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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars 3 Round Mock Draft: Offense, Offense, Offense

Zach Goodall

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Sep 29, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones (17) throws the ball during the second half against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the Duke Blue Devils 31-14. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

We are where no one expected (or could possibly have ever wanted) to be with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Riding a four game losing streak into the bye week, sitting at 3-5 at the midway point of the 2018 season. A season where the Jags were expected to repeat as potential Super Bowl contenders and win their not-so-strong AFC South division.

Instead, here we are, talkin’ ’bout the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Locked On Jaguars staff has begun studying prospects for the upcoming draft and will present plenty of portfolios, mock drafts, positional debates and more going forward through the draft next April, starting today with the first Jaguars-centric mock draft of the season.

The Jaguars have approached both drafts during the Tom Coughlin/Dave Caldwell/Doug Marrone era by selecting the “best available player” according to their draft boards rather than addressing immediate needs (see: Taven Bryan over a guard). That shouldn’t be the case this team as the Jaguars are in need for specific upgrades. Therefore, don’t be shocked by what appears to be a “reach” pick at this time. At the same time, boards are far from set with several college games left to play for every team and prospect bowls, the Combine, and team meetings still far removed from now.

As of now, the Jaguars are projected to hold the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, according to The Draft Network. Put this into perspective: The Jaguars had 9:1 odds to win the Super Bowl in Week 2…

That’s why we’re starting to focus in on the NFL Draft. Could the Jaguars turn things around this year? Sure, but that isn’t likely at this point. It would require some drastic changes, likely utilizing the NFL trade deadline, but there’s no proof the Jaguars plan on doing that.

So, let’s look ahead to how the Jaguars could improve the team in 2019, with the first Locked On Jaguars mock draft of the year.

Round 1 – Pick 9: Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College

The Jaguars have a glaring need at quarterback as the Blake Bortles contract extension appears to have backfired, but in a QB class that isn’t top-heavy, I’d be shocked if the top guy (or guys) are there at the ninth pick. My best guess is Oregon QB Justin Herbert goes at whatever pick the New York Giants hold, and if Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins even declares after his first season as a starter, he may just be gone before Jacksonville is on the clock, too.

In selecting Lindstrom, the Jaguars would gain a lineman who provides four years of college starting experience, mainly at right guard and also at right tackle. Considering A.J. Cann’s contract is set to expire in March, and that he has had an up-and-down career for Jacksonville that may not warrant a big extension that the free agent market may offer Cann, selecting his heir should be his priority.

Throughout Lindstrom’s career at Boston College, the Eagles have consistently run the ball well. Through eight games this year, BC ranks 24th of 129 eligible teams in the NCAA in rushing yards per game with 226.4, and have scored 18 rushing touchdowns. In 2017, BC ranked 25th at 220.4 yards per game. Lindstrom has been a key factor in that production as a dominant, powerful run blocker who can make key pull blocks and open up wide lanes with power. He controls the direction of defenders consistently and never stops moving his feet after contact. From my viewing, his UMass and Wake Forest tape was absolutely dominant in the run game. His pass protection is less polished than his ability in the run game, but his footwork and mirroring ability is strong and can certainly be developed as Lindstrom grows in the NFL.

Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network currently has Lindstrom as the 23rd best prospect in this draft, and his experience, size (6-4, 310), and excellence as a run blocker fits what this Jaguars team appears to want in their offensive linemen. He’d be a perfect fit in an offense that views power-running as their offensive identity (at least, when Leonard Fournette is healthy).

Round 2 – Pick 9: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Here’s the QB you were waiting for.

Disclosure: The Jaguars gave everyone in the front office a three year extension this past offseason, and I’m not going to speculate on if they will be with the team come April or not, rather I’m working this mock with their vision in mind.

The Jaguars like to run power (hence the Lindstrom pick), and incorporate West Coast concepts into their passing game, which require quick, smart decisions and timing throws to short and intermediate levels of the field. Elite arm strength isn’t necessarily a must-have in this offense, and rather it’s important to have a quick release at the top of a drop-back, mobility for play action roll-outs, and accuracy on routes that generate yards after the catch. Arm strength is merely a plus in this offense.

Daniel Jones fits that mold. The 6-5, 220 lb redshirt junior is in his third season as a starter for the Blue Devils, and from a decision making standpoint alone he is a fit, with four interceptions through six games. His full stat line through six games: 118-of-183 (64.5%) for 1457 yards – 8 yards per attempt – for 13 touchdowns and those four picks. If he graduates on time as he appears to be on pace to do, he should be invited to the 2019 Senior Bowl, a game in which the Jaguars have drafted plenty of previous prospects from, most recently WR D.J. Chark and QB Tanner Lee.

