The 2019 Senior Bowl is in the books, and after attending the practices and watching the game, it’s time to break down all aspects of the major scouting week and how they apply to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This scouting notebook will be broken down into several sections: Senior Bowl prospects the Jaguars should target, a breakdown of the quarterbacks, prospect meetings, one-liners, and a Jaguars Senior Bowl-only mock draft.
Just for context: When Day 2 of practice was closed from the media due to weather, Filip Prus of Locked On Jaguars/Optimum Scouting, Riley Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, and I spent about eight hours in the Senior Bowl coaches film room, extensively studying Day 1 and 2 practice tape and putting together our thoughts and observations. The analysis to follow mainly comes from my takeaways during those sessions, as well as some from the Day 3 and game broadcast.
Senior Bowl prospects who the Jaguars should target
Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College
The 51-straight game starter was a big winner in Mobile. Despite measuring in ever-so-slightly undersized compared to NFL guards at 6-3 3/4, 303 lbs, Lindstrom’s arm length – 34 1/8″ – was a big win for the Boston College prospect.
When on the practice field, Lindstrom did work as a run blocker. His lower body power mixed with active feet drove defenders left and right consistently to open gaps in the run game. He routinely executed perfect combo blocks with right tackle Dalton Risner, ripping the right shoulder of the 3-tech and pushing off the responsibility to Risner before quickly getting to the second level and sealing the lane from linebackers. Lindstrom also had several impressive seal blocks when working on outside zone, crossing outside of the 3-tech and attacking the left shoulder, one play opened a gap in perfect time for RB Karan Higdon to cut through and break into open field.
In pass protection, there were times where you’d want to see Lindstrom utilize more extension with his lengthy arms, but that was more in 1v1 drills rather than team exercises. He did display a powerful punch when timed correctly, great mirroring with his active feet, and solid recovery when he would lose on an initial speed rush move.
Lindstrom likely played his way into the first round in Mobile, and will probably be considered iOL1. However, if he falls into the second round – assuming the Jaguars can hold onto 38th overall as they search for a quarterback – Lindstrom would be a home-run selection as A.J. Cann’s replacement at right guard.
RG Chris Lindstrom was the best OL today. This unit was great but Lindstrom was the best.
*Hook on the zone run
*Combo, Upkick thru to BS LB
*Widens hole then climbs
*Skip pull and delivers a shot (Ledbetter didn’t want any)
*Perfect combo w Bradbury
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) January 27, 2019
Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon
A defensive player that should be a “must-target” for the Jaguars? Yes, hear me out.
Jelks fits the Jaguars one-gap “big-end” position – a 5-technique defensive end who’s a primary run-stopper and offers a power-presence in the pass rush. Calais Campbell currently fills the position, but despite his fantastic production over the past two seasons, he isn’t getting any younger – he will be 33 before the 2019 season kicks off. The Jaguars went looking for an heir to Campbell last year when they drafted Taven Bryan in the first round and moved him to DE, however that project didn’t work too well. Bryan got moved back to defensive tackle midseason, and now serves as the heir to Malik Jackson.
So, despite huge needs across the board on offense, “big-end” could very well be a target-position for Jacksonville once again this year, and Jelks’ athletic profile and Senior Bowl performance could have put himself on the Jaguars radar. He came in at 6-5 1/2, 250 lbs, with 33 7/8″ arms and 9 1/2″ hands. He’s a bit lanky, but lengthy, and extremely athletic. Jelks recorded 15.5 sacks, 30 tackles for loss, and 11 batted passes at Oregon.
— DLineVids (@DLineVids) January 26, 2019
Above, Jelks is playing inside and displays burst off the line and violent hand usage to create pressure. While I believe with his length that he’s capable of putting on weight without slowing down, his size is best suited at defensive end. He also already plays with a lot of power, and with added beef, he could play even stronger at the next level.
When someone tells you that you’re only an edge rusher.
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) January 23, 2019
Jelks has several pass rush moves, can seal edges vs. the run and provides the type of burst Jacksonville likes out of their draft-pick pass rushers (See: Bryan), but his weight, some technique issues that need refining, and the lack of a pass rush plan will drop him down boards. He’s a true project-player, but he’s the type of project the Jaguars are in a great position to take on. He fits their style, he wouldn’t start until at least the second, and probably even third, year of his career until Campbell really slows down, and would receive great training from Campbell himself. In an ideal world, Jelks would become a full-time starter at “big end” in his third season, standing at a muscular 270 lbs.
