Free Agency is just in it’s second week and signings are beginning to slow down. With the Draft next on the vagenda, it’s time to take a detailed look at each team’s acquisitions and losses and gauge a plan of attack for how they should approach the first three rounds of this year’s draft. We’ll start with the lowly Cleveland Browns and work our way all the way up to the Super Bowl Champs in New England. The team that always seems to be picking in the top 5, the Jacksonville Jaguars, are up this brisk second day of Spring.
Team Needs: RB, TE, S, OT, DT, ILB
Free Agent Losses: CB Prince Amukamara, RB Joe Banyard, OT Kelvin Beachum, S John Cyprien, DT Jordan Hill, CB Davon House, TE Julius Thomas (Traded)
Free Agent Acquisitions: G Patrick Omameh (resigned), CB AJ Boyue, DE Calais Campbell, S Barry Church, LB Audie Cole, LB Lerentee McCray, G Earl Watford
Potential Round 1 Targets: OLB Myles Garrett, TE OJ Howard, S Jamal Adams, S Malik Hooker, S Jamal Adams, DE Jonathan Allen, DE Solomon Thomas, RB Leonard Fournette, RB Dalvin Cook
Potential Round 2 Targets: TE David Njoku, S Obi Melifonwu, S Budda Baker, OT Cam Robinson, OT Garrett Bolles, OT Antonio Garcia, OT Taylor Moton, LB Raekwon McMillan, LB Jarrad Davis, RB Christian McCaffery, RB Alvin Kamara, DT Caleb Brantley, DT Chris Wormley, DT Montravius Adams
Potential Round 3 Targets: S Eddie Jackson, S Justin Evans, S Desmond King, S Marcus Maye, S Marcus Williams, OT Adam Bisnowaty, OT Roderick Johnson, LB Kendall Beckwith, LB Anthony Walker, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DT Vince Taylor, DT Larry Ogunjubl, RB Joe Mixon, RB D’Onta Foreman, RB Kareem Hunt, RB Wayne Gallman, RB Samaje Perine, RB Marlon Mack, TE Bucky Hodges, TE Jake Butt
Plan of Attack:
The Jaguars hit the defensive side of the ball pretty hard in free agency and may look to bolster their offense with the 4th pick. The dilemma they will be facing though, is do they take a top RB like Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook or do they roll with the rare tight end specimen that is OJ Howard. Some may argue the 4th pick is too high for any of these players, but the fact of the matter is any of these guys could be game changers for the Jaguars. Howard has a rare blend of size and speed. He was vastly under used at Alabama, and can be a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses. He could have a Gronk like impact for the Jaguars and him being on the field would make Blake Bortles a much better quarterback. The Jags may decide that no matter how good Howard is, the 4th overall pick is too high for a tight end, and could look at a running back instead. So they’d be considering either Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook. Fournette is a bigger back who runs with an amazing amount of power. He doesn’t have the softest hands in the world, but rarely goes down on first contact and can get the tough yards. Cook on the other hand, is a much more versatile weapon. He doesn’t have Fournette’s blend of size and power but he’s an excellent receiver out of the backfield, and is a quick and shifty little bugger. The Jags could look to move down a few spots and land one of these two future stars while picking up some extra picks. It’s still not out of the question that the Jaguars keep adding to their defense with this pick. If they do, safeties Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker would be options. It would also be extremely hard for the Jaguars to pass on talented pass rusher Solomon Thomas if he slid here.
If the Jaguars do roll with OJ Howard in round 1, then they could look at a running back at the top of the second. They’d love to see Stanford’s Christian McCaffery slide here, but with the awesome Combine he had that looks doubtful. So they’d be looking at Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara. Kamara is a patient runner with good vision and acceleration. He is also a reliable option catching passes out of the backfield. If the Jaguars still need a tight end at the top of the second round, they’d jump all over Miami’s David Njoku if he were available. Like Howard, Njoku is a matchup nightmare for linebackers and safeties. He would be a welcome safety valve for Blake Bortles. If Njoku is gone they could consider Ole Miss’s Evan Engram, who isn’t as big, but does possess elite athletic skills. The Jaguars could also look to bolster their offensive line here by taking a tackle. The Jaguars have their starters in place but age and depth is an issue. If they go that route, they’d love to see Alabama’s Cam Robinson or Utah’s Garrett Bolles available. If Bolles and Robinson are gone, the Jaguars could think about Taylor Moton or Antonio Garcia. The Jaguars could also bring in a safety with their second round pick. If they go that route, the best they could see on the board would be Washington’s Budda Baker. He doesn’t have great size but is a wily defender who isn’t afraid to throw his body around and make plays.
If the Jags still need a running back when Round 3 starts, they could find a lot of options staring them in the kisser. Troubled, but talented Joe Mixon could be there. So could fellow Sooner Samaje Perine, or Texas power back D’Onta Foreman. Any of these three could come in and compete and are talented enough to earn the majority of the carries as rookies. If the Jags decide to beef up the offensive line here, they could see FSU’s Roderick Johnson available. He’s a guy who could go anywhere from the mid 2nd to mid 3rd. He’s got good feet and long arms, but could stand to add some strength. On defense there are a few areas the Jaguars could address in the third round. They could bring in a defensive tackle to battle Sheldon Day. If they do, they’d be looking at Auburn’s Montravius Adams or maybe Alabama’s Dalvin Tomlinson. Adams is an interesting guy. Sometimes he’s flashed first round ability with his quick get off and penetration, while other times he gets overpowered by blockers. The Jags could also bring in a young inside linebacker in the first few rounds, andin round 3, Kendall Beckwith or Anthony Walker could be options.