Jones puts fantastic touch on passes to all three levels of the field, despite not possessing a ton of strength to put more velocity on the ball. He has a solid feel for pressure and doesn’t panic in the pocket, and while he isn’t a big-play threat with his feet, he maneuvers the pocket well. That’s not to say Jones can’t run, though, as he has 15 rushing touchdowns in his career. Just, he doesn’t break off much, averaging 3.1 yards per rushing attempt in three seasons.

His footwork is nice in general, but sometimes he opens his feet when he doesn’t step into his throw which can eliminate some power. He goes through progressions thoroughly and doesn’t tend to abandon a play to check down often, unless it’s necessary. Jones is the epitome of a “safe” QB, which is what the Jaguars offense calls for. And if my word isn’t good enough, watch his 2018 Northwestern tape and report back to me.

Teams will shy away from Jones early due to his lack of explosive arm power and mobility, which lowers his ceiling as a prospect, but he appears to be the “anti-Bortles” that fits the mold of a West Coast QB. If the Jaguars are searching for a QB in this draft, I’d expect Jones to be a guy they like and solid value in the early second round.

Round 3 – Pick 9: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia

We saw Nauta come to life against Florida this past weekend at the end of the first half. Georgia wanted to take more than a three-point lead into halftime, and QB Jake Fromm went Nauta’s way to drive the field, targeting and connecting with the 6-4, 246 lb TE on four consecutive plays for 61 yards to get into field goal range and extend their lead to six.

A former five star TE and No. 1 tight end prospect in his class, Nauta – a true junior – has never been the focal point of his offenses. He has 56 career receptions in his three-year career, with only nine in eight games during his sophomore year. In his senior year at IMG Academy, he only had 13 receptions, and was still rated the No. 1 tight end prospect in America. Nauta is the nephew of former Jaguars DE Joel Smeenge and grew up playing football in the Jacksonville Developmental League and at Landrum Middle School in Ponte Vedra, before heading to IMG.

Nauta’s lack of usage in a heavy tight end class will likely drop him down draft boards, much like Ian Thomas of Indiana last year. Thomas, who went in the fourth round, had 28 receptions in two years at Indiana and yet was widely regarded as one of the best-kept secrets at his position during the 2018 draft, despite an impressive Combine. With the lack of usage comes lack of film to study for traits, and while Nauta certainly seems to have solid traits, there may not be enough evidence for teams to confidently draft him high.

Nauta can be a dynamic pass catcher and offers physicality as a blocker when playing in-line and should perform well at the Combine if he declares, but with TEs such as Noah Fant, Dawson Knox, Kaden Smith, Irv Smith Jr. and others gaining hype as well and the fact that only five TEs have gone in the first round since 2014, Nauta could be a steal of a pick on Day 2, should he declare.

 

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

2019 NFL Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars Senior Bowl Wish-List

Zach Goodall

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Sep 21, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; UCF Knights running back Taj McGowan (4) reacts after his rushing touchdown during the second half against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Spectrum Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Senior Bowl, an annual NFL Draft prospect all-star game in Mobile, Alabama, has sent out its first wave of invitations for their 2019 exhibition. NFL scouts from every team will be in attendance, as the NCAA’s best senior football players will be putting their abilities on display.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell has a strong history of liking Senior Bowl prospects. Last year, the team drafted two players they watched in Mobile in WR D.J. Chark (2nd round) from LSU and QB Tanner Lee (6th round) from Nebraska. Caldwell has also selected DE Dawuane Smoot, TE Ben Koyack, OL Brandon Linder, LB Telvin Smith, CB Aaron Colvin, RB Denard Robinson, CB Dwayne Gratz, and SS Johnathan Cyprien after watching them at the bowl game.

The 2019 Senior Bowl will be packed with talent that the Jaguars will need to keep a close eye on. Chris Thornton and I will be attending the week of practice and game, reporting on who the Jaguars meet with and eyeing prospects to watch for for the 2019 NFL Draft.

As invites continue to go out and get accepted, here is my wish-list of players who should be at the Senior Bowl, from a Jaguars need and fit perspective. For players who I haven’t watched in depth yet, I trust the scouts of The Draft Network’s analysis and have linked their scouting reports.

QB: Daniel Jones, Duke

There will be plenty of intriguing QB prospects in Mobile, and if Daniel Jones can graduate on time as a redshirt junior, he may be the most intriguing of the pack. The three-year starter comes from the Manning branch of QBs, as his head coach David Cutcliffe coached both Peyton and Eli during their college days and has the brothers attend the Duke offseason program yearly.

Jones is a West-Coast passing offense fit, which meshes perfectly with what the Jaguars run in a power-run offense. Jones doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as passers such as Justin Herbert (Oregon) and Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), which drops his stock for me to the late first/early second round, but in what is regarded generall as a weak QB class, Jones could skyrocket up draft boards this offseason. Here is an in-depth scouting report that I did on Jones last week.

