Today we are continuing our team-by-team Mock Draft Profile for the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, starting with the team that currently holds the no.7 pick in Thursday’s first round, the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Team Needs: WR, CB, DE, S, OT:
Last season the Jaguars drafted Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the tenth overall pick, believing that they had finally found their franchise quarterback. However, things with Gabbert did not exactly go smoothly, as he struggled to complete barely more than 50% of his passes, while throwing 12 touchdown passes to go along with 11 interceptions. However, he was just 4-10 as a starter and posted an anemic yards per attempt average of 4.7.
The reason Gabbert is being referenced here is because Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith must decide if the team’s ready to commit to the young quarterback long-term or not. If they are, they must begin building around him as the centerpiece of their franchise going forward or start seeking out his replacement.
Even if the Jags decided Gabbert is not their quarterback of the future, the only alternative likely to be available with the seventh pick is Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who would be just as risky a pick as Gabbert and would not solve the Jags problem at wide receiver, where they lack any type of legitimate threat. Outside of pro bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew and tight end Mercedes Lewis, the Jags have no other legitimate weapons anywhere on the offensive side of the ball, which can no longer wait to be adressed.
Lewis actually led the team in receiving yards with 460 on 39 catches but had zero touchdowns. Smallish receiver Mike Thomas, who stands at just 5’8 led the team in receptions with 44 but produced on 441 yards. So it’s easy to see that the Jags are in desperate need of some playmakers on offense, the lack of which has done anything to aid Gabbert’s development. Therefore, if the Jags want to give him a fair chance at developing into a starting quality quarterback, they need to surround him with receiver with the talent level of a true no.1 option.
While the offense was almost unbearable to watch in 2011, the defense was at least respectable. The unit played solidly in 2011, finishing the season ranking sixth and 11th, in yards and points allowed, respectively. The defense was not elite by any means and still has plenty of holes to fill, yet, it kept the Jags competitive in a number of games and was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season.
The biggest thing separating the Jags from the elite defenses in the league is the lack of a dominant pass rush. Although the Jaguars have made a pleasant discovery with defensive end Jeremy Mincey, a former sixth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots, who posted five sacks in 2010 and followed it up with an eight-sack season in 2011, they still need to add another pass rushing presence on the edge to team with Mincey.
So without further ado here is our prediction for the Jags with the no.7 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft:
Previous Picks: 3. Vikings – Matt Kalil, 4. Browns – Trent Richardson, 5. Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, 6. Rams – Justin Blackmon.
Top Players Remaining: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame, Quenton Coples, DE, North Carolina, Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina.
FantasyPPR Draft Prediction: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame.
The Jaguars are a team with a bevy of needs so finding a player who fills a need and provides good value shouldn’t be a problem. Some pundits may view Floyd as a reach here, but Smith has proven time and again that he isn’t concerned with the thinking of others, he stays true to his board, therefore is he believes Floyd is the best option available, then Floyd will be the pick.
Floyd has had some character concerns in the past but has worked very hard to overcome them. This offseason in fact, he’s proven his dedication to football by training hard for the combine and team workouts, which has led to strong performances and a rise up draft boards.
Floyd was highly productive in his four seasons with the Fighting Irish, finishing his career with 271 receptions, 3,686 yards and 37 touchdowns. In all four years, he caught at least 44 passes and racked up at least 700 yards receiving, therefore consistency is one of his strong suits. (Career stats can be found here http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/pi/shareit/DyWcC)
The Jaguars could also consider upgrading their pass rush by selecting either Coples or Ingram here. Both players would make a ton of sense and would fit well in Jacksonville, however the allure of a true no.1 receiver may simply be too much for Smith to pass up on, as the team attempts to build around Gabbert for the future, meaning in our view, Michael Floyd is about to become a Jacksonville Jaguar.