Much like a Lindstrom selection, it all depends on what picks the Jaguars have on draft night in their pursuit of a quarterback. But let’s assume they hold onto all four of their picks in the first three rounds. If that’s the case, the Jaguars first 3rd round pick (69th overall) would be the sweet spot for Jelks, after landing a QB and an offensive lineman with their first two picks, and another third rounder to follow and use on an offensive prospect again.
Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
Another offensive lineman who should be on the Jaguars radar, Risner put on a show as well in Mobile. While there have been debates on his best position fit considering he played right tackle and center in college, Risner is on record saying he while he will play wherever he’s asked to, he feels most comfortable at right tackle, and his 6-4 5/8, 308, 34 1/4″ arms and 10 5/8″ hands are solid measurements for the position.
Risner played with a mean streak all week, putting opposing pass rushers in the dirt and displaying a violent punch at initial contact and through his pass sets. With his right guard partner-in-crime Chris Lindstrom, the two consistentoy executed combo blocks where they double-teamed rushers, and eventually the responsibility of the rusher went solely to Risner as Lindstrom moved to the second level. These types of blocks require great processing speed, hand usage, and chemistry with the guard, and Risner displayed all three of these aspects – the chemistry with Lindstrom despite never playing with him before the Senior Bowl being the most impressive and speaks to his “team-player” mentality.
Risner might have locked himself into the first round in Mobile, as his versatility, experience, technique and mean streak will boost his stock and might put him in discussion for OT1, which carries more draft value than interior offensive line. That puts him out of range for the Jaguars 38th overall pick, but if he’s somehow still available at their second round selection and they view him as a guard or want to add competition at right tackle, Risner, like Lindstrom, would be a no-brainer pick.
— Pete Francis (@Pete_Francis) January 23, 2019
Foster Moreau, TE, Louisiana State
Moreau is widely regarded as a blocking tight end by draftniks, and up until the Senior Bowl I was in that camp. He simply didn’t show much on film, nor on the stat-sheet, that displayed a ton of promise for him as a dominant receiving tight end in the NFL.
But this is what the Senior Bowl is all about: Putting your skills on display while under the microscope of NFL talent evaluators, and Moreau put on a show. Starting off at weigh-ins, Moreau came in at 6-4 and 1/4, 250, with 33 3/4″ arms and 9 7/8″ hands – He looks like your prototype tight end, and he utilized that size to win as an in-line blocker and at H-back.
While he primarily played in-line at LSU, he told me that he has been working on his ability to block in space – an H-back responsibility. Jaguars new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo knows a thing or two about H-backs, as he was on staff that saw TE Trey Burton rise to success at the position in Philadelphia. Considering Moreau played well at H-back as well as in-line in Mobile with DeFilippo as well as several members of the Jaguars staff in attendance, it’s safe to say he’s on their radar. They met with Moreau as well.
But beyond blocking, Moreau consistently won contested catch battles during practices. While he is a little stiff out of his in-line stance, he separated decently to get open in the middle of the field and showed off solid body control to win jump balls vs. defenders near the boundary, utilizing sure-hands and not relying on his body to catch the ball. Moreau also displayed violence with his hands at the cushion of a man-coverage defender, which is a good trait to have against press.
Moreau is considered a Day 3 prospect, as he doesn’t possess great athleticism and carries the “blocking TE” tag, but his performance at the Senior Bowl certainly made me comfortable for him to be the Jaguars second 3rd round pick (the NFL may not agree with me due to his athleticism and how deep the TE class is), as they badly need to address the TE position. He fits the Jaguars mold and has potential beyond what we’ve seen from him at LSU as a receiver.
— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) January 24, 2019
Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
The Jaguars met with Terry McLaurin of Ohio State early and often during the Senior Bowl, and considering he was regarded as a Day 3 prospect heading into Mobile, my early assumption was these meetings were held to do dig up some background info on his teammate, QB Dwayne Haskins, who is a top-10 lock for the upcoming NFL Draft.
However, McLaurin put on a show during practices as well. He displayed elite long-speed which allowed him to separate well when he broke cushion against man coverage defenders and in 1v1 drills.
