While we won’t truly know how draft classes pan out for a couple of years, the Jacksonville Jaguars on paper put together a tour-de-force draft.
If you told a Jaguars fan before the draft that his team would land both the draft’s top cornerback (Jalen Ramsey) and premier linebacker (Myles Jack), he would have questioned your sanity.
But that’s exactly what happened.
They grabbed Ramsey with their first-round pick, and Jack in the second round.
The reason Jack, a top-ten talent, slipped pertained to concerns about his right knee. Jack, a UCLA-product, suffered a torn meniscus at an October practice. Then reports surfaced that Jack also had cartilage damage in the same knee and might need micro-fracture surgery. This scared a lot of teams, but not the Jaguars.
“He had a great workout for us and you’d never know there was anything wrong with him,” Jaguars GM David Caldwell said. “There’s no plan for surgeries. There’s no plan for any additional treatment. I think we’re good to go.”
Jack is a tremendous football player and rare athlete.
“Of all the athletes I’ve been around – just pure athleticism – there’s Michael Vick and Julius Peppers. Myles is at their level as an athlete,” said UCLA coach Jim Mora.
Ramsey is also a world-class athlete and top-shelf football player. He was by far the best cornerback in this draft. Cornerback was a weakness of the Jaguars last year, and the Florida State-product, who has a great combination of size and speed, should help them immeasurably.
Then in the third round, the Jaguars landed one of the draft’s best edge pass rushers, Maryland defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who set a school-record of 13.5 sacks for the Terrapins in 2015.
And in the fourth round, they added a talented interior pass rusher, Notre Dame defensive tackle Sheldon Day, who displays tremendous quickness for a 293-pound athlete, and a motor that won’t stop.
Their fifth-round pick was yet another gifted pass rusher, Montana defensive end Tyrone Holmes, who led college football’s 1-AA level with 18 sacks last season. They drafted another quarterback menace in the seventh round with Central Arkansas end Jonathan Woodard, who had 30.5 sacks in college.
On top of all this, they stole Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen in the sixth round. If current starter Blake Bortles doesn’t pan out, Allen could emerge as a starting option down the road. For now, he’s a quality backup.
“I’ve been a big proponent of Brandon Allen throughout this (draft) process,” said long-time NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, now with the NFL Network. “He’s a coach’s kid. He’s been through a lot of adversity. Fought through it at Arkansas, and really played well last year. I broke down the tape to the point where I would consider taking him in the late second round, early third round.”
It’s no secret Jaguars coach Gus Bradley needs to win this year after a pair of substandard seasons. His general manager certainly provided him plenty of ammunition to help his cause.