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2018 NFL Draft: How Guard Will Hernandez Would Fit With The Jaguars

Zach Goodall

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Nov 18, 2017; El Paso, TX, USA; UTEP Miners guard Will Hernandez (76) before facing the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft is in 19 days.

With NFL teams finalizing their draft boards, and needs being relatively evident for each team after the free agency period came and went, it’s time to begin evaluating prospect fits at positions of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In continuation of my Jaguars prospect fit series, let’s take a look at UTEP guard Will Hernandez. You can check out my last piece, on Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki, here.

Measurables: (#) = Percentiles vs. NFL guards

Height: 6-2 3/8 (9)        40 yard dash: 5.15 (81)            20 shuttle: 4.7 (62)

Weight: 327 (83)             Vertical: 24 (12)                       Bench: 37 (97)

Arms: 32 (5)                     Broad: 8-8 (69)

Hands: 9 7/8 (46)           3 cone: 7.59 (78)

Hernandez doesn’t possess ideal height or length, but his 40 yard time, broad jump, 3 cone and bench press stand out. He possesses ideal strength (on the field and on the bench press) and ideal athleticism that comes off as impressive for a man of his frame.

Strengths

Will Hernandez plays angry on every snap. He wants to flatten opposing defenders consistently, and that he did during his four years at UTEP.

I hate to sound hyperbolic, but the effort Hernandez puts in to knock the defender off of his feet and proceeds to roll him over is evident on just about every play the guard is involved in.

Hernandez’s ability to pull and move for his size is incredible. The icing on the cake is his determination to finish the play and clear the way for the QB boot into the endzone. Look at that man fly!

Hernandez is explosive out of his stance and quick to engage, and from there it’s game over for the defender (#93). He is able to maintain his block to gain leverage getting vertical, opening and conserving the 1-hole for a big gain.

Leonard Fournette often struggled to break free on runs within the interior gaps due to a lack of longevity on blocks from guards A.J. Cann and Patrick Omameh last year, so he’d certainly benefit from a guard like Hernandez clearing up some space to explode through.

This is another quality rep from Hernandez without even seeing the result of the play. His strength is tough to match up against, and much like the plays above, Hernandez follows through on his attack until the whistle blows, and then some. The opposing defender literally threw a punch at Hernandez’s helmet out of frustration.

Hernandez’s ability to move and play with power immediately makes him intriguing, and what makes him ever better is his size takes up so much space, making it tough for defenders to pass by him.

Weaknesses

It’s hard to call any prospect perfect, but I don’t see any real weaknesses in Hernandez’s game. He’s a much better mauling run blocker than he is a pass protector, but he also hasn’t allowed a sack since his sophomore season in 2015, so I’d say he’s pretty good in the pass game as well.

The concerns for Hernandez were his level of competition in the C-USA and his lack of length to go against much bigger NFL defensive linemen. However, I believe the explosion out of his stance and quickness to identify and engage his blocks do make up of his lack of arm length.

Hernandez spent his entire career at UTEP playing left guard, so he’s naturally more mechanically fit to play the same spot in the pros. That’s in no way a weakness in terms of evaluating his play, but it becomes one when scouting him as a potential Jaguars fit…

Fit in Jacksonville

…considering the Jaguars made left guard Andrew Norwell the highest paid guard in the NFL just last month. Hernandez would be forced to make the move to right guard as a Jaguar, which is what the team did with A.J. Cann after his days as a left guard at South Carolina.

While Cann certainly hasn’t worked out too well after making the transition, it would be silly to assume other players, like Hernandez, couldn’t successfully make the transition. I believe it’s easier for a guard to swap spots on the line than it is to move a tackle inside to guard, but there would certainly be growing pains as his technique would have to completely flip on the right side.

However, once Hernandez would get the technique down, he’d be a giant upgrade to the offensive line’s lone weak link. Hernandez is a true power blocker who, paired with Norwell, would immediately open running lanes for Fournette to seize and drive down the field.

As I stated in my previous article, Mike Gesicki would be my pick at 29 if he’s available, as there will be a lot of interior talent available on Day 2 of the draft. But Hernandez would be a home-run pick as well, if he slides to the 29th overall pick, and the Jaguars offensive line would be leaps and bounds better than it was in 2017 with Hernandez in house.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars finalize coaching staff after landing offensive coordinator

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2019 coaching staff. They’ve officially hired their offensive coordinator as well as other staff members. John DeFilippo was the headliner for today as the replacement for Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also announced the remainder of their staff. As we covered in the past couple of weeks they have hired several position coaches, including Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, George Warhop as the offensive line coach, and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.

The rest of the staff was a mystery until today. The Jaguars announced they will be promoting assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach, and they have hired David Merritt as their assistant defensive line coach. Merritt spent the past season as the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach. Joe Danna will be promoted as well and will be coaching the safeties. Danna has been on the Jaguars staff as an assistant secondary coach since 2017. John Donovan, another assistant coach for the Jaguars, will be promoted to assistant running backs coach.

It is worth noting in today’s presser Marrone stated Tim Walton will coach the cornerbacks, and Joe Danna will coach the safeties. “I thought we could get more out of our coaches and players if we split the secondary,” Marrone said. This is worth noting as Walton actually held a similar role with the Giants for the past couple of seasons.

Scott Milanovich will remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach. Milanovich was the play-caller for the final five weeks of the season. Milanovich has been with the Jaguars as a QB coach since 2017.

There were no other major coaching changes on the Jaguars roster as the rest of the staff will stay intact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars will retain quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich

Zach Goodall

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Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will retain Scott Milanovich as their quarterbacks coach, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Milanovich filled in as interim offensive coordinator after Nate Hackett was fired midseason, but the offense saw no improvement with the QB coach calling plays. However, the team appears confident that the former Grey Cup-winning CFL head coach can handle the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach, a position Milanovich has held since Doug Marrone was named head coach in 2017.

The team hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator earlier today. You can read why he was a fantastic hire here. Marrone mentioned during his press conference today that Milanovich and DeFilippo have a previous relationship in Maryland.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to hire John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator, per report

Zach Goodall

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Credit: 247Sports.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to hire John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, per report.

DeFilippo was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator during the 2018 season, but was fired during Week 15, apparently due to a conflict of play-calling interests with head coach Mike Zimmer, who wanted to focus more on the run game than DeFilippo’s strengths with the pass game.

However, despite a lack of calling the run, Vikings quarterback had a historic season as a passer when it came to efficiency, being the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and complete at least 70% of his passes. Much of this can be credited to DeFilippo’s influence in the passing game.

Previous to Minnesota, DeFilippo was the Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach during their 2017-18 Super Bowl run, where he was key to the development of Carson Wentz and rejuvenation of Nick Foles’ career after Wentz tore his ACL. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, where then-36 year old Josh McCown posted the second most touchdown passes of his 13 year career with 12 in eight games, along with 2109 passing yards, a 63.7 completion percentage, and only four interceptions.

DeFilippo’s first NFL coaching job came in 2005 as an offensive quality control coach under then New York Giants head coach and current EVP of Football Operations for the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin. So there’s a definite connection to the team in ths hire.

At the end of the day, the Jaguars number one priority this offseason has to be, and will be, fixing their passing game woes. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to be replaced, and the team’s next signal caller must be groomed into a successful QB. DeFilippo has proven with Cousins, Foles/Wentz, as well as Josh McCown in Cleveland during the 2015 season, that he’s capable of doing just that.

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