With the 2017 NFL Draft this week, front offices work day and night to finalize their draft boards and analysts to make sure they’re ready for a hectic week. While football fans across the world are being swept into a fervor of excitement which will reach its crescendo on Thursday night, 253 men are about to see their dreams finally realized. However, this piece only concerns eight of them: the selections that will make the next class of Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.
2017 Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Round One, Pick Four
Forrest Lamp, guard/tackle, Western Kentucky
This one’s out of left field, right? Well, maybe it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
While Lamp might not be the sexiest pick that David Caldwell could make with the fourth overall pick, it is one of the safest. Assuming either the San Francisco 49ers or the Chicago Bears have picked up Solomon Thomas (Stanford) before the Jaguars are on the clock, the Jaguars should avoid drafting the best player available here. As a solid interior lineman who has the potential to become a Pro Bowl tackle, Lamp can come into the porous Jacksonville offensive line and play at an elite level for a decade.
Lamp is incredibly polished for a player coming out of a smaller school. While analysts and fans have spent the majority of the draft season clamoring for Leonard Fournette, he will have little immediate impact if there’s no blocking upfront.
Many are lauding Garett Bolles recent ascension on most teams’ draft boards. But he has struggled a great deal against elite speed rushers, something he’ll face every other down in the NFL.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not Lamp will stay at guard for his whole career or eventually translate to a starting NFL tackle. Either way, every great, young offense in the NFL can attest to the value of picking the quality linemen early in the draft.
Round Two, Pick 35
Dion Dawkins, guard, Temple
Jacksonville have dire needs right across the offensive line, which is something that general manager Caldwell decided to neglect in free agency. While you’re more likely to get media attention by picking big names in skill positions, using their first two picks on offensive linemen is a smart move for the Jaguars.
Dawkins would be perfect for what the Jaguars are trying to achieve. He’s a brick wall on offense: athletic, rangy and incredibly powerful. He has the burst to get into the second level on run plays and has fended off both power and speed rushers in college. This means that while he likely projects as a guard, Dawkins could easily fill in anywhere across the line.
With both Lamp and Dawkins slotting in either side of centre Brandon Linder, the only question mark left upfront on offense is at right tackle. Coming out of free agency, it seemed unlikely that four out of five offensive line positions would be accounted for.
Round Three, Pick 68
Fabian Moreau, cornerback, UCLA
With only two outside corners on the roster, Moreau would be the perfect addition to a Jaguars secondary that has surprisingly little depth. With great strength and the athleticism of a productive press corner, Moreau should be able to translate his skill set into the professional level.
The Florida native will quickly find himself in the rotation for snaps in Jacksonville and could push his way into the starting nickel position before too long. While the former running back has great recovery speed and has shown improved coverage skills since his transition in 2014, there have been some questions about his ball skills as he registered a paltry amount of interceptions whilst he was a Bruin.
Moreau could be a special player, and it would be a shame to see the Jaguars miss the opportunity to take a prospect from the deepest cornerback draft in recent memory.
Round Four, Pick 110
Marlon Mack, running back, USF
Mack could go anywhere between the late second and early fourth rounds, which makes this somewhat of an unpredictable pick. But should he be available. The Sarasota born back could play a Jay Ajayi type role in a Jacksonville offense rejuvenated by consistent offensive line play. This will hopefully lay the foundations for a solid, well rounded team.
Round Five, Pick 148
Eddie Jackson, safety, Alabama
Many people think that the Jaguars still need help at the safety position, and it is a claim that isn’t unwarranted.
Jackson is coming off a serious leg break that had him miss much of the 2016 season. However, once he’s fully healthy he will be able to immediately contribute as a punt returner where he scored two touchdowns before his injury in 2016. Once he becomes acclimated to the NFL he should be able to translate the success of his junior year where he picked of six passes for 230 yards and two scores.
Coming into the pros from Alabama, Jackson has a championship mentality running through his veins. He even sacrificed a higher draft position after his junior year in 2016 to come back and try and win another championship before his unfortunate injury. As a depth contributor to begin with, he will be able to ensure that every man in the 53 man roster is striving toward the same goal. That’s a quality both Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone will love about him.
Round Six, Pick 187
Marquez White, cornerback, Florida State
A former teammate of outstanding corner Jalen Ramsey, White is another natural born winner who can add fire to this young team. With names like Prince Amukamara and Davon House leaving EverBank Field this season, White is able to come in and add further depth in across the secondary.
He’s a lengthy, naturally talented and a born winner. While White may have a few technical issues that need ironing out, he’s a malleable athlete with the intangibles to have success in the NFL. In other words, he’s a great value pick.
Round Seven, Pick 222
Freddie Stevenson, fullback, Florida State
The Jaguars draft a second straight Seminole on day three. With a rookie running back and three new offensive linemen (including newly acquired Brandon Albert), the Jaguars add one final piece to the run game. While he might not have many touches of his own in college, Stevenson can pave the way for Jacksonville’s bell cow, whoever they decide that is.
Stevenson will be a favorite amongst fans as he had an influence in Dalvin Cook‘s success at Florida State. A special teams stud and his inherent competitiveness make him an appealing option for a team looking to run the ball more and more in 2017.
Round Seven, Pick 240
Javancy Jones, edge rusher, Jackson State
Adding further depth to their edge rushing is a must for Jacksonville.
While it can be argued that this should be done before the 240th pick of the draft, Jones makes for great reading given that he is someone projected at the bottom of the draft.
A four-year captain at Jackson State with an incredible football I.Q., Jones is another hard competitor and great locker room presence, which screams ‘Tom Coughlin calibre’. Jones has never shied away from contact and that toughness upfront is what Coughlin’s title winning teams have been all about. If he can come in to Jacksonville and learn from the likes of Yannick Ngakoue then Jones should have no trouble cementing a roster spot and making a difference in Duval County.