Jaguars 2019 NFL Draft: Defense wins out on Thursday night
The Jacksonville Jaguars have put themselves in position to take an impact player with the seventh pick in the NFL Draft. The question is which side of the ball will it come from?
I keep telling everyone I talk to who will listen, don’t be surprised if the Jacksonville Jaguars pull off an “upset” and take the best defensive player on the board when they are on the clock with the 7th pick on Thursday night.
Something tells me Jaguars EVP Tom Coughlin is going to stick to his gameplan of building this team in the trenches now that he has a quarterback in Nick Foles the organization believes can lead the team back to the playoffs.
Coughlin used this same kind of method to the madness that led to two Super Bowl wins while he was the head coach in New York with the Giants. If the Jaguars truly are just a quarterback away from reaching the AFC Title Game once again, as some would have you think, then making the decision to grab an offensive lineman first or switching gears and taking the best pass rusher or interior defensive stud makes total sense.
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I’m not sold on making either move, but then again, I am not the one in the war room calling the shots.
"According to R.J. White of CBS Sports, “The Jaguars are well-positioned to land a true difference-maker at No. 7 if they don’t trade back, and they should also have plenty of quality options with their second-round pick, especially at receiver.”"
Trading back is a real possibility here, I believe. Jacksonville can acquire more picks and still take a right tackle at pick 10 or lower. Also, if they trade back into the middle of the first round, a tight end such as Noah Fant of Iowa could be in play. This year’s draft class is loaded on the offensive line and at the tight end position.
While I have seen some mock drafts have Jacksonville grabbing Montez Sweat, the dominant edge rusher from Mississippi State with its first pick, I am not sure he will be around for the Jaguars. I also don’t see a scenario where the team trades up to gamble on the defensive side of the ball.
Sweat should still be in play if he is available, but there are other names to consider as well.
Ed Oliver of Houston has not been mentioned much in this slot, but I think he bears watching. The big defensive tackle was considered a top-five pick prior to the start of the 2018 college football season. He is a disruptive force in the middle of the line and could also become a dominant interior pass rusher, much like Malik Jackson and Sen’Derrick Marks before him.
Josh Allen of Kentucky has been mocked by most as a top-four selection, which means the New York Jets of Oakland Raiders would most likely grab him. He is a force on the outside and adds another fast, young pass rusher to a solid duo of Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue.
The other name I would watch is Michigan’s Rashan Gary, who can play all over the defensive line. He is a disruptive force who can play inside and out. The one thing I worry about Gary is while he has great size and speed, is he another Dante Fowler or can he become an elite pass rusher in the NFL?