Coming off arguably the best season in franchise history, the Jacksonville Jaguars have about $23 million in cap space this offseason to improve their team in 2018. You have to think there will be a new quarterback, maybe two, such as a combination of Kirk Cousins and an early-round draft pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in this draft, they pick predominantly on offense. They’ll likely lose both Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, both often injured. They could upgrade both guards and maybe add a complement to Leonard Fournette as well. In order to make sure I wasn’t rigging results, I just did a Fanspeak mock. Here’s how it turned out.
Round 1, pick 29 – Isaiah Wynn, Guard, Georgia
The Jaguars bolster their offensive line by selecting an offensive lineman from the runner up in the national championship game. Wynn played left tackle but many assume he will slide inside at guard. Wynn would be an immediate upgrade over Patrick Omameh. Wynn also gives the team flexibility in the event that either Cam Robinson or Jeremy Parnell miss some time. Wynn will continue to bring a power mentality and change the culture of the team. At tackle, Wynn allowed only one sack and four QB pressures in 320 pass snaps. He also has the ability to affect the run game. Wynn is very good at combination blocks. By building inside out, Wynn makes sense here.
Round 2, pick 29 – James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Washington gives the Jaguars a true deep threat. I am not sure how fast he is, but he consistently gets by defenders. He also has shown he can win 50-50 passes. In the Jaguars’ offense, he’ll see plenty of one-on-one opportunities. He didn’t do much in college as far as running the entire route tree, but he is a good complement to Dede Westbrook and the two young slot guys who made some noise in the playoffs. The Jags continue to add firepower with this pick for their incumbent quarterback.
Round 3, pick 29, Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
Jaguar fans will likely be upset after the team passes on Lamar Jackson in the first round. I took someone who will help them immediately, assuming they spend big bucks on a free-agent quarterback. Lauletta is arguably the most accurate passer in the draft. He showed what he can do in the Senior Bowl. Lauletta has enough arm to get it done in the NFL. He also has the mobility to maneuver in the pocket. This is a nice, safe pick for Jacksonville. Lauletta can play.
Round 4, pick 29 – Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
The Jaguars get great value here by selecting a very athletic tight end. Some think he may end up being the best at his position in an underwhelming draft class. His stats won’t wow you, but that may be attributed to poor quarterback play and the offense in general. What he gives Jacksonville is a player who can stretch the field. Marcedes Lewis is nearing the end and Thomas should make a smooth transition. He’ll be a better pro than a collegiate player.
Round 5, pick 29 – Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee
The first pick on defense is a depth pick. At this point in the draft that’s exactly what teams are looking for. The Jags are expected to lose slot corner Aaron Colvin. Instead of paying him it would be smart to replace him with a cheap option later in the draft. That’s exactly what they do here. Gaulden is 6-1 but played inside for the Vols. He is physical and his mentality fits right in with the defense the Jaguars have built.
Round 6, pick 29 – Nyheim Hines, RB, N.C. State
He is going to blow the doors off of the combine. Hines can fly. Some don’t think he is an every-down back. Others think he should have stayed another year. His ability as a returner should get him on the field right away. Last year Jacksonville’s offense was better when Corey Grant got snaps over other backups Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon. Hines gives the Jags an explosive presence not even Grant can match.
Round 7, pick 28 – Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State
Shepherd is a guy who is said to have a high motor, good hand placement, and can play all over the line. If he could contribute 15-20 snaps a game to give the starters a blow, that would be great for a seventh-rounder. This would be a great depth pick for the Jags.
How do you think Jacksonville did in this mock draft?