The Jaguars, along with the NFL's 31 other teams, are heading into another offseason with several questions to answer.
With the Super Bowl over and done with, mock draft season is underway. Obviously, the mock drafts will go through several changes over the next two months as free agency, the NFL combine and cap casualties take place.
However, before anything major goes down, let's take a stab at how the draft would go if it were taking place tomorrow. The Jaguars own the No. 4 overall pick and have plenty of positions to attack early on.
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Analysis: Garrett is a true blue chip pass rusher and the Browns will only get better by collecting value over positional worth when given the opportunity. The Browns have the fortunate situation of being able to draft the "best player in the class," while also being able to grab a quarterback early.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Derek Barnett, OLB/DE, Tennessee
Analysis: I’m sure the “reach” comments are coming but it’s better to reach on a pass rusher with tons of upside than a quarterback with questionable talent. I think Kyle Shanahan will look to improve a veteran quarterback’s game (Mike Glennon? Jay Cutler?) and draft a rookie passer on Day 2. The 49ers need a quality pass rushing presence and Barnett is one of the best natural pass rushers in the class.
3. Chicago Bears
Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Analysis: Despite Garrett’s nearly universal praise as the “best in the class,” I think Allen has easily the biggest upside of any player in this draft. He can play defensive end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 and has the versatility to rush from inside as a three-technique. The Bears get the luxury of the 49ers going heavy on their defensive front the last two years.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Analysis: The Jaguars could go in a lot of directions with this draft, but I think finding a bookend pass rusher for Yannick Ngakoue is essential. Thomas is scheme versatile and can play pretty much anywhere in the front seven, whether it’s in a 4-3 Under or a true 4-3 or even a 3-4. The Jaguars need a legitimate left defensive end and Thomas has the ability to pass rush and stop the run with the best of them. If Jared Odrick is let go or the front changes shape, Thomas makes a ton of sense.
This is one of the best running back classes in recent memory and there are plenty of talented safeties in the class, so the Jaguars can chose to pass on those positions here. There is a good chance Johnathan Cyprien sticks around, which means plenty of money will be invested in the safety position moving forward and the Jaguars have already paid Chris Ivory and spent an early pick on T.J. Yeldon.
Thomas won't turn 22 until December and can be a long-term building block with early returns for the Jaguars. He was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection this past season as a junior and produced 12 sacks in two seasons at Stanford. The 6-foot-3, 273-pound lineman also collected 24.5 tackles for loss in just 26 games. There is some Michael Bennett (Seahawks) and J.J. Watt (Texans) to Thomas and his potential is sky high.
5. Tennessee Titans (via Rams)
Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Analysis: The Titans have the edge rushers to get home, but have some weaknesses in the middle of their defense. Foster is a special talent at inside linebacker and would help continue to improve the Titans front seven. Foster might be a better linebacker prospect than his fellow Alabama alums, Dont'a Hightower and C.J. Mosley.
6. New York Jets
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Analysis: The Jets are pretty much done with Darrelle Revis and while they need to improve the offense with a quarterback, they’ve already invested in the position with Christian Hackenburg (who will probably never start a game for them) and should look to a veteran to fill that need. Lattimore headlines an impress cornerback class and could be a No. 1 cornerback for the Jets from the jump.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC
Analysis: The move to Los Angeles was interesting for the Chargers. While Phillip Rivers is fine with the move, it’s hard to see him sticking for much longer. Trubisky’s biggest blemish is his lack of experience and he may need a year or two to develop. With a new coaching staff in place and Rivers manning the quarterback position for now, it makes sense to invest in the team’s long-term future here.
8. Carolina Panthers
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Analysis: While Michael Oher has shaken off the terrible season with the Tennessee Titans from a few years ago, he hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug. Ramczyk comes into this draft with his own injury concerns, but there’s no doubt he is the most NFL-ready tackle in the class.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Analysis: A 4-3 linebacker in the Top 10? Yes. While he isn’t exactly Luke Kuechley, Cunningham has the upside to get there. The Bengals can upgrade their front seven with Cunningham, who is a capable blitzer and has solid coverage skills.
10. Buffalo Bills
Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Analysis: Adams has the talent to be a Top 5 pick, but with the Jaguars passing on him, he falls to the bottom of the Top 10. The Bills get value here and a replacement for the aging Corey Graham. Adams can play free safety or he can man strong safety with Aaron Williams moving over to free.
