Friend of LockedOnJaguars.com Riley Auman of the Tampa Bay Times attended the East-West Shrine Game this past weekend to cover the annual college all-star game, and wrote of seven prospects who’s stocks are on the uptick after a solid week at the St. Petersburg prospect game for us.
This week in St. Petersburg, the some of the best college prospects from around the country competed in the East-West Shrine Game to practice for NFL scouts. While the Reese’s Senior Bowl usually ends up with the cream of the crop of upperclassmen, plenty of players from the Shrine Game every year make an early impact in the NFL—last year, Phillip Lindsay went on to finish ninth in the league in rushing with the Denver Broncos. Let’s dive into some guys who improved their stock this week.
Daylon Mack, DT, Texas A&M (6’1” 325)
As a former five-star recruit, Mack isn’t the type you would expect to see at the Shrine Game, but he was a treat to watch all week. After struggling to develop pass rush moves in his first three years in College Station, a coaching change to Jimbo Fisher in his senior season proved to be exactly what Mack needed, as he totaled 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss as a rotational piece of the Aggies. Mack dominated in 1v1 drills all week, winning nearly all his reps against offensive linemen and showing a lot of violent hand usage to boot. He was one of the players from the event every year who earns a call-up to the Senior Bowl and will look to continue to impress scouts there next week.
Devine Ozigbo, RB, Nebraska (5’11” 219)
Ozigbo was one of the players I was most excited to see this week in practice and he did not disappoint at all. After a senior season breakout with Scott Frost in which he ran for upwards of a thousand yards and 12 touchdowns, he arrived in St. Petersburg as one of the most highly-regarded players in attendance. All week throughout practice, Ozigbo showed off an explosiveness in his cuts and flashed a nice receiving ability in drills. He makes a ton of sense at the next level as a scat back and a player who might slip through the cracks to Day 3 in the draft and be a great value pick for a team.
Daniel Wise, DT, Kansas (6’3” 290)
Wise was the most dominant player I saw in practices after having the most questions about him entering the week as a defender coming from the adjusted play style of the Big 12. He showed off a quickness and motor that not many other players matched this week and created a ton of positive buzz around his name for NFL scouts. Teams will likely look at Wise as a three-technique in the league (although he played in a variety of spots for the Jayhawks) and he has a chance to follow the likes of P.J. Hall (Raiders), Deadrin Senat (Falcons), and Poona Ford (Seahawks) as interior defensive linemen who have gone high or made an early impact in the NFL coming from the Shrine Game.
BJ Blunt, LB, McNeese State (6’0″, 203)
Blunt was a guy who wasn’t on my radar at all going into the week, but he sure made made a name for himself in practices. Blunt’s motor is on for every rep and he has rang in coverage to cover ground when needed. Despite his subpar size at 203 pounds, Blunt makes a lot of sense for today’s NFL as a dime defender (he was a safety at JUCO before he arrived at McNeese) and can work through contact to make plays in the backfield. In the game saturday, Blunt made plenty of plays, including a diving interception. He’s a ton of fun to watch and after every play he daps up the closest defender to him, the kind of player any football team should want. Next up for him is getting an NFL Combine invite so he can get attention from other teams.
Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia (5’11”, 168)
Godwin was a part of a talented offensive unit with the Bulldogs and his production took a hit as a result, but he showed off a good ability in practice throughout the week to catch the ball in traffic and accelerate afterwards to get yards after the catch. In the game, Godwin made the most of DaMarkus Lodge and KeeSean Johnson sitting out and caught two touchdowns for the East team. Despite below average size, he has a knack for getting open down the field and should be a Day 3 target for teams moving forward.
Olisaemeka Udoh, OT, Elon (6’5″, 337)
Coming in from a small school, Udoh showed off his arm length and power in 1v1 reps all week and earned the call up to the Senior Bowl after Yodny Cajuste pulled out of the event. While still plenty raw, Udoh is now firmly on the radar as a developmental candidate for NFL teams and will have a chance to continue to show off his talent against greater competition in Mobile next week.
KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State (6’1″, 196)
Although he has no relation to the former NFL star, Johnson entered the week following 1,000 yard seasons with the Bulldogs in his junior and senior seasons and a chance to prove himself against better competition. He certainly did that, winning nearly all of his plays 1v1 against cornerbacks and showing off quick footwork to create separation at the line of scrimmage and make plays downfield, along with reliable hands not prone to drops. He sat out of the game on Saturday with nothing else to prove and can continue to improve his draft status moving forward at the NFL Combine.
How Jawaan Taylor fits with the Jaguars smashmouth offense
The Jaguars ended up trading twice during the 2019 NFL Draft. One of the trades was during round two of the draft from pick 38 to pick 35 with the Oakland Raiders. The Jaguars traded their second and fourth-round picks for the Raiders second-round pick (35th overall), a fifth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick. With the 35th pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Jawaan Taylor, Tackle, Florida.
Taylor, like first-round pick Josh Allen, was not expected to be there when the Jaguars selected in the second round. Before the draft, Taylor had been mocked to the Jaguars at seventh overall for months. Due to reported concerns regarding Taylor’s knee, Taylor fell right into the Jaguars lap.
Round 2, pick 35: RT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Jawaan Taylor, 6’5″ 312 lbs, was one of the most polished run blockers in the draft, an area the Jaguars have been missing greatly due to injuries and a drop in talent. Before the draft, the Jaguars released veteran right tackle Jermey Parnell which not only freed up cap space for the team but also allowed them to upgrade the position.
In 2018, the Jaguars gave up 42 sacks last season with five of them being assigned to Jermey Parnell according to Pro Football Focus. It is no wonder the Jaguars chose to address the position as early as they did.
Enter Jawaan Taylor:
Taylor has all of the tools to succeed at the right tackle position and would fit perfectly in the Jaguars offensive scheme at least in the run game. Taylor also was the number one player which fit the Jaguars athletic profiles along the offensive line.
Although he did not do any athletic drills — he had an injured hamstring entering the combine and pro day — Taylor did show off his size. At 6’5″, 312 lbs and 35″ arms Taylor is tailormade for the Jaguars offense and should fit perfectly — similarly to how Josh Allen fits perfectly with the Jaguars defense. During the Combine, Taylor did work in drills and showed off just how quick his feet can move. There is no denying Taylor’s ability as an athlete.
Jawaan Taylor’s feet are outstanding. pic.twitter.com/2nM66tXxab
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 1, 2019
Run game and health
Former lead writer Zach Goodall broke down Taylor in one of his draft profiles earlier in the year which highlighted his run blocking. While Taylor could use some help when it comes to pass protection, his run blocking form and ability is easily one of the best on the current roster already.
Using one of Zach’s videos from his article on Taylor, you can see just how powerful Taylor can be. He effortlessly moved the defender off the line and eventually drove him away from the play creating a crater for the running back to go through.
The Jaguars used Jermey Parnell very similar to the way the Florida Gators used Jawaan Taylor. He is simply a powerful man who goes head up one on one on defenders to move them in their gap based scheme. Now, the Jaguars offense may operate differently under new head coach John DeFilippo. The potential changes were highlighted on the podcast earlier this week with Filip Prus and Twigg, however, the Jaguars will generally operate this way in the run game.
One of the major reasons why the Jaguars chose to move on from Parnell was not simply because of his inconsistent play. Parnell just could not stay off the injury report. Parnell was on the injury report the entire season for the Jaguars — while missing three games — for an undisclosed knee injury. Big men and bad knees simply do not mix.
The Jaguar shave upgraded big time with the addition of Jawaan Taylor. Although there were concerns regarding his knee — which is why he fell in the draft — the Jaguars seemed to have no issues with it. “We don’t have any major concerns,” Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said. “I don’t’ know where that came from. His medical grade was passable.” Passable meaning generally no concerns. Something to keep in mind — the Jaguars are the same team who took a gamble on linebacker Myles Jack who, to this day has zero injury concerns regarding his knee or otherwise.
