By: James Johnson
Though the 2011 NFL season just began and is currently under way, NFL organizations are always looking into the future. You can bet your bottom dollar that they have been scouting 2012 draft prospects from the collegiate level in the process of this season. Jaguars GM Gene Smith is probably one person putting in work in this department already to make sure that, come 2012, the Jaguars will be ready for the NFL draft. So with that said, who exactly are he and his scouts looking at? Which needs will he look to fill next year? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I can speculate. Down below I’ve created a 3 round mock draft of prospects that I think would make a difference here in Jacksonville.
Most power rankings I’ve seen have the Jaguars ranked at around 25. So for now I’m going to put them at the 8th pick for now (subject to change as the year moves on).
Round 1 pick #8 The Jacksonville Jaguars select –Alshon Jeffery,WR South Carolina– First of all let me say I’m not big on picking receivers in the top 10 (atleast not with our luck at WR) and if I did I’d rather draft Blackmon (who should be off the board by now) but you can’t let prior draft experiences scare you away from a good player. Gene Smith has shown that he’s not afraid to take a chance here and there. Alshon Jeffery looks to be a great WR worth taking a chance on so far. It would seem that based on most mocks I’ve seen this is about where Jeffery will be pick if he plays to his potential. Though he isn’t nearly as fast as Calvin Johnson he has Johnson like size standing at 6-4 weighing a whopping 229 pounds. Sounds like the type of weapon that QB of the future Blaine Gabbert could use to get what has been a anemic offense so far. Jeffery constantly made highlight plays in 2010,but hasn’t had nearly the same impact this year. I believe the reason behind his lack of impact this is due to teams focusing there attention on him being that he’s such a game changer. For that reason I think he’d fall to the #8 spot (if the draft started today). Jeffery however did show great skills in one-on-one coverage last year against some top notch SEC Cornerbacks like Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins to name a few. Here are a few of his epic highlights from 2010 (warning they might leave you in awe).
Round 2 pick#40 The Jacksonville Jaguars select-Chase Minnifield,CB Virginia– Minnifield had a great season in 2010 racking up 6 interceptions. The thing about Minnifield is that we already have a CB like him in Derek Cox on the team, but as of lately Cox has been bitten by the injury bug. Also keep in mind Cox will be on his contract year come 2012. If the Jaguars give Rashean Mathis (who’s played good so far) an extension picking up Minnifield will only add depth to a team that has to deal with the pass happy Colts and Texans twice a year. Minnifield has good height standing at 6-0 but could afford to add a couple pounds weighing 189 pounds (which shouldn’t be hard to do).
Round 3 Pick#72 The Jacksonville Jaguars select-Michael Egnew,TE Missouri– The Jaguars add another weapon for Gabbert here (why stop with Jeffery?). Not only do they grab another weapon for Gabbert in Egnew but they grab a former teammate for Gabbert from Missouri. Egnew was one of Gabbert’s favorite targets at Mizzou and the two of them seem to have great chemistry on the field. So much chemistry that Egnew’s stats are on the decline now that Gabbert is gone, but I’m not fooled. Egnew is a freakish athlete standing at 6’5. He was a former long jump champion in high school which shows in his leaping ability and is also a heck of a stalk blocker. He may have to add weight and learn to block Defensive Ends as Marcedes Lewis did when he was drafted but I don’t see his weight as necessarily a problem. At his current weight he seems fluid enough to be a wide out in the NFL if the Jags don’t want to move him to Tight End. Marcedes Lewis is the man, don’t get me wrong, but just imagine the formations we could come up with if we had BOTH Egnew and Lewis on the field at the same time (scary isn’t it?). Another thing worth mentioning is that the Jaguars have reportedly already scouted Egnew in 2010 so I’m sure he’s on there radar. Here are a couple of his highlights from 2010