Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft: Kiper grades class as a ‘B’

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 11: Leon Jacobs
MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 11: Leon Jacobs /

Despite not finding a tight end or a guard, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a solid draft – and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. agrees.

With the 2018 NFL Draft in the books, it’s time to do something dumb – grade every team’s draft haul.

Okay, so dumb may not be the right word, but there’s something tactless about grading a draft class before any of the players steps on a field for their team. The rule of thumb for the most part is to wait three years before evaluating a draft class.

That being said, three years is entirely too long to wait. Especially when there’s nothing going on NFL-wise for the next two months.

Our own Jacob Hane handed out some grades and Jack Stern broke down each draft pick in great detail as well.

A lesser source of draft knowledge resides over at ESPN and he’s known as much for his hair as for his prospect prowess.

Mel Kiper Jr. generally errs on the side of optimistic with his immediate draft grades and this year is no different. The Jaguars have the 15th best draft class if the ordering in his piece is to be trusted, but the overall grade is encouraging:

"Jacksonville Jaguars: BTop needs: Tight end, wide receiver, defensive lineHow loaded is that Jags defense? It already had six Pro Bowlers in 2018. Now it has one of the biggest physical freaks in the entire draft with tackle Taven Bryan, whose talent didn’t match his college production. If defensive coordinator Todd Wash can get Bryan close to his ceiling, he could be a steal at pick 29. Jacksonville could move on from Malik Jackson next offseason, and Bryan might be the ready-made replacement.I liked the pick of safety Ronnie Harrison at 93, and safety is the one spot where this defense isn’t really young and fast. He has been underrated throughout his career, playing on a dominant defense with tons of NFL talent. But he’s physical, and he’ll help in the box. The question was true speed, because we never saw an official 40 time throughout the pre-draft process. Wide receiver D.J. Chark (61) is the best deep threat in this class, but his tape was inconsistent. Was that because of poor quarterback play at LSU? Either way, he could help replace Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. I like outside linebacker Leon Jacobs in the seventh round. He ran a 4.48 40 at the combine at 246 pounds.I thought Jacksonville should have addressed tight end early, but maybe the staff believes in Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ ability as a blocker more than I do. If this is a team built around the running game, they could have used an upgrade on the edge. All in all, though, this is a terrific haul."

The worst grade Kiper handed out was a ‘C+’ so really a ‘B’ is not much to get excited about.

Kiper thinks this is a terrific haul and it’s hard to disagree. The Jaguars were in a win-win situation heading into the draft Thursday night because they put themselves in a position to never reach for a player. When the clock started on the 29th pick, instead of reaching for an offensive lineman or a tight end, they selected the best player available in Taven Bryan. He’s not going to start right away, but he has the potential to develop into a force.

The rest of the draft class followed suit. Chark is a value pick and also fits a need. Harrison won’t play much right away but he’s likely expected to become a starter in 2019 with Tashaun Gipson or Barry Church departing.

Sure Tanner Lee probably won’t pan out at all, but sixth round picks almost never flourish regardless of position.

Kiper is an eternal optimist and in this case, he’s probably right.