RB: Taj McGowan, UCF

Taj McGowan has never been a starter during his four-year career at UCF, but he’s flashed enough to warrant a prospect bowl invitation for teams to see more of what he offers. The 6-1, 209 lb senior RB runs with a bruising style, and receives the buld of UCF’s goal-line and short-yardage carries. He has posted a career stat-line of 239 carries for 988 yards and 17 touchdowns.

McGowan fits the Jaguars power-run style of offense where backs mainly receive the ball and target the interior offensive line. While he won’t get drafted high at all come April, he deserves a chance to prove himself and potentially find a way to get his name called on Day 3, or at worst get signed as an undrafted free agent. The Senior Bowl can provide that opportunity.

WR: Anthony Johnson, Buffalo

While Tyree Jackson gets all the hype out of the University of Buffalo, Anthony Johnson is a draftable prospect from the MAC program and is Jackson’s No. 1 target in the pass game. The 6-2, 207 receiver is impressive at making sideline catches and adjusts to poorly thrown passes well, however isn’t overly athletic and has a limited route tree. He would be a bit of a developental prospect, but his size and ability to make plays are intriguing.

TE: Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

While watching guard Chris Lindstrom from Boston College, Tommy Sweeney caught my eye with his size and ability as a pass-catcher. He stands at 6-5, 255 and comes from a power-running system so he is familiar with in-line blocking, which he excels at.

He’s not going to win contested catches, but finds wasy to get open and bring the ball in with few drops. He’s not the most dynamic or intriguing tight end in this class, but he appears to be a high-floor type of prospect who could serve as a solid No. 2 behind Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

OL: Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

A true old-fashioned, power scheme guard who eats defenders alive in the run game, Lindstrom is the ideal A.J. Cann replacement and one of my favorite Jaguars-fit prospects in this draft. Lindstrom is a fantastic, athletic pull-blocker who understands man-responsibility and has a strong anchor and constantly drives through linemen when down-blocking. He mirrors well in pass protection as well but his pass block punches can be inconsistent. Lindstrom is a dream lead-blocker along the interior for a running back in any power scheme, so he’d become Leonard Fournette’s best friend in Jacksonville.

iDL: Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati

While working on a film room piece for BlackandGoldBanneret.com for the upcoming UCF vs. Cincinnati game, one player that stood out to me on the Bearcats defense was tackle Cortez Broughton. The 6-2, 290 lb senior has recorded 17.5 tackles for loss through ten games this year, which is more than several projected first round picks such as Alabama’s Quinnen Williams (14), BC’s Zach Allen (13.5), FSU’s Brian Burns (13.5), and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell (13).

Broughton is a great run-stuffer who usually takes on and beats double-team down blocks while maintaining ap responsibility. He isn’t an overly agile pass rusher and won’t “wow” you with his moves, but he could provide valuable depth as a rotating, run-defending nose tackle at the next level.

EDGE: Jalen Jelks, Oregon

Jelks is a big-bodied EDGE defender at 6-5, 245 lbs, who is considered a bit of a project among draft analysts, but has desireable traits with quickness off of the line of scrimmage and raw power.

This sounds similar to what we heard about Taven Bryan as a prospect last year, and the Jaguars clearly feel comfortable adding these types of project players to their defensive line. Jelks could immediately provide pressure as a Dante Fowler Jr. replacement at defensive end and develop into a long-term starter if Taven Bryan were to move back to defensive tackle (where I believe he belongs).

LB: T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin

I never thought I’d say this, but the Jaguars are missing the presence of Paul Posluzny on defense. Not from a play standpoint, as he truly had slown down in the final years of his career which led to bad pursuit of runners and blown coverages in the middle of the field, but as communicator and gap shooter vs. the run.

That mold is what Edwards provides. The 6-1, 248 lb linebacker is a natural run-stopper and physical defender who controls the playing field and offers four years of valuable paying experience, where he has recorded 34.5 tackles for loss and nine interceptions. He isn’t considered rangy in pass coverage, but serviceable.

CB: Michael Jackson, Miami

The Jaguars are in need of outside cornerback depth, with the position getting banged up this year and keeping two undrafted free agents on the roster as the current depth. Jackson fits that mold and is also an excellent special teamer. He stands at 6-0, 205 lbs, plays physical in coverage and coming down to make a tackle, and has recorded four career interceptions and nine defended passes. He hasn’t recorded an INT this year, which may be concerning, but the Jaguars don’t need to go cornerback early so Jackson dropping down draft boards could be in their favor if they are interested in his services.

