After last night’s thumping, today marks the first day of the offseason for coaches and players, while also marking the first day of a six-month waiting period for fans.
However, from now until May, there will be a plethora of prospect evaluations and mock drafts leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft held in New York City. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that holds a whopping 10 draft picks, including the 3rd overall pick. The team has a lot of holes, but 10 draft picks and a free agency period can go a long ways toward patching them up.
This will be the first of several mock drafts that I will concoct for the team, between now and Draft Day. The number preceding the selection signifies the respective round.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
I have Houston taking Teddy Bridgewater and St. Louis swapping spots with Cleveland for additional picks; Cleveland would then take Johnny Manziel with the second overall pick. If this scenario plays out, Jacksonville sprints to turn in their card and draft the man many consider to be a once-in-a-generation type of defensive talent.
Clowney would immediately be the BAP and I have serious doubts that David Caldwell would pass on this type of talent. Sure, there are questions regarding whether Clowney’s heart, effort, and whether he really loves the game. But, at this point, the Jaguars need to roll the dice on a player of this caliber. I’m sure Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr will get some consideration here, but ultimately, I think Clowney will be the pick, in this scenario.
2. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
There’s a pretty good chance Ford will not be on the board in the second round period after his monumental performance during Senior Bowl week and in the game itself, racking up two sacks, a batted pass, while – at several point in time – facing two or three blockers at a time. However, there is still a lot of time between now and May, and there are going to be several guys whose stock will skyrocket, causing some first round picks to slide to the second round.
Ford has tremendous speed off the edge and the type of burst off the line that is matched by no other man in this draft. At his size – 6’2, 242 – he would be the perfect LEO (designated rusher) in Gus Bradley’s defense given his physical capabilities, accompanied with a top-notch work ethic that was displayed during the week of the Senior Bowl.
Plus, imagine Clowney and Ford on the same line? Ford in the LEO and Clowney in the 5-tech? That would be an offensive coordinator’s worst nightmare.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
As I pointed out in last week’s column, Garoppolo is rising faster than any QB in the draft, as of today. He’s a rock-solid 6’3, 220 pounds, has a blink-and-you’ll-miss release, and a guy who has worked his ass off to get to this point in his career. The former high school linebacker has all the tools you look for in a franchise QB and would easily become Jacksonville’s starting quarterback from the moment he’s signed.