Jaguars load up on defense in recent mock draft

The Jacksonville Jaguars still have plenty of defensive needs on their roster. Randy Gurzi of helps them restock the shelves in his three-round mock draft.

I have to hand it to my colleague Randy Gurzi here at Putting together a one-round NFL mock draft can be tough work. Gurzi has put together a three-round mock that includes plenty of help for the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team with 12 picks over the course of seven rounds.

“The Jacksonville Jaguars have been accused of tanking already as they traded away Calais Campbell for a day three pick after already moving on from A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey (who was traded last season),” Gurzi explains. “They also have sent Nick Foles to Chicago and are going to start Gardner Minshew, the former sixth-round pick that took the NFL world by storm a season ago.”

There is no shortage of needs for the Jaguars, despite making moves to help the defensive side of the ball on all three levels. Depth is also a concern, which makes what Gurzi has done here pretty solid in his assessment of the team’s needs.

Solidifying the defense has been the hot button topic here in North Florida from as far back as Week 9 of the 2019 NFL season when a 26-3 loss in London to the Houston Texans exposed the Jaguars defense in a nightmare across the pond.

The Jaguars are in a position to be able to not only find players to help the rebuild of this roster but now the team has the ability to move up and down the board to acquire more draft capital. This might be the most important draft of the franchise’s existence because so much is riding on what general manager David Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone do to bring in the right personnel.

If I were in the war room, I wouldn’t be shy about taking chances, especially if a player or two are on the board who can help this team meet an immediate need. But instead, I’m here raving over what Gurzi has done to help make the Jaguars a contender once again in the near future.

Here is a look at his selections for the Jaguars.

Derrick Brown should be able to step in for Marcell Dareus who was released due to cap reasons. The SEC star from Auburn gives the Jaguars a big body who will plug the middle of the defensive interior and help stop the run.

He is as good as it gets with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Listed at 6-foot-5 and 326-pounds, Brown is a rare combination of power, size, and athleticism,” writes Gurzi. “He will be a problem for interior offensive linemen and will surely wreck some gameplans. The Jags have fielded a good defense in the past that carried Blake Bortles to an AFC Championship and now they hope to rebuild a dominant unit.”

That’s a pretty good way to start your draft process.

The Jaguars took the 20th pick in the first round they received from the Los Angeles Rams and replaced Ramsey with LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton. It’s a move that makes sense – like the Brown selection – because the team can plug in another starter.

Fulton was part of the defense that helped the Tigers win a national title.

“Another Tigers defender who showed a ton of talent but has yet to reach his potential, Fulton is capable of holding his own against any wide receiver,” Gurzi writes.

“He’s going to have a lot on his plate as the Jaguars need him to replace one of the better corners in the game and he will be compared to Ramsey often — fair or not.”

You really cannot find anything wrong with this choice.

In the second round, the Jaguars grab Minnesota safety, Antoine Winfield Jr. who is a safety out of Minnesota. Jacksonville does have needs in the secondary despite adding Darqueze Dennard from Cincinnati to play cornerback.

Ronnie Harrison is a beast when he is healthy and could be a Pro Bowl-caliber player this coming season. Jarrod Wilson played well but has his moments of inconsistency. Winfield gives the Jaguars another heavy hitter and someone who could push Wilson during the season for the starting role.

Gurzi believes the move will give Jacksonville a long-time starter at the position.

In Round 3, the Jaguars get help for their running game with Florida State running back Cam Akers. I have to say I absolutely love this pick. Not just because Akers is an FSU guy (I am a 1995 graduate) but because he offers another complement to Leonard Fournette and second-year back Ryquell Armstead.

“Leonard Fournette turned things back around in 2019 and looked like the running back the Jags thought they were drafting in 2017,” Gurzi added. “Still, they might not be willing to extend him as his contract starts to inch near its end. For that reason, they grab Cam Akers from Floridas State who can offer his some rest as a rookie but could develop into a starter one day.”

Akers had Combine stats similar to former FSU stud Dalvin Cook. If things play out and the Jaguars do not extend Fournette or let him walk after this season, there is no reason to believe Akers could not step in and give the Jaguars solid production.

Next: Is Josh Allen the leader of the Jaguars defense?
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