In case you were concerned, Terry McLaurin is still owning the Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/WkAwqLc5Fu
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) January 24, 2019
He also showed off short/intermediate route running prowess, with clean cuts and footwork to beat defenders to the middle of the field. The ability to win routes in the short/intermediate middle of the field is a vital part of the offense the Jaguars have run in the past, and while it is yet to be seen if DeFilippo will change the pass game philosophy drastically, West Coast receiving traits are great traits to have. And McLaurin has them.
Terry McLaurin, WR OSU, May have made himself the most money this weekend.
Clean releases off the LoS all week, suddenly breaks, and has shown strong hands when targeted. Also a ST/gunner ace in drills. pic.twitter.com/xiQFEXON4q
— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) January 24, 2019
The cherry on top: Despite measuing in at 6-0 flat, just under average WR size, with 32″ arms (right about the 50th percentile among NFL WRs), McLaurin made some contested catches during the week that caught the eyes of scouts and media alike. He looked like an all-around receiver and his stock is soaring after a great week in Mobile.
Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin with the contested catch through contact pic.twitter.com/PRPF34entb
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 26, 2019
The Jaguars need to add a boundary, contested catch receiver more than any other type, but McLaurin appears to have the skill-set that, with coaching, could turn into that type of receiver on top of his West Coast and deep threat ability.
Oli Udoh, OL, Elon
That’s Jermey Parnell-clone Olisaemeka Udoh, to you.
Udoh, the son of Nigerian immigrants who own a medical clinic, went to Elon for the free education on a football scholarship he earned in order to follow his parents suit in the medical field. He gained a ton of (unhealthy) weight in college, at one time weighing 384 lbs, but when the NFL came calling, he began to eat healthier and has transformed into a legitimate NFL prospect along the way. You can read a feature on Udoh’s background and path to the NFL Draft in this article from Greg Auman of The Athletic here.
Now, Udoh stands at legitimate right tackle size, and while he’s cut down on a ton of weight, he still possesses some elite measurements. He stands at 6-5 3/4, 327 lbs (with a goal of 320 by the NFL Combine), with 36″ arms and 10″ hands. That arm length would be good for t-11th longest in the NFL among tackles since 1999.
He’s certainly got some technical issues that must be addressed, including controlling his pad level and hand usage when taking on pass rushers in space, but he plays with a ton of strength and active feet that make him very intriguing, paired with his size. He’s going to be a Day 3 pick unless he blows away the Combine, but the size/trait combo is enticing and he has all the potential to be an NFL starter with the correct grooming.
Oli Udoh: Jermey Parnell clone.
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) January 27, 2019
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Deebo Samuel had an electric week in Mobile as well. He started off at weigh-ins coming in slightly under six feet at 5-11 and a 1/2, 216 lbs, with nice 32 1/2″ arms and big hands at 10 1/8″. Those hands were on display all week, as Samuel only dropped one ball and it was on a pass thrown slightly behind him on a crossing route – hard to blame him.
Samuel wanted teams to know that, while his preference is the slot, he can and will play every WR position there is, and he proved that at the Senior Bowl. His long speed isn’t great, but he ran clean routes to the short, intermediate, and deep field in every practice. Plus, his sharp footwork literally had analysts and scouts “whewww”-ing in the film room.
Deebo Samuel’s foot speed is disgusting… pic.twitter.com/6dYpe7BSXt
— Jake (@SeedsofJake) January 22, 2019
Samuel also spent time returning kicks and punts in special teams exercises, and discussed that he was used as a punt team gunner during his time at South Carolina. The week he had in practice on top of his proven versatility is certainly shooting him up draft boards, however, Jacksonville could use a more dominant outside receiver rather than a slot guy, and while I believe Samuel is capable of the former, he seems to want to play the latter.
But hey, I’m not making the decisions here. If Jacksonville has a range they want to grab a receiver and want to add the best receiver available, Samuel would make a ton of sense so long as he’s available. His special teams ability is a cherry on top for a team that values that kind of skill-set from their WRs like the Jaguars.
Simply put, Jaguars fans: No.
The Jaguars franchise quarterback wasn’t in Mobile this year. The group as a whole underperformed compared to previous groups, despite some hype that it yielded before the week kicked off.
Drew Lock (Missouri), arguably the best prospect of the bunch, still displayed some footwork and decision making issues during practices that make him more of a project rather than a sure-thing. Jacksonville isn’t in the position to gamble on a quarterback like that, but I don’t see him making it past Denver.
