Jaguars must hit a home run with this draft class
By David Levin
After years of hits and misses with first round picks, the Jacksonville Jaguars must have a solid draft class this year.
I tend to agree with some local sports writers here in town that Jacksonville Jaguars have to hit a homerun with this draft class starting Thursday. That means general manager David Caldwell and Tom Coughlin, the team’s executive vice president of football operations need to find the impact players that are going to help the franchise turn the corner once again this coming season.
After the 2017 campaign that almost took this team to the Super Bowl, the Jaguars used last year‘s draft as an opportunity to build for the years ahead. It was met with minimal success. After a dreadful 2018 campaign, this team was exposed, with many holes to be filled.
Free agency did its part. A knew quarterback in Nick Foles, depth on the offensive line and positions such as wide receiver and tight end were found. As both Caldwell and Coughlin met with the media on Monday, along with head coach Doug Marrone, the sense in the room was this is a team that’s going to choose a player from one of three positions.
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Regardless of whether it is a tackle, tight end, or even a pass rusher, the Jaguars must hit a homerun in the first three rounds of the selection process.
When Caldwell was asked at the Pre-Draft Luncheon on Monday about what makes this a good draft for the team, one that will help his future with the franchise, he gave a succinct answer.
"“Homeruns are good, but you hope we get back to a level of play with our core players that we did back in ‘17, then you add with these guys (rookies) to come in and contribute,” Caldwelll said. “It’s just as critical as any other draft we’ve ever had.”"
Personally, I see more riding on it than last season.
Caldwell, Coughlin, and Marrone know they all must do a better job than last season. The roster is different. Popular veteran players have been released. Veterans have been brought in to replace them. And when all is said and done, Jacksonville still must find an impact player for this coming season when they make their first selection.
Missing once again on the top pick could do more than raise eyebrows. The Jaguars have a long history of swinging and missing with players they deemed would make a difference. Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Derrick Harvey – none of them did anything to improve play on either side of the ball.
In a perfect world, the Jaguars find a gold star in Round 1, a starter which impact potential in Round 2, and a key reserve who makes a difference in Round 3. This team has an extra pick in the third round, which gives the Jaguars house money to play with. Five picks in the top 109 spots should allow Caldwell and Caldwell the opportunity to fill needs find needed depth.
If not, not only will this be a long season once again, it could mean things may be different once this team prepares for the NFL Draft in 2020.