2011 NFL Draft | Jacksonville Jaguars Team Needs
The Jacksonville Jaguars, by all accounts, were expected to finish in the cellar of the AFC South in 2010.
Instead, they finished 8-8 and were a game away from dethroning the Colts in the division. Head coach Jack Del Rio saved his job for another year, and things actually appear to be looking up going forward.
There is some solid young talent on the roster, but upgrades and replacements at certain positions are still necessary, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Jacksonville owns the No. 16 pick in the first round.
Biggest Needs: QB, WR, TE
David Garrard is a serviceable NFL quarterback, but, as we’ve seen, you can only win in the NFL with a serviceable quarterback if you also have a truly elite defense. Needless to say, the Jaguars don’t have anything near a truly elite defense.
This draft isn’t chock-full of elite QB prospects, so the most immediate upgrade will likely come via free agency or trade. However, if they do choose to take a guy in the draft with one of their later picks, guys like Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Christian Ponder stand out as possibilities.
Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas are solid receivers, but neither seems likely to emerge as a true No. 1 option. They’ve wasted first-round picks on bust receivers before (Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, for example), and they can’t afford to swing and miss like that again.
With both A.J. Green and Julio Jones likely off the board by the time the 16th selection comes around, the Jags may be best served to try and find a guy a bit later in the draft. Maryland’s Torrey Smith seems like a possible late-first/early-second round pick, while Titus Young and Jonathan Baldwin fall between rounds two and three.
Marcedes Lewis, a former first-round pick, emerged and had a Pro Bowl season for Jacksonville. He’ll be a free agent, and, while the team seems likely to slap the franchise tag on him, you can never have enough depth at the position. He’s elite as a pass-catcher, so the team may be inclined to look for more of a blocker.
Biggest Needs: DE, S, CB, ILB
The Jaguars have lots of holes on defense. They haven’t drafted particularly well, either, as evidenced by recent relative busts like Reggie Nelson, Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, last year’s first-round pick, had an impressive rookie season, but many considered him a reach at No. 10.
This team has struggled to find a truly elite pass rusher on the end of the line, and may have to use yet another first-round pick on a defensive end. The team had just 26 sacks last season, so this is where they have to go. Robert Quinn, Cameron Heyward and Ryan Kerrigan are all possible selections.
The secondary is a mess, as well. Rashean Mathis has had a nice career, but he’s 30, and didn’t have a great 2010 season. Don Carey, Courtney Greene and Derek Cox are all very young, but none of the three was drafted ahead of the third round. A true playmaker and difference maker is sorely needed, and I’d expect the Jaguars to look early in the draft for upgrades.
Deunta Williams and DeAndre McDaniel are the top two safety prospects, and both could likely be had somewhere in round two. As for corner, Aaron Williams, Rashad Carmichael and Ras-I Dowling are a few guys likely to go somewhere between rounds two and three.
Kirk Morrison is a solid middle linebacker, but his contract is up. There isn’t an Aaron Curry-type prospect in this class, but a few middle round guys like Martez Wilson and Alex Wujciak may have some intrigue.