The 2018 NFL Draft is over a week away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft profile.
Jacksonville has completed the franchise turnaround with a 10-6 record and an AFC South title. In the playoffs, they were able to beat the Bills and Steelers before falling to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. All things look good heading into 2018 for the Jaguars.
The defense was one of the best in all of football, as they allowed just 16.8 points per game, which ranked second in the NFL. They have stockpiled talent through the draft and free agency to be good on all three levels of the defense. The secondary features one of, if not the best corner pairings in the league with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church are solid safeties that can cover up any mistakes.
Paul Posluszny decided to retire, but the linebacking core still has Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, who were both fantastic last season. With a stacked defensive line, which includes Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus, Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr., they have earned the nickname “Sacksonville”.
On offense, Blake Bortles has drawn a lot of hate but played well in the playoffs to earn his keep. Adding as much support to Bortles as possible would be a smart use of their draft picks. He will be without Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, who left in free agency and will need some new targets to throw to this season.
Luckily, the running game was the best in the league last season with Leonard Fournette leading the way. The offensive line is solid and they even signed Andrew Norwell to play guard for next season.
With a great defense and a solid offense, the Jaguars should look to add players in this draft who can help them get over the top to win a Super Bowl.
Picks and needs
The Jaguars have seven picks in the draft. They traded their fifth-round pick to the Bills as a part of the deal to acquire Dareus. An extra seventh-round pick was added from Cincinnati.
First Round (1 pick): 29
Second Round (1): 61
Third Round (1): 93
Fourth Round (1): 129
Fifth Round (0):
Sixth Round (1): 203
Seventh Round (1): 230, 247
Quarterback- The Jaguars signed Bortles to three more years. They clearly believe in him a little bit, but not enough to make him the franchise quarterback. Another quarterback should be taken to back him up and develop in case Bortles’ play falters. Currently, Cody Kessler is the only other quarterback on the roster.
Wide Receiver- Donte Moncrief was signed, but more is needed at the position. Robinson and Hurns departing leaves Moncrief with Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Jaelen Strong and Rashad Greene. They need a true number one receiver as well as more playmakers. Supporting Bortles with better receivers is a good way to find out if he’s worthy of a longer deal.
Tight End- Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul were signed, but they had fewer than 500 yards receiving between the two of them last season. This isn’t a high-priority need, but if they can snag a viable prospect in the middle to late rounds of the draft, it would benefit them greatly.
Offensive Line- Cam Robinson didn’t have the greatest season as a rookie left tackle. Hopefully, he can improve in year two, but if he can’t, he could be a candidate to move to guard. They either need a tackle or guard, but need to decide what they are doing with Robinson and make a draft selection accordingly.
Cornerback- Aaron Colvin left in free agency and D.J. Hayden was signed to be a slot-corner specialist. He hasn’t played the greatest the last few years, so a backup plan might be needed if he doesn’t work out.
Linebacker- With Posluszny retiring, Blair Brown will step into the starting lineup. He played decently last year when given the chance, but depth needs to be added behind him.
Pick No. 29: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
To address the wide receiver need, the Jaguars can take one at the end of the first round. Sutton is a bigger outside receiver who put up a lot of production at SMU. He uses his size to make plays on 50/50 balls and is a deep threat. He has struggled against good competition but didn’t get too many opportunities playing in the AAC.
Pick No. 61: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
The Jags already have the best rushing offense in the NFL, so when addressing the offensive line they can find a tackle that specializes in protecting the quarterback. Rankin can develop into a good left tackle, which could afford Robinson to move inside.
Pick No. 93: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
More support for Bortles comes in the form of an athletic receiving tight end. Gesicki had a really good combine and can be brought in to help Bortles, while developing into an all-around tight end behind Paul and Seferian-Jenkins.