positions right, but the order he has them in is curious:

"Jacksonville JaguarsDay 1: Boise State MLB Leighton Vander EschDay 2: Notre Dame WR Equanimeous St. BrownDay 3: NC State OT Will RichardsonThe retirement of Paul Posluszny creates a void at middle linebacker and Vander Esch is the second-ranked inside linebacker on our board. He has a rare blend of size and range. With Myles Jack and Telvin Smith flanking him on the outside, the Jaguars would have an uber-talented linebacker corps. St. Brown has the skill set to be a far more productive pro than college player considering Notre Dame’s erratic quarterback play. The Jaguars would do well to add a receiver with his kind of upside. Jacksonville should be looking to add depth at tackle. Richardson is a versatile lineman with the ability to provide depth at both tackle spots and guard. Plus, right tackle Jeremy Parnell turns 32 in July and Richardson is a potential replacement when Parnell’s play starts to drop off or his contract expires following the 2019 season."

Vand Esch is a good prospect, but he’s not on the level of someone like Luke Keuchly. It’s also a misnomer to say he would play between Jack and Smith – the Jaguars have been training Myles Jack to take to take over at MLB when Poz left and to stay on the field in nickel and dime sets.

The Jaguars third linebacker will effectively play strongside LB and they’ll be on the field 20-30% of the time. It doesn’t make much sense to invest a first round pick in a position that won’t see the field much. Linebacker is a need because the Jaguars need depth, but day 1 is indulgent.

The other picks make sense – the Jaguars need wide receiver help and some developmental offensive linemen. If anything, the order of positions should be reversed with OL in day 1.

What do you think?