There is lots to do for the Jacksonville Jaguars this off-season and that should reflect in how they approach the 2014 NFL mock draft.
Round 1 – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
Anybody who thinks a position other than quarterback is the biggest need for the Jaguars, they need to be checked for mental health reasons. Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert are not answers and barely even backups. Jacksonville needs talent at the position, but more importantly somebody who’s tough used to playing with less talent than opponents. That is Blake Bortles.
Round 2 – Kyle Van Noy – OLB – BYU
Is he a pure pass rusher? Not exactly. However, the athleticism, speed and instincts Kyle Van Noy brings to the table as a linebacker can be used is so many ways by Gus Bradley and the Jaguar coaching staff. Van Noy is a pest in pass defense and shows enough burst and closing speed to get to the quarterback if he’s not accounted for.
Round 3 – Joel Bitonio – OT – Nevada
Bradley will have gotten a good look at Joel Bitonio during the Senior Bowl. The Nevada tackle isn’t athletic enough for the left side, but with Luke Joeckel expected back he could become a staple on the right. He has good bend and nimbleness coupled with the strength to block downhill on running plays. His physical dimensions speak to a pro offensive lineman.
Round 4 – Kareem Martin – DE – North Carolina
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a defensively-driven team, so expect them to look frequently towards that side of the ball, at least early on. Kareem Martin could give them valuable depth at defensive end. Aside from having the ideal frame, he repeatedly flashed the power and hand fighting to get past blockers. He’s already a stout run defender and with some added weight actually might project better as an interior pass rusher.
Round 4 (from BAL) – Mike Davis – WR – Texas
Justin Blackmon may not have much more of a future in Jacksonville, so the Jags must think about adding to the wide receiver position. In this 2014 NFL mock draft, they scoop up Texas standout Mike Davis. While not an athletic marvel, Davis was a highly dependable target for the Longhorn. He has good height at 6’1″, runs precise routes and shows off the ability to catch the ball with his hands. In addition, he’s proven an effective return man as well.
Round 5 – Walt Aikens – CB – Liberty
Bradley was indoctrinated into the world of big defensive backs by Pete Carroll, so expect that to hold true in Jacksonville. Walt Aikens may come out of tiny Liberty, but at 6’1″ he has better-than-average size and showed enough speed and athleticism on tape to prove he can cover his share of receivers with enough time and coaching.
Round 5 (from DET) – James Wilder Jr. – RB – Florida State
This is a classic high-risk-high-reward pick. During his time at FloridaState, James Wilder Jr. was frequently in trouble with the law. At the same time he was a key cog to the team’s national championship run. He has good size but is able to get himself low to avoid big hits and deliver some of his own. There is power in his game but also some agility, a premium stiff arm and good vision to find the openings.
Round 5 (from BAL) – Marcel Jensen – TE – Fresno State
Production will turn a lot of teams off from tight end Marcel Jensen. Such is the tragedy of his position in a spread offense. However, those who watch the tape will see a very good blocker with the speed, athleticism and underrated hands to becoming a real threat on passing downs.
Round 6 – Brandon Linder – OG – Miami
Miami has been a program known for producing athletes at every position, including the offensive line. Offensive guard Brandon Linder is no exception. He’s got size at 6’6″, 317 lbs while displaying good footwork on tape. The struggles of the Hurricane offense during the season will impact his stock, but he’s got the measurables and is also experienced.
Round 7 – L’Damian Washington – WR – Missouri
Adding some size at wide receiver is never a bad thing and the Jacksonville Jaguars should think hard about getting Bortles bigger targets. L’Damian Washington is the ultimate upside pick. Not only is he a rangy 6’4″, he also possesses sub 4.4 speed. He’s not polished at all in his mechanics but if given the time the raw talent is there for him to become a force on offense.