Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft Review

taven bryan

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft is officially in the books, and the Jaguars have finalized their selections for their 2018 rookie class. The Jags surprisingly opted not to trade any of their seven picks during this year’s Draft, but made the following trades before this weekend kicked off:

Players Drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft:

  • First round, 29th overall: Taven Bryan, defensive lineman, Florida
  • Second round, 61st overall: DJ Chark, wide receiver, LSU
  • Third round, 93rd overall: Ronnie Harrison, safety, Alabama
  • Fourth round, 129th overall: Will Richardson, offensive lineman, NC State
  • Sixth round, 203rd overall: Tanner Lee, quarterback, Nebraska
  • Seventh round, 230th overall: Leon Jacobs, linebacker, Wisconsin
  • Seventh round, 247th overall: Logan Cooke, punter, Mississippi State

Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 Draft Grade: 8/10

Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft Review

The Best Player: Taven Bryan

It might seem trite to put the Jaguars first pick of the Draft down as the best player, but in this case, the talent is undeniable. NFL Scouts had Bryan graded at a 6.35, which classified him as a player that “should become an instant starter.” For reference, the next-best defensive tackle in this year’s draft was Maurice Hurst, graded at 5.94.

Bryan drew comparisons to Robert Nkemdiche after registering 40 tackles and four sacks during his senior season at Florida. He demonstrated an uncanny athleticism, able to squeeze through tight blocks and wreak havoc in opposing backfields. He flashed above-average strength and speed at the Combine, landing in the top 15 among defensive lineman in the 40-yard dash and in the top ten for bench press. His skill set is versatile enough to play him inside or outside, and his tough attitude and strong play will make him a star on the defensive front in Jacksonville within a few years.

The Head-Scratcher: Only One Pass-catcher?

The Jaguars spent a second-round pick on D.J. Chark, the fastest wide receiver in this year’s draft class. Chark has blazing speed, but his ball tracking and ability to fend off defenders’ disruptive hands are lacking.

Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both left Jacksonville in free agency, leaving Marqise Lee as the de facto top option. The Jags snagged Donte Moncrief in free agency, but no one expects greatness from Moncrief after the 2017 season he had with the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars defense was incredible last season, and the only reason they failed to make it to Minnesota in February was the offensive freight train in New England. With Robinson and Hurns gone, the Jaguars needed to restock the offense to give a resurgent Blake Bortles all the help he can get. Instead, the Jags added a safety to a stacked defensive backfield and selected depth at quarterback, slimming down their chances to make another deep run in the postseason.

The Steal: Ronnie Harrison

It is not surprising that the Jaguars drafted Ronnie Harrison. It is surprising that Harrison fell as far as he did. Harrison had been graded in the top five for safeties in this year’s draft class but found himself to be the seventh safety to come off the board. The talent from Alabama should have come off the board before Tracy Walker and Jessie Bates III and arguably even before Terrell Edmunds.

Harrison developed in the swarming Crimson Tide defense and is going to learn from several great defensive backs in Jacksonville. Even if he does not see much playing time during his rookie season, Harrison’s progress in the NFL is going to be a story to watch.

Most Likely to Turn Heads During Training Camp: DJ Chark

Chark ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash in the whole 2018 NFL Draft class with a 4.34. His time was only .02 seconds behind the fastest time, a breakneck 4.32 shared by defensive backs Denzel Ward, Parry Nickerson, and Donte Jackson. Turning heads is not always about being the best player on the field. The former LSU Tiger has height and speed and is going to be a serious deep threat for Jacksonville with some coaching. Chark could knock off Moncrief as the number two wide receiver on the Jaguars if he can develop the cooked spaghetti noodles he sometimes uses for arms.

The Rest

Richardson was a great value selection for the organization, providing them some flexibility along the offensive line after they acquired Andrew Norwell. Richardson is going to add depth to the right side and hopefully continue to improve Bortles’ chances at success slinging the football. The Jaguars needed a linebacker after the departure of Paul Posluszny, and some would argue that they waited too long to draft a player to address that issue.

Jacobs is a special teams contributor, but the Jags might have whiffed a little bit in this area. Tanner Lee throws a lot of interceptions, making him an odd choice to learn from Blake Bortles of all people. It is unlikely that Lee makes the 53-man roster come the regular season, but stranger things have happened. Cooke was a necessary pick, and the Jaguars certainly could have done worse. This was a smart use of their final pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

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