An area where Parnell struggled recently in the Jaguars offense was in pass protection. Due to injuries — or simply age — Parnell did not hold up well against speed inside or out. Here he is easily beat by Demarcus Lawrence. While Lawrence is an incredible athlete, Parnell should be able to hold up for at least a second. However, his feet simply do not.
Taylor’s best assets in pass protection are his feet and it shows here with a clip against first-round pick Brian Burns. Burns is known for his quickness and to no surprise to Taylor or the audience, he uses it. Taylor is able to counter his inside move with his quick feet to mirror and beat him to the point, and although he loses a bit of leverage at the end, it results in a good rep. This isn’t the same initial rush move Lawrence uses against Parnell, however, it is a similar counter which is a speed move inside.
The Jaguars should be happy overall about their second-round selection. Taylor should come in motivated to compete, and start — practically right away — and be an overall improvement for the Jaguars offensive line. The Jaguars should enjoy more running room for Leonard Fournette and better pass protection for new quarterback Nick Foles.
2019 NFL Draft: How does DE/OLB Josh Allen fit with the Jaguars?
With the 2019 NFL draft officially in the books, it is time to take a look at how the Jaguars performed, and how exactly each player makes them better. Where the Jaguars draft picks fit will be the most important aspect of how they should be perceived.
The first player of this series is the seventh overall pick, defensive end/outside linebacker Josh Allen, Kentucky.
Round 1, pick 7: DE/OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
Analysis: By nearly every account the Jaguars got a steal with the selection of DE/OLB Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick. Allen, 6’4 7/8″ 262 lbs, was one of the most dynamic pass rushers in the entire draft. In Allen, the Jaguars have a player with elite athleticism at the DE/OLB position, and someone who was highly productive — 17 sacks, 22.5 TFL in 2018.
The Jaguars deployed one of the most dominant and effective pass rush groups in the NFL during the 2017 season. Accumulating 55 total sacks with the majority of those sacks — 88.1%– coming from the defensive line which ranked second in the NFL. However, in 2018 that number dropped significantly. The defense only accumulated 37 sacks in total which ranked 22nd in the NFL. Because the majority of sacks the Jaguars have come from their front four it is important they continue to build their defense through the defensive line group.
The Jaguars had to address the defensive end/pass rusher position in the draft at some point.
Enter Josh Allen: his attributes speak for themselves. Elite speed, good size, and great agility. In comparison with Dante Fowler Jr., it’s not even close which player is the more athletic, and more dependable in terms of size on the edge.
Allen possesses the traits necessary to be successful in the NFL at rushing the passer. How Allen attacks offensive tackles on the edge is primarily through speed. One thing the Jaguars have missed sorely — even with having Dante Fowler Jr. — on the roster was a speed rusher who can bend the edge just as well as Yannick Ngakoue.
Allen is described by some as “slippery” — a perfect example of this is here against Missouri. Allen is lined up on the right side of the defense in a two-point stance. Even after getting chipped by the tight end here, Allen quickly sheds him and slips by the offensive guard and tackle for an easy sack-forced fumble. The Jaguars need a pass rusher who can ‘slip’ by players as effortlessly as Allen does can, and likely will, in the NFL.
Allen’s best pass rush move is a classic. A speed/rip move which he turns into an easy sack-forced fumble against Missouri. The Jaguars have constantly looked for a guy opposite of Yannick Ngakoue on their “lightning” package downs — typically this comes on third-and-long. In the Jaguars scheme, this package usually included Yannick Ngakoue-Taven Bryan (Malik Jackson)-Calais Campbell-Dante Fowler Jr. This would normally work, however, Dante Fowler Jr. simply did not possess the same bend or pass rush skill-set to compliment the rush enough to get the job done consistently.
Although Allen will likely play with his hand in the dirt as opposed to being a stand-up pass rusher early on his career, this is the type of athleticism you are getting with Allen. A 7.15s three-cone — which is indicative of how well a defender “bends” off the edge — is much better than Fowler’s 7.40s three-cone from a few years ago. The Jaguars finally have a special pass rusher who is fearless off of the edge and will absolutely dominate any tackle that gets in his way with speed opposite of Ngakoue.