Daniel Jones (Duke) had high expectations coming in, being dubbed a first round quarterback by Oakland Raiders head coach, and coach of Jones’ North team at the Senior Bowl, Jon Gruden. However, his lack of arm strength was a notable problem in Mobile, and he struggled with decision making and reading pressure from time to time. His connections to Peyton and Eli Manning are intriguing, but he’s got some work to do.
Will Grier (WVU) certainly talked like an alpha QB, calling himself the “best quarterback in this draft” after practice on Tuesday, but he didn’t always look it. He missed some easy throws in the middle of the field during team and individual drills, and tried to make hero-ball plays out of nothing at times where there were healthier alternatives, much like his West Virginia tape has shown in the past.
Trace McSorley (Penn State), Ryan Finley (North Carolina State), Gardner Minshew (Washington State), and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) did nothing to elevate their game during the week, and all four of these quarterbacks had major question marks on their scouting reports heading in. The only QB who made more of a name for himself in Mobile was Tyree Jackson (Buffalo).
He didn’t have a fantastic week, but teams wanted to see more than a naturally strong arm out in practice, and rather more accuracy, ball control, and decision making. He struggled at times, but there were definitely glimpses of all three of these aspects being fine-tuned. Jackson told me he’s been focusing on control and lower body mechanics with Jordan Palmer this winter in California. He’s got a long way to go, but his tools mixed with some positive growth did him some favors at the Senior Bowl.
But even considering Jackson’s showing, none of these guys change your franchise for the better right now. And Jacksonville needs an alpha-QB to come in and win games out the gate. There’s two guys in this draft who are capable of such, and neither of them were eligible for the Senior Bowl this year.
Jaguars prospect meetings
Per myself, Chris Thornton, and Filip Prus of Locked On Jaguars, the Jacksonville Jaguars met with the following prospects at the Senior Bowl.
* = Multiple meetings
QB Will Grier, WVU
QB Drew Lock, MISS
QB Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
WR Terry McLaurin*, Ohio State
WR Jakobi Meyers*, NCST
WR Gary Jennings*, WVU
RT Dalton Risner, Kansas State
RG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
RG Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin
TE Foster Moreau, LSU
TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College
CB Corey Ballentine, Washburn
Senior Bowl one-liners
Here’s a mix of great one-liner quotes fron prospects, coaches, and media alike from my first time at the Senior Bowl.
“I think every quarterback here would be like ‘If I could throw for 50 touchdowns and win the games that Patrick Mahomes does’, then we’d all say ‘Heck yeah, what do you need from me? I’ll give you whatever you need.” – Missouri QB Drew Lock
“Let em play! Let em play! Nobody’s here to see you guys ref!!” – North team/Raiders head coach Jon Gruden after a penalty in the Senior Bowl
“Mr. Elway, my name is Dalton Risner. I’m from Wiggins, Colorado, and I’m doing everything I can to represent our state well out here.” – Kansas State OL Dalton Risner to Broncos G.M. John Elway
“[Peyton and Eli Manning] are two of my role models, and are guys I’ve looked up to… well maybe role model is a strong word, my dad’s my role model.” – Duke QB Daniel Jones
“I’m the best quarterback in this draft.” – WVU QB Will Grier
“Nate Davis of Charlotte. Hell of an ass on that guy.” – Anonymous media member
“I feel like I’ve always been overlooked… More than anything I’m not trying to prove anybody wrong, but prove the people who believed in me right.” – Washington State QB Gardner Minshew
Jaguars Senior Bowl-only mock draft
Based on fit and need, here is a Jaguars mock draft based solely on my favorite Senior Bowl prospects and where I believe their value is.
2nd round – 38th overall: Chris Lindstrom, RG, Boston College
3rd round – 69th overall: Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon
3rd round – 96th overall (from LAR): Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
4th round – 103rd overall: Foster Moreau, TE, Louisiana State
6th round – 165th overall: Oli Udoh, RT, Elon
The Jaguars need to get the (non-Senior Bowl) QB with the 7th overall pick (or trade up if necessary), but the 2019 Senior Bowl provides enough talent at different positions for the Jaguars to address a ton of different needs across their offense, and even on defense.
It was a fantastic first trip to Mobile, as I got to take time off of my full-time restaurant job and watch football with Twitter-turned-real life friends, eat some really awesome Mobile food, interview big-name football people I once dreamed of being, join Jacksonville radio stations as a guest, and provide analysis and news to Jaguars fans. I hope this Senior Bowl coverage is what you’ve been looking for, because you better believe I’ll be back in Mobile next year and for years to come.
