By: James Johnson
The last time I did a mock draft it was 2011, October to be exact so I guess its safe to say this is long overdue. A lot has changed since the last mock draft from the Jags coaching staff to ownership, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the Jag’s need for play makers heading into 2012. It’s already been established by the NFL that the Jaguars will be picking 7th in the first round of 2012, so I’ll start there.
Round 1 pick #7 the Jacksonville Jaguars select-Kendall Wright WR, Baylor– Shocking pick huh? Well if we know anything about GM Gene Smith is that he will surprise you. Anybody saw us taking Gabbert last year? What about AluAlu the year before? As a Jaguars fan I feel we should expect the unexpected. You’re probably wondering why not Justin Blackmon or Alshon Jeffery who I chose in my last mock? As I’ve stated before, Blackmon will be gone by this pick and after watching more of Blackmon I have some question marks on him. Yeah his stats are RIDICULOUS in terms of production, but they should be in an offense that throws the ball as much as OSU. I see some of Dez Bryant in Blackmon which would be great if he were to turn out that way. However, I also see some of Michael Crabtree in Blackmon too, who hasn’t performed nearly as well as he did in college. As for Jeffery I still have the same questions about him as I did in October, and those are questions about his speed. However, I think a decent 40 time at the combine could put him back in this spot. Enough about them, though, who is this Kendall Wright kid? If you ever watched Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III then you absolutely know who Kendall Wright is as Griffin’s No.1 target. In all of Baylor’s games that I’ve watched Wright seems to beat EVERY last defense he’s played deep, and has also come away with TD in every Baylor game I watched this year. Wright is a flat out athlete and was a former QB in high school prior to coming to Baylor. Ever since coming to Baylor he has shown growth in his stats and is drawing comparisons to players like Mike Wallace and Steve Smith. Though Wright lacks the size of a No.1 WR he does have the speed and ability to be treated like one. The icing on this pick is when I read that SI writer Tony Pauline stated that ” a lot” of teams had Wright as the No.1 WR on their draft board (yes, even over Blackmon). The reason this info matters is because this is the same Tony Pauline that said that the Jags would take AluAlu in 2010 when nobody else did (So obviously he knew something). With Pauline giving out this info I’m willing to connect the dots here and make this pick some what say is a bunch of mularkey (did you see what I did there?). However, if this is to be the pick I think we could/would possibly see the Jaguars trade down from here. Picking up WR’s in the top 10 is risky business. If Wright is there guy trading down to the teens and drafting him would be a great move. Not only would they maybe get their guy but they would add another pick in doing so. The problem now is finding a trade partner.
Update– Wright missed the Senior Bowl due to him nursing an injury. This however maybe a good thing for the Jags because Wright’s stock would’ve likely been on the rise afterwards.
Alternate pick: Quinton Coples DE, North Carolina– With our defensive end situation Coples could be a great option here. He imo is more likely to be the pick if the Jaguars stay at #7. I just expect Gene to do something unexpected as he has in the past which explains why I choose Wright. However, Coples is the type of player you wouldn’t want to pass on. He absolutely dominated in the Senior Bowl. I watched the whole game to see if he lived up to the hype, and he did. Drawing comparisons to Julius Peppers and Justin Tuck I wouldn’t mind at all if he is our pick.
Round 2 pick #38 the Jacksonville Jaguars select-Andre Branch DE,Clemson– If the Jags don’t go with my alternate pick in round 1 Branch would be a great value pick here. As I’ve said I think Kampman will likely be cut this year and Mincey as well as Matt Roth are both pending free agents. If not Coples in the 1st round the Jaguars would be wise to draft a DE early in this draft to develop. Why not add the ACC’s leader in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (16) in Branch lol? With defensive line coach Joe Cullen returning and possibly a veteran free agent to learn from as well (Mincey,Williams,Avril), Branch would be in good hands.
Alternate pick: Juron Criner WR, Arizona– Another player who I was impressed by at the Senior Bowl making numerous catches and coming down with a touchdown. Criner has great size (6’2 220 lbs) and the skills to be a #2 possession type of receiver.
Round 3 pick #71 the Jacksonville Jaguars select-Josh Norman CB, Costal Carolina– I had a fairly difficult time deciding who to put here. I considered putting Brian Quick (WR of Appalachian state) here as well. Both are small school guys however and it came down to who I’d think would better adjust to the NFL. CB’s of small schools tend to have more success than small school WR’s. Norman burst onto the scene with a great week at the East West Shrine Game practice and was a late addition in the Senior Bowl game as well. With a height of 6’0 and 200 lbs, Norman is the size of what I call a “new school” CB, one who has the size to cover the Vincent Jackson type of receivers out there . He could play with a little more discipline if you ask me,but with Rashean Mathis (who shouldn’t be hard to resign) and a secondary expert in defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Mel tucker Norman will have the right people around him to help him play to his potential.
Alternate pick: Brian Quick WR,Appalachian State– A very raw WR who has a lot of potential. He was very productive at Appalachian state. Whats crazy is he had all this success without a WR coach a there. Just imagine if he had actually had a WR coach how good he’d be. Jerry Sulivan who is the Jaguars new WR coach has been said to be one of the best and has worked with players like Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. He probably could work wonders with Quick. As I said earlier the Jags could take Quick here just as well as Norman. They spoke with him last week at the Senior Bowl and is the type of player Gene Smith likes.
Round 4 pick #101 the Jacksonville Jaguars select