The 2017 (82nd annual) NFL draft is scheduled April 27-29 from the NFL Draft Theater in Philadelphia, PA (It will be in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Player selections will be announced from the theatre built on the “Rocky Steps.” This draft is the first time it will be held outdoors. The Jacksonville Jaguars will have the 4th overall pick. They will also have the 35th, 68th, 110th, 148th, 187th, 222nd and 240th picks in the draft.
A little history lesson on how well the Jaguars have drafted since 2009. The Jaguars do not have any players on their roster from the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (David Caldwell’s first) draft classes. There are seven from the 2014 class plus one undrafted rookie, seven from the 2015 class plus two undrafted rookies and 6 players from the 2016 class plus two undrafted players.
In the 2016 draft, the Jaguars selected 6 defensive players and 1 offensive player.
Coming out of free agency the Jaguars upgraded the defensive line and defensive backs. Jacksonville also addressed the offensive line in free agency and in a trade. With that being said it kind of makes it hard to figure out who the Jacksonville Jaguars will take.
This year’s draft class is deep in the following areas:
Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, Guards, Defensive End, Safeties.
So who will the Jaguars take in the draft? Adams? Cook? Hooker? Thomas? Allen? Howard? Fournette? OMG!! Who do the Jaguars select with the first pick? With the signing of certain free agents give away who Jacksonville selects, or will they take the best available player?
Everyone has their own opinion on what is the biggest need for the Jaguars. Even though the Jaguars added 2 offensive lineman, my own opinion, the team still needs to upgrade the offensive line. It needs the biggest upgrade. In the past several years the Jaguars line was injured throughout the season. Luke Bowanko (2014/6th round) missed 14 games, Luke Joeckel (2013/1st round) missed 12 games, Brandon Linder (2014/3rd round) missed 2 games, Patrick Omameh (Free Agent 2016) missed games, Chris Reed (Undrafted Free Agent 2015) missed 6 games, Josh Wells (Undrafted Free Agent 2014) missed 11 games. The 2016 team used 4 left tackles. If the team can stay healthy on the line, it could dominate. A true center is needed so Brad Linder can go back to his natural position at left guard, or are the Jaguars happy with him playing center?
Another linebacker, or two would be nice.
I do not expect Jacksonville to select an offensive lineman in the 1st round. The pass two years Jacksonville has taken a defensive player with the 1st pick. While I feel that is the way the team is leaning, I do not believe that will happen. It will be the best available player. After the 1st round I do see Jacksonville taking 2 offensive lineman.
One last thing I would like to mention. After many, many rewrites, changes to picks, then putting those picks back in, just to change them again (LOL), I finally completed who I feel the team will pick. It is not an easy task to do, and I do not envy Caldwell, Coughlin, Marrone, and the Scouting department.
No matter who the Jags pick, the selection will have an immediate impact on the team.
So with that being said……Drum rolls please….
Jacksonville Jaguars 1st Pick: RB Leonard Fournette (6’1”/240) LSU
Sorry Jaguar FSU fans who wanted Dalvin Cook as the next Jacksonville running back.
Last year the Jaguars signed free agent RB Chris Ivory who had just rushed for over 1,000 yards and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. He signed a 5 year contract worth $32.5 million. In his first season with the Jaguars, Chris only played 11 games and started 1 game with 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. TJ Yeldon, a second round pick in 2015, has played in 27 games (out of 32 games) and started 25, with 1,205 yards and 3 touchdowns.
As you can see from those unimpressive stats from the running backs the selection of Fournette is a wise decision. He can carry the load without having to look over his shoulders to see how Dalvin Cook is doing. But just for the record, Leonard ran the 40 yard dash in 4.51 secs which is pretty good for a man weighing in at 240, while Cook, who is 30 lbs lighter, ran the 40 in 4.49 secs. Not much of a difference maker for taking Cook is it?
Leonard is fast, can run up the middle, or run the outside running play leaving defenders behind. Hard to take down and can catch the ball coming out of the backfield. Should have no problems blocking on passing plays. The complete running back…
With this pick Jacksonville could release Ivory and clear up cap space for some of the Jaguars eligible for free agency after the 2017.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2nd Pick (35th overall): OLB Zach Cunningham (6’3”/234) Vanderbilt
Is anyone impressed with the depth of the linebacker corps after Smith. Jack and Poslusky? Nope? Me either. So what better way than to select OLB Zach Cunningham. Zach will add depth to a position that is lacking in quality players. He will eventually become a starter. Cunningham is fast, aggressive and a sideline-to sideline player. Can generate turnovers which is what the Jaguars need.
Jacksonville Jaguars 3rd Pick (68th overall): G Dorian Johnson (6’5”/300) Pittsburgh
The rebuilt offensive line will begin with the selection of Dorian Johnson. He is aggressive and can run and pass block.
Jacksonville Jaguars 4th Pick (110th overall): T David Sharpe (6’6”/343) Florida
I am finally realizing that the Jaguars are committed to keeping Brandon Linder at center. So to beef up the offensive line Jacksonville will select David Sharpe. Can you image the holes he could create for the running game?
Jacksonville Jaguars 5th Pick (148th overall): CB Rasul Douglas (6’2”/209) West Virginia
Has good size and can play in zone coverage or man-to-man coverage. Had 8 interceptions in 2016, while the Jaguars had 7 as a team.
Jacksonville Jaguars 6th Pick (187th overall): C Jon Toth (6’5”/307) Kentucky
Another offensive lineman will be taken with the selection of John Toth. A very good run blocker and an average pass blocker.
Jacksonville Jaguars 7th Pick (222nd overall): LB Anothony Walker Jr. (6’1”/238) Northwestern
Two linebackers in one draft. Yep, with the selection of Anthony Walker Jr. Anthony is Smart with excellent work ethic, he is also very aggressive.
Jacksonville Jaguars 7th Pick (240th overall – From Miami Dolphins): WR Amba Etta-Tawo (6’1”/208) Syracuse
Who? It’s Etta-Tawo a wide receiver from Syracuse. Sorry this pick is for me as I am a Syracuse fan. But, with an extra pick what has Jacksonville got to lose? In every year he has played in college his production has improved. As you Jaguars fans in the facebook community like to say with Devon Cook…ENOUGH SAID!!
So there you have it, my 2017 Jacksonville Jaguar draft, 3 defensive players and 5 offensive players. We add a starting RB. A LB who could start and it adds depth to the offensive line and linebacker positions.