Jaguars sign Josh Lambo to contract extension, per report
The Jacksonville Jaguars have extended Kicker Josh Lambo’s contract according to John Reid of Jacksonville.com. Lambo was set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Lambo was originally signed during the Jaguars 2017 season after giving up on Jason Myers.
Lambo has excelled greatly in Jacksonville. In 2017, Lambo missed only one field goal and two extra points. Last season Lambo missed only two field goals and one extra point. It is safe to say that the contract extension was well deserved.
#Jaguars have signed kicker Josh Lambo to a contract extension.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 13, 2019
It is not currently known the terms of Lambo’s contract. We will update this story as more information becomes available.
Josh Lambo has confirmed the extension was for four years.
— Josh Lambo (@JoshLambo) February 13, 2019
Lambo was signed to a four-year $15.5M contract with $6.5M in full guarantees.
The #Jaguars signed K Josh Lambo to a 4-year extension worth $15.5M, source said. He gets $6.5M in full guarantees. 💰💰💰
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 2019
2019 NFL Draft: Locked On Jaguars Mock Draft 1.0
The 2018 NFL season is officially over, and the draft order has been set. Although free agency is a very popular topic, the NFL draft is arguably more popular, and what a better way to express that than yet another mock draft?
While there will be many Jaguars-centric mock drafts from this website, we decided to take a crack at the entirety of the first round with the majority of our contributors. We split up the mock draft in seven parts with each person getting 4-5 picks.
Prior to the draft, we decided to change it up a little by including no trades in the draft itself, however, we did have one pre-draft trade. The Arizona Cardinals sent Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for their first round pick (15th overall).
So without further adieu, I present to you the Locked On Jaguars Mock Draft 1.0:
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Christopher Thornton: Let’s blow the roof off this [redacted] place.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Zach Goodall: Duh.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, UK
Noah Thomas: Allen is probably the second-best edge rusher after Bosa, and it is only fitting he goes one pick later.
4. Oakland Raiders: Brian Burns, EDGE, FSU
Zak Dewitt: The Raiders desperately need a pass rushing presence off of the edge after getting rid of Mack last year. Burns provides elite bend at that position.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Demetrius Harvey: The Buccaneers took a defensive tackle in the first round last year, and they will quite possibly do so again this year if Williams falls to them. He possesses incredible strength in the interior to hold up against the run and provides a more than adequate pass rush to boot. He’s a slam dunk pick for the Bucs considering their situation with Gerald McCoy who is a potential cap casualty this offseason.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Ruairi Songer: As much as I would like Haskins to fall to the Jaguars, I just don’t think the Giants would let that happen without the Jaguars having to trade up. Haskins is a very efficient pocket passer, who would be an immediate upgrade over an aging Eli Manning. This will also allow the Giants to fully utilize weapons such as Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Dylan Goldman: I know this pick might not be the “sexy” pick, but without the two best QBs in the draft available, the Jaguars can plug another vacant hole here. Hockenson can fill the void left by Austin Seferian-Jenkins (if they do not pick up his option) at an already weak position for the Jags.
8. Detroit Lions: Jachai Polite, EDGE, UF
Christopher Thornton: Detroit lands one of the best edge rushers in the class to finally give them a longterm edge rusher with Ansah likely gone in free agency.
9. Buffalo Bills: N’Keal Harry, WR, ASU
Zach Goodall: The Buffalo Bills badly need to add weapons for second-year QB Josh Allen. While D.K Metcalf is widely viewed as WR1, he is fresh off of a neck injury that could move him down draft boards. Harry provides excellent size at 6-4, and athleticism to win contested matchups and create yards after the catch in the short game.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Noah Thomas: Everyone seems to be placing Lock and Elway together in a marriage. This pick is a little bit of dot connecting and need. Drew Lock is likely the third QB picked regardless.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
Zak Dewitt: With the Bengals looking to move on from Burfict, they desperately need a hard hitter in the middle and White will do well in today’s NFL.
12. Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Demetrius Harvey: Montez Sweat might have improved his draft stock tremendously at the senior bowl, and what better of a team to draft him than the Packers. For years they have lacked an edge rusher to match the production of Clay Matthews and now that Matthews is getting a little older, it is time for them to invest.