S: Ugochukwu Amadi, Oregon

The 5-9, 197 lb safety is a little short, but he’s incredibly fluid and athletic in space as a guy who can roam and get the ball. A rangy coverage defender, Amadi can be the heir apparent to free safety Tashaun Gipson a la Ronnie Harrison to Barry Church at strong safety for the Jaguars.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Steelers: Friday Injury Report, A.J. Cann Questionable

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers have released their Friday injury report ahead of their matchup at TIAA Bank Field this weekend. The Jaguars will most likely be without Left Tackle Josh Walker as he is listed as doubtful. The Jaguars will be without Rookie Corner Quenton Meeks as he is listed as OUT for Sunday’s game. Ereck Flowers will start in Walker’s place at left tackle with Patrick Omameh very likely being his immediate backup.

Luckily for the Jaguars, although they will not have Meeks, they will have A.J. Bouye back from his calf injury suffered shortly before the Eagles matchup a couple of weeks ago. This should be a boost to the Jaguars secondary.

Nose Tackle Eli Ankou will also likely miss this Sunday’s game, which was worth keeping an eye on due to the fact that Marcell Dareus was battling an injury of his own and is listed as questionable this week. Luckily, Dareus will likely be able to at least suit up for the Jaguars this Sunday.

Guard A.J. Cann is questionable this week as well, and if he cannot play, the Jaguars will likely turn to either Chris Reed to start in his place or to newly signed guard/tackle Patrick Omameh.

Bouye, Gipson, and Telvin Smith are not listed on this weeks status report indicating they are good to go for this Sunday’s game.

Below are the teams’ injury reports:

JAGUARS:

CB Quenton Meeks (Knee): Out

OL Josh Walker (Foot/Ankle): Doubtful

DT Eli Ankou (Calf): Doubtful

OL A.J. Cann (Hamstring): Questionable

DT Marcell Dareus (Triceps/Back): Questionable

STEELERS:

DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow): Out

OL Marcus Gilbert (Knee): Out

For the Steelers, they will be without tackle Marcus Gilbert for the fourth straight week, and they will also be without tackle Marcus Gilbert. James Conner, who practiced fully all of this week, will be good to go.

Because of the injuries the Jaguars will face a familiar face on the Steelers defensive line in DE Tyson Alualu. The Steelers will start Matt Feiler. This will be the fourth consequtive start for Feiler.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Steelers: Thursday Injury Report, Josh Walker likely Out

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers have released their Thursday injury reports ahead of this Sunday’s game at TIAA Bank Field. For the Jaguars, they are finally back healthy after weeks of having several starters miss practice during the week. Although they are not *fully* healthy, the Jaguars starters that are on the injury report will more than likely play, and will be practicing in some capacity today.

The only key injury worth noting this week has been to Left Tackle Josh Walker. Walker has started for the Jaguars for several weeks after Josh Wells went down with an injury. All indications point to Ereck Flowers starting for the Jaguars this week. He will have his hands full with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree.

Jaguars Cornerback A.J. Bouye, who missed the past two games with a calf injury, looks good to go this week as he has so far been able to tough it out in practice.

The only additions to this weeks injury reports have been  Tashaun Gipson with a wrist injury and Marcell Dareus with a triceps injury. Neither of those injuries appears to be bad enough to miss this Sunday’s game, however, we will keep a close eye on the status report to be released tomorrow.

A late addition to the Jaguars injury report this afternoon was OL A.J. Cann. Cann suffered a hamstring injury and was limited today.

If the Jaguars miss Cann this week they are potentially in big trouble. Omameh would likely start for Cann.

Below are the teams’ injury reports:

JAGUARS:

CB A.J. Bouye (Calf): Full Participation

S Tashaun Gipson (Wrist): Full Participation

LB Lerentee McCray (Hamstring): Full Participation

LB Telvin Smith (Shoulder): Full Participation

OL Ereck Flowers (Knee): Limited Participation

DT Marcell Dareus (Triceps): Limited Participation

OL A.J. Cann (Hamstring): Limited Participation

CB Quenton Meeks (Knee): Did Not Participate

DT Eli Ankou (Calf): Did Not Participate

OL Josh Walker (Foot/Ankle): Did Not Participate

STEELERS:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (Coaches Decision): Full Participation

RB James Conner (Concussion): Full Participation

G Ramon Foster (Coaches Decision): Did Not Participate

OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee): Did Not Participate

DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow): Did Not Participate

The Steelers will more than likely be without two key starters, and neither of those starters will be James Conner. Conner entered this week in the concussion protocol and the past two practices he has been able to practice fully.

Conner will suit up for his first start against the Jaguars defense that has to be hungry after completely ruining the Jaguars chance at victory last week.

The Steelers will be without Stephon Tuitt and Marcus Gilbert most likely.  No one else on the Steelers small injury report is in danger of missing the game.

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