The best trait Allen has over Dante Fowler Jr. — or any other pass rusher not named Yannick Ngakoue or Calais Campbell on the Jaguars roster — is consistency. Now, of course, this is only based on his college production, however, even Dante Fowler Jr. did not produce as well as Allen did in college. Fowler produced only 8.5 sacks throughout his career at Florida while playing in a very similar role to how Allen was used at Kentucky — in the same conference.
One of the more underappreciated aspects of Allen’s game is his coverage ability. The ability to cover the flats as an outside linebacker is very important within the Jaguars scheme. Allen dropped into coverage on 145 of his snaps while being targeted just 20 times allowing 14 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown, according to PFF.
This is important to note. The Jaguars have historically used the SAM differently than a lot of other teams:
The Jaguars typically bring the SAM linebacker down closer to the line of scrimmage in Todd Wash’s scheme — generally used on non-passing downs. Where Josh Allen fits within this scheme is as a sub for those situations in order to either bring an extra rusher off the edge — as he did at Kentucky — or to drop Allen back in coverage. The Jaguars will absolutely be more scheme versatile on defense this season with Allen in the fold. There is also a chance the Jaguars could give some 3-4 looks with new defensive assistant Dom Capers in the fold, but for now, I believe the Jaguars shouldn’t overload Allen too much as a rookie.
All in all, the Jaguars have been handed a golden opportunity with the selection of Josh Allen. So long as the Jaguars use him correctly, they can reap the benefits from a pass rush perspective as well as a coverage perspective. For too many years the Jaguars have been burned by slow-moving front line players into the flats, and with Allen’s 4.63s 40 speed, that will no longer be an issue. The Jaguars can get back to being Sacksonville. Perhaps Sacksonville 2.0.
2019 NFL Draft: Impact on Jaguars Fantasy Football
The Jaguars added seven new players in the 2019 NFL Draft, four of which are offensive players. The team addressed its two largest offensive needs with right tackle Jawaan Taylor and a pass-catching tight end in Josh Oliver. The team also added depth at running back with Ryquell Armstead, and quarterback by selecting Gardner Minshew in round six. Here’s a look at who’s fantasy football stock went up or down as a result of Jacksonville’s haul.
Third-year running back Leonard Fournette was already a fantasy bounce-back candidate, but now he will likely face even higher expectations. The Jaguars traded up in the second round to select right tackle Jawaan Taylor from the University of Florida. Taylor was one of Jacksonville’s considerations for the seventh overall pick, but due to late reports of injury concerns, he slid down the board and the Jaguars were still able to select him. There are some concerns about Taylor’s pass protection, but he is one of the best run blocking linemen in the draft. He ranked third in Pro Football Focus’s run blocking grade and first in power concept run blocking grade among all offensive tackle prospects.
Assuming Taylor’s injury isn’t major — which the Jaguars front office doesn’t think is a problem — he should have an immediate impact on Jacksonville’s run-first offense and Leonard Fournette’s fantasy potential.
It’s worth noting the Jaguars did select a running back – Ryquell Armstead in the fifth round out of Temple – but Fournette will still see a large workload without much concern over stolen carries. If Fournette misses game time due to injury or any other reason, Armstead would likely compete for carries with recently signed veteran Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham, but none of them are fantasy-relevant at this point so long as Fournette plays.
Third-round selection Josh Oliver out of San Jose State has an immediate opportunity to be Nick Foles’ top target in John DeFilippo’s tight-end friendly offense. According to The Athletic, the Spartans had play calls named FTS (Feed The Stud) in order to get Oliver the ball. 38 of his 56 receptions (67.9 percent) last season resulted in a first down or touchdown, which ranked second in the FBS.
