Without many pressing needs, the Jacksonville Jaguars could have gone in any direction with their 2018 draft picks – they decided to build for the future.
As the draft closed on Saturday evening, it was hard not to think the Jacksonville Jaguars were entering the summer with one of the most stacked rosters in the entire NFL.
After selecting defensive tackle Taven Bryan with the 29th pick on Thursday night, the Jaguars continued to make similar ‘value’ picks throughout the draft to address depth now and development for the future.
Even though the Jaguars addressed wide receiver in free agency by signing Donte Moncrief, the still needed another option and someone to contribute on special teams – enter D.J. Chark, a physical phenom who ran a 4.34 40 yard dash and had the best vertical among receivers at this year’s combine. Chark can be a threat this year as a playmaker on offense and hopefully develop into the team’s long term 1 or 2 down the road.
Defensively, the Jaguars don’t have any glaring holes but they do need to start looking to 2019 and beyond when they have numerous players with sizable cap hits. With two high priced safeties in Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church slated to take up over $15 million in cap space after 2018, the Jaguars selected Ronnie Harrison Alabama. Harrison has the range to play both safety spots and, again, he can contribute on special teams right away.
Through three rounds, the Jaguars found 3 future starters with the potential to become above average contributors.
Over the final four rounds, the Jaguars took shots on a troubled but talented offensive lineman (Will Richardson), an underwhelming college quarterback (Tanner Lee), a hard-nosed linebacker (Will Jacobs), and a punter (Logan Cooke).
The only pick that had me scratching my head was the selection of Lee, who by all accounts was one of the less impressive quarterback prospects in this year’s class.
Still, it’s hard to complain – the Jaguars found depth and possible starters in a year where they didn’t need much.