13. Miami Dolphins: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Ruairi Songer: Greedy Williams would be an excellent addition to a rapidly maturing Dolphins secondary. Adding Williams would allow the Dolphins to have more flexibility with Minkah Fitzpatrick, and would give Xavien Howard a dynamic counterpart.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Dylan Goldman: Ed Oliver is a physical freak, who Atlanta would be lucky to get and plug their hole at defensive tackle.
15. Arizona Cardinals (via WAS): Jonah Williams, LT, Alabama
Christopher Thornton: Arizona’s OL was a mess for Rosen and the Cardinals offense last year. Now, after drafting another QB top 5, they look to actually protect him and get a line for David Johnson. Williams comes in and starts day one at either left tackle or left guard.
16. Carolina Panthers: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
Zach Goodall: Panthers badly need to address their offensive line, across the board. Risner is a durable, experienced offensive lineman who can play center, right guard, and right tackle and is relatively scheme universal.
17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Noah Thomas: Byron Murphy would be an excellent pairing with Denzel Ward. The Browns can afford this luxury after finally getting their quarterback last year.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Zak Dewitt: The Vikings will likely run the ball more in 2019 and Cousins needs a good OL to prosper. Ford gives them a great right tackle that could play guard if needed.
19. Tennessee Titans: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
Demetrius Harvey: Mullen is the type of cornerback to perfectly fit in with Mike Vabrel and the Tennessee Titans defense. He offers enough length and physicality to match up against big corners and enough quickness in the short area to match the quick-twitch receivers in the AFC South.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Ruairi Songer: The Pittsburgh secondary desperately needs help, and luckily for them, Baker falls right into their lap at pick 20. Baker isn’t the flashiest corner, but he is technically refined and does a good job at diagnosing routes. His lack of athleticism is extremely exaggerated, as he should test as a middle of the road athlete. Baker should be able to contribute right away and should be a solid starter for years to come.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Dylan Goldman: The Seahawks need to keep rebuilding their ever-changing defense, and Lawrence –who was a huge part of Clemson’s dynamic defense over the past few years– could really help them.
22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Christopher Thornton: It seems the Ravens have been chasing that elusive WR1 for years now and they might *finally* find their man. D.K Metcalf is my WR1 and the Ravens front office should be sprinting to the podium if Metcalf is there at 22.
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Zach Goodall: Much like my Carolina pick, Houston might need OL more than any team in this draft to protect Deshaun Watson. Taylor is a highly athletic right tackle who improved drastically this past season at UF, and he can take over right tackle duties as Kendall Lamm’s contract is up. Lamm also allowed the 2nd most pressures across the Texans OL in 2018.
24. Oakland Raiders: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Noah Thomas: Daniel Jones has to go somewhere, and Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden seemed to be very impressed with the Duke alum during the senior bowl. If the Raiders decide to get rid of Carr soon, they need someone to take over. Having three first round picks doesn’t hurt either.
25. Philidelphia Eagles: Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississipi State
Zak Dewitt: The bread and butter of the Eagles defense the past couple of years has been their defensive line. They add a top 10 prospect who just happens to play a “devalued” position.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Demetrius Harvey: Besides T.Y. Hilton, the Colts have basically nobody at receiver. Butler’s stocks have been rising throughout the league, and the Colts would be pleasantly surprised if he fell to them at 26. Butler offers the size and catch radius to be Luck’s go-to receiver and complements Hilton’s quickness very well.
27. Oakland Raiders: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Ruairi Songer: The lifeless Oakland Raiders offense is in need of some playmaking wide receivers, and Jordy Nelson, Marcell Ateman, and Brandon LaFell won’t cut it. Enter Marquise Brown, the electrifying speedster out of Oklahoma, and cousin of NFL superstar Antonio Brown. Marquise is an impressive route runner, and possess elite speed and acceleration. If small size doesn’t impede his NFL development, he should be able to become a playmaker for Derek Carr (or any Quarterback) and company immediately.
28. Los Angelas Chargers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Dylan Goldman: Mack Wilson was an integral part of Alabama’s dominant defense in 2017 and 2018, and Wilson is an intriguing player to help bolster old friend Gus Bradley’s defense in Los Angelas.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Christopher Thornton: The Chiefs had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last year, somewhat neutralizing the powerhouse of an offense they had at times. Thompson is an athletic pure safety that should fill in beautifully next to FS Eric Berry if he ever returns to his old self.
30. Green Bay Packers: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
Zach Goodall: I can’t stop lovin’ on this OL class. Aaron Rodgers should bounce back with an innovative offensive mind in Matt LaFleur as head coach, but he needs two new guards to give him time to throw. Lindstrom is the best pure guard in this class.