Per Pro Football Focus, his 16 contested catches ranked first in the FBS. At the NFL Combine, he ranked second in bench press reps and third in 40-yard-dash time among tight ends. Oliver clearly has some impressive statistics, and now he has the opportunity to play with Foles/under DeFilippo: Zach Ertz finished among the top of the league among tight ends in just about every statistical category in the past two seasons with Foles; Gary Barnidge didn’t surpass 15 receptions in seven seasons until DeFilippo became his offensive coordinator in 2015, and then Barnidge suddenly became an All-Pro tight end.
It should be noted that tight ends typically do not put up big numbers in their first year- in the past 15 years, only two rookie tight ends have surpassed 600 receiving yards, and only two have finished as a top-five fantasy tight end. Had Oliver been drafted by just about any other team, he’d likely be a fantasy afterthought. However, he landed in an ideal situation – a system that benefits tight ends, doesn’t have much receiving talent and is in win-now mode – and has a real change to evolve from an unknown rookie to a household name. Oliver will likely be a popular streaming option with the potential to be a week-to-week fantasy starter if he is able to develop solid chemistry with Foles and successfully create separation against NFL defenders like he did in college.
Not drafting a receiver may hurt in terms of Foles’ options and Jacksonville’s overall offensive outlook, but we can push those thoughts away and focus on the fact that Westbrook now has the green light to become Jacksonville’s primary receiver and a legitimate fantasy breakout candidate. Westbrook will likely be the main slot receiver, a position that has had much success under Foles and DeFilippo’s past offenses. In weeks 1-2 last season (when Alshon Jeffery did not play and Foles did play), Eagles slot receiver Nelson Agholor ranked 8th in receptions and 9th in targets in the NFL. In weeks 15-17 (when both Jeffery and Foles played), Agholor ranked 52ndin receptions and 59thin targets.
Agholor had a 29% team target share in weeks 1-2 and a 13% target share in weeks 15-17. It is definitely a small sample size to work with, but the statistics indicate that Foles relied heavily on his slot receiver when he didn’t have a true #1 wide receiver. In Jacksonville, Westbrook will serve as Foles’ reliable slot receiver like Agholor once did, and the Jaguars don’t have a receiver as talented as Jeffery to compete for targets with Westbrook. Additionally, Vikings slot receiver Adam Thielen had a historic season last year under John DeFilippo and finished as fantasy’s WR7. Westbrook shouldn’t be seriously expected to replicate Thielen’s numbers, but he certainly should be expected to have a breakout season with the quarterbacking of Foles, the coaching of DeFilippo, and the lack of other Jaguars receiving talent.
Marquise Lee/D.J. Chark/Keelan Cole/Chris Conley
Like Westbrook, the rest of Jacksonville’s receivers can be considered winners as a result of the draft since the Jaguars elected not to draft a pass-catcher. However, that is the only thing that is positive for this group at this point, at least from a fantasy perspective. Each of them is dealing with some sort of inconsistency, whether its injury history, route running, lack of production, or general inefficiency. It will likely be unknown what to truly expect from this group until training camp and the preseason games, but for now, none of these receivers should be expected to produce adequate fantasy numbers.
The only real loser of the draft is newly signed quarterback Nick Foles. It is well-known that the Jaguars needed to add playmakers this offseason to help out Foles, who had the luxury of throwing to multiple Pro-Bowl players during his time in Philadelphia. Jacksonville has added several offensive players since signing Foles, but they are mostly just depth acquisitions. Josh Oliver is the only new skill-position player who has a chance to contribute immediately, and while he should be productive in John DeFilippo’s offense, he’s nothing compared to Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, the All-Pro tight ends Foles previously targeted.
Philadelphia’s top receiver Alshon Jeffery, tight end Zach Ertz, and running back Wendell Smallwood from last season have played a combined 220 career games. Jacksonville’s top receiver Dede Westbrook, tight end Josh Oliver, and running back Leonard Fournette, for this coming season have played a combined 44 career games. Foles was an average-at-best fantasy quarterback last season with the Eagles. Now that he’s in Jacksonville, with Fournette expected to be the focus of the offense and a massive downgrade in receiving weapons, Foles will likely be a below-average fantasy quarterback.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are via pro-football-reference.com.
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