Jacksonville Jaguars Draft Talk: Sleeper first round picks
By David Levin
Is there a player the Jacksonville Jaguars have on their radar the local and national media aren’t talking about? Which player might surprise everyone on Draft night?
Is there a potential sleeper we have not discussed who could become the Jacksonville Jaguars first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft? Has the front office already met with someone who has caught their attention – enough to make them a part of this team’s future?
The Jaguars have conducted interviews both at the Scouting Combine and at TIAA Bank Field in an effort to complete more information before April 25. While Jawaan Taylor continues to get the majority of the attention as a possible first pick, there has been a shift in the belief the Jaguars may take a defensive player.
The only ones who really know which direction Jacksonville will take in the first round are Tom Coughlin, David Caldwell, and Doug Marrone. This holy trinity within the organization has a tighter grip on that knowledge than security at Fort Knox. Everyone stay tuned.
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The Jaguars have used free agency to add depth at positions of need, and have given themselves a bit of breathing room, allowing the front office to take a “best player available” approach. With the seventh pick in the first round, this is a franchise that can grab an impact player – one who can contribute right away.
If you look at how the Jaguars have constructed their roster, there aren’t a lot of open starting spots. With the exception of right tackle and possibly at tight end, the offense is now in need of good health more than anything.
On the defensive side, there is a chance the team will open 2019 with a new starting defensive tackle, middle linebacker, and safety. That speaks to the front office and their ability to keep this team intact even through a rough 2018 campaign. And for those of us who still want to see wholesale changes to this starting lineup, take a deep breath and hold it. It’s not happening.
Injuries determined a major portion of the lack of success from last season. Let’s see how this all plays out in 2019.
Here are three sleeper picks the Jaguars could grab with the 7th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Montez Sweat, Defensive End, Mississippi State – The more talk about the team possibly changing up the draft focus, the more I think a defensive lineman comes into play. The Jaguars need another young pass rusher to aid in pressuring the quarterback.
The team met with Montez Sweat last week. He is an elite edge rusher and at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, he uses his speed to get to the quarterback. A trio which includes Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue would be as impressive as any in the FL.
I think it comes down to tackle or tight end, but don’t be surprised if Jacksonville takes a pass rusher first.
Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa – For this to happen, the Jaguars will trade out of the 7th picks and acquire draft capital in the process. So much as been made about his teammate T.J. Hockenson being a potential pick.
Noah Fant had a solid season for the Hawkeyes. He may not be as polished as Hockenson, but taking him in the middle of the first round is a strong possibility for any NFL team.
At 6-foot-4 and 249 pounds, he is a good pass-catching tight end with blocking ability – something the Jaguars need to help the running game.
Devin White, Linebacker, LSU – You cannot deny how good White can be in the NFL. He has the kind of speed to match Telvin Smith and Myles Jack in what could be the fastest trio of linebackers in the NFL, should this happen.
Devin White is a sideline to sideline tackler and can chase tight ends and running backs underneath on passing downs or aid in stopping the run on the outside.
Linebacker is still an area of concern. The team signed Jake Ryan in free agency, but depth is still a need. If the Jaguars drafted White, it would be the biggest shock of the NFL Draft, in my opinion. It would mean they took the best player available at that spot.
Andre Dillard, Tackle, Washington State – Drafting a tackle is not a sexy pick, rather it is a selection of need. So much as been made of Jawaan Taylor being the pick here, but what if the Jaguars take the “other” tackle many pundits are talking about lately?
Andre Dillard is a massive offensive lineman who looks like a cornerstone tackle with good size and strength. The offensive line took a beating last year due to injuries. Can a rookie come in and help stabilize this line for the next decade?
The one thing that may preclude Jacksonville from selecting him is his lack of run blocking in the Pac 12. That can be taught.
Dillard may have the ability to play on the right side or could step in at left tackle and the Jaguars move Cam Robinson to the right side of the line.