31. Los Angelas Rams: Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon
Noah Thomas: Jalen Jelks is a project, but given how his senior bowl went, he could easily be the guy who makes it to the bottom of round one. He brings a versatility to the Rams defensive line which will need to be revamped given their salary cap situation coming up.
32. New England Patriots: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Zak Dewitt: Ferrell will give the Patriots a solid rusher off the edge who will allow them to still be creative with their defense.
The Jaguars should pursue running back Le’Veon Bell in free agency
The Jacksonville Jaguars enter the 2019 offseason needing to address virtually every position along the offensive side of their roster. Not every position necessarily needs a new starter, but after what was an abysmal offensive showing during the entirety of the 2018 season, nothing should be ruled out.
In which case, how about totally canning the Leonard Fournette experiment at running back and making a huge, unexpected free agency splash in targeting former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell?
It sounds really crazy at first, and many fans would hate the idea of giving up on the former 4th overall pick so quickly, but when you connect some dots and really think about the idea, it can make sense.
With the quarterback position being the biggest need this offseason, the idea of chasing Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles in either free agency or via trade is popular amongst Jaguars fans and media alike. He’s a former Super Bowl MVP who has filled in and won games when starter Carson Wentz went out with injuries. As former Jaguars and current Eagles beat writer Mike Kaye wrote on the Foles/Jaguars rumors the other day, “Foles would be the biggest celebrity in the city once he put pen to paper, even with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on the roster”.
However, acquiring Foles will not be cheap, and comes with a lot of risks. Sure, he played some of his best football under new Jaguars offensive coordinator and former Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo, but he’s a bit of a journeyman who’s had an up-and-down career as a whole. His first three years in Philadelphia provided flashes, including a 27 touchdown and two interception sophomore season, with 2891 passing yards and a 64% completion percentage in 13 games. However, he was traded to the St. Louis Rams after his third year with the Eagles after throwing 10 interceptions in eight games and going on the injured reserve with a broken collarbone in Week 9.
Foles looked no better in one season with the Rams than he did the year prior, throwing only seven TDs and 10 INTs in 11 games, then requesting to be released after the Rams traded up and selected QB Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent the 2016 season as Alex Smith’s backup with the Kansas City Chiefs, starting one game against the Jaguars where he threw for 187 yards and a TD. Foles made his way back to Philadelphia as Wentz’s backup, and the rest is history: He’s thrown for 1950 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games filling in for Wentz, and won the Super Bowl 52 MVP Award.
While recency bias would say Foles is a prime candidate for the Jaguars starting QB job, his shaky career history should keep Jacksonville from breaking the bank on the 30 year old signal-caller. And as mentioned previously, he’s going to be expensive. Reports broke after he bought out his team-option that the Eagles were planning on franchise tagging Foles in order to trade him away before free agency. That provides a ton of risk for Philadelphia if no team is willing to pay his franchise tag price plus trade away assets for Foles, as the tag is projected at $25 million in 2019 for quarterbacks and the Eagles reportedly are asking for a third round pick in return for Foles services.
Considering the Jaguars are currently projected to be $4,316,311 under the cap, and have so many needs on offense, it doesn’t make much sense to spend that much on a 30 year old quarterback who’s never consistently played well as a starter in the NFL.
However, the Jaguars are going to be trimming fat anyway this offseason to get into a better position with cap space. Whether it’s to go after Foles or not, the team is expected to release players such as defensive tackle Malik Jackson (clearing $11 million in cap space), right tackle Jermey Parnell ($6 million), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,328,125), running back Carlos Hyde ($4.7 million) and possibly more to get back “into the green” and be able to sign/extend players.
So, if the Jaguars are to create a bunch of cap space, chances are they’ll spend some to improve the team. But instead of going after a somewhat inconsistent and expensive quarterback, why not utilize that money on other positions and draft a young franchise quarterback instead?
Why not go after running back Le’Veon Bell?
The Jaguars are in limbo at running back, more than fans are willing to admit. Starting running back Leonard Fournette has missed 11 games in his first two seasons from a mix of lower body injuries (which were a red flag for the LSU product before he was drafted) and suspensions. When he was actually on the field, he averaged a mere 3.7 yards per carry and only 740 rushing ards per season. The team waived his guarantees in his contract following the 2018 season for his behavior – he now has to earn every penny on his originally fully-guaranteed rookie deal. In all honesty, his situation has become a real headache, and the team has the ability to move on from his deal easier now than before his guarantees were waived.
The No. 2 RB T.J. Yeldon, who played well in place of Fournette during the 11 games he has missed, won’t be returning to the team as things stand. His rookie contract is up, and he will likely cash in on the free agency market beyond what the Jaguars would be able to pay him for his No. 2 role. A team will pay him to be their starter after he averaged 5.7 yards per touch and scored five total touchdowns in a reserve role in 2018. Also, his “liked” tweets on Twitter are pretty damning:
If I’m TJ Yeldon, I clean my locker out today and say toodles to the Jags for good.
— Matt Foreman (@FattMoreman) December 30, 2018
The Jaguars could easily shake up their RB room this offseason, and Le’Veon Bell could come in and provide elite ability not only as a runner but as a receiver and pass blocker – he’s arguably the best all-around running back the NFL has seen in recent history. He sat out the entire 2018 season due to contract issues, but he had back-to-back 1200 rushing yard seasons in 2016-17, with 16 rushing touchdowns and averaging 4.45 yards per carry. On top of that, Bell caught 160 passes for 1271 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He literally had the 10th most receptions in the NFL in 2018 (85), among wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs. That’s insane.
Le’Veon Bell would walk into Jacksonville as one of the team’s best running backs in franchise history. Obviously, he’d be behind Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, but he’s far ahead of the team’s third all-time leading rusher James Stewart by almost 3000 rushing yards. In only two more career games.
Let’s get down to the money: Bell sat out during the 2018 season because he demanded high guarantees in his next long-term contract, as well as being the highest-paid RB in the league – but the Steelers wouldn’t give him what he wanted. Here’s a quote from his agent that makes Bell’s demands appear well-thought out:
“The Steelers have a unique way of structuring deals,” Bakari said. “These contracts are not fully guaranteed. Le’Veon plays a position that has one of the shortest lifespans in the league. We have to focus on the guarantee. It’s safe to say he’ll get a guarantee [as a free agent] that is more traditional, and he’ll be protected for the balance of his career.”
Based on these statements and how running backs are currently paid, Bell is in line to make a boat-load this offseason. Todd Gurley, the NFL’s highest paid RB, averages $14.3 million a year on his new deal with $45 million in guarantees, including a $21 million signing bonus.
So, one should expect Bell to come in around $14.5 million a year with frontloaded guarantees. My personal projection: Five years, $72.5 million, with $50 million in guarantees spread out over the first three years of the deal, and a large signing bonus around $20 million to knock out 40% of the guarantees. And if the Jaguars release the players stated above, and perhaps a couple of others, they could afford this – in fact, he’d be cheaper than Nick Foles on a year-to-year basis from all angles.
This type of move would be an earthquake across the NFL, but while it seems crazy, it could reap benefits. The Jaguars would hold onto the draft pick they’d have to send to the Eagles for Foles, and save an average of about $10 million in contract value per year (before guarantees factor in). In doing so, the Jaguars would land one of the leagues best running backs and a player who puts up top-20 production as a receiver, all in one, while holding onto funds to pay players such as cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue down the line.
In this situation, it would become clear the Jaguars would want to draft their own quarterback, and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins would make sense. The Jaguars would likely have to trade up for Haskins, with the 4th overall pick being the sweet spot in order to not give up many assets and still solidify themselves above other quarterback-needy teams, but trading up in the draft to land a quarterback on the slotted-rookie contract (which would be around $7-8 million a year) makes a lot more sense than trading away assets to pay an inconsistent QB $25 million a year.
And for Fournette, it’s safe to assume he’d be traded away in this situation. While he could net the Jaguars something like a late third round/early fourth round pick, it’d be interesting to see if they could package him into the draft-day trade up for a quarterback. But if not, at least they can regain some draft day value by shipping him away and continue to address the offense.
Imagine a Jaguars offense with Dwayne Haskins under center, and Le’Veon Bell handling not only running back duties, but providing a legitimate receiving option for the young quarterback? Plus whoever else they draft, as well as in-house weapons such as Dede Westbrook and second-year WR D.J. Chark.
It’s far-fetched, and these moves would take the entire NFL by storm, but this would be a fantastic way to fix the Jaguars offensive woes heading into the 2019 season, while also saving more money than what it would take to pay Nick Foles.
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