NFL Mock Draft, Take 1: The Jaguars add a pass rusher at No. 4
11. New Orleans Saints
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Analysis: Hooker falls due to offseason labrum and hernia surgeries that will take time to recover from. Still, Hooker is easily the best replacement option for the overpaid and underperforming Jairus Byrd.
12. Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Analysis: The “have their cake and eat it too” scenario for the Browns unfolds before our eyes. Watson has his knocks when it comes to his pocket presence and footwork, but he is the sharpest passer in the class. Watson can develop behind or compete with Cody Kessler from Day 1.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Analysis: The Cardinals could use some coverage upgrades at cornerback. Marcus Cooper is set to hit the free agent market and will probably be overpaid elsewhere. Tabor is a fine replacement with much higher upside.
14. Indianapolis Colts
Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU
Analysis: The Colts stumble into another gem here, as Cook falls to the AFC South rivals. Cook will be the Colts’ long-term solution to a running back issue that has plagued Indianapolis since the team reached on Donald Brown in 2009. If there were trades in this mock draft, someone would jump for Cook or Leonard Fournette sooner.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Analysis: Much like the Colts, the Eagles luck into their ideal pick at 15. Davis is a small school wonder with the potential to be special. The Eagles badly need wide receiver help and they’ll get it with Davis at the position.
16. Baltimore Ravens
John Ross, WR, Washington
Analysis: The Ravens lost the speedy wide receiver presence of Steve Smith due to retirement but can quickly get it back with Ross. He has the ability to take the top off opposing defenses.
17. Washington Redskins
Malik McDowell, DT/DE, Michigan State
Analysis: With Chris Baker set to hit free agency, McDowell is probably the best replacement if necessary. The big bodied lineman could bring another pass rushing presence to Washington.
18. Tennessee Titans
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Analysis: The "Tajae Sharpe as a No. 1 receiver" experiment was a nice thought, but the Titans need a big play threat opposite Rishard Matthews. Williams could be that guy. He would help open up the offense for Marcus Mariota.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Analysis: The Buccaneers spent good money on Robert Ayers last offseason, but they need an eventual replacement/short-term bookend this offseason. Charlton comes from a program that has prepared him for the next level. He could be a double-digit sack guy within his first few years.
20. Denver Broncos
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Analysis: The Broncos get perhaps the most talented offensive player in the draft at No. 20. Howard was dominant at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and showed why he is easily the best tight end in the class. I expect him to put big numbers as a rookie.
21. Detroit Lions
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Analysis: Darius Slay has proven to be a strong No. 1 cornerback but he can’t cover both sides of the field. Jones has good size and a stellar college career to offer appeal to the Lions. I think the Lions could go for Dan Feeney here to upgrade their offensive line but I’ll go with the skill player.
22. Miami Dolphins
Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
Analysis: The Dolphins did a mid-season offensive line shuffle and it seemed to work. Now is the time to stabilize the offensive front and Feeney is one of the best interior linemen to enter the draft in a long time. Miami would have a very athletic front with Laremy Tunsil, Branden Albert, Ja'Wuan James and Feeney in the mix.
23. New York Giants
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Analysis: The Giants luck out with Fournette here. Rashad Jennings is probably done in New York, Shane Vereen is too often injured and Paul Perkins seems like a good rotational piece. I think Fournette could be a foundational running back for the next 6-8 years for the Giants. He falls due to a lack of need at the position, although I'd expect someone to trade up for him if he fell past 14.
24. Oakland Raiders
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Analysis: The Raiders are likely to let D.J. Hayden walk in free agency and Sean Smith is not getting any younger. Wilson could take over as a starting cornerback from the jump and offer long-term stability to Jack Del Rio’s secondary.
25. Houston Texans
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Analysis: After tearing both of his patellar tendons, Texans right tackle Derek Newton’s career may be in jeopardy. The Texans need a clear replacement for Newton and an eventual heir to Duane Brown on the left side. Robinson is an athletic freak with an impressive pedigree and he should be able to fill both roles if he lives up to his potential.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Analysis: White was among the most impressive players at this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl and his above average size fits what the Seahawks like at cornerback. White would be nice partner for Richard Sherman moving forward.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Raekwon McMillian, LB, Ohio State
Analysis: With Derrick Johnson aging and recovering from injury, it may be time to start thinking for the future. McMillian would offer an interchangeable piece in the middle of the Chiefs’ defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys
David Njoku, TE, Miami
Analysis: Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is one of the best of all-time, but his career seems to be winding down and Dallas can never have enough weapons. Gavin Escobar never really worked out as Witten’s potential successor and Njoku would be an impressive piece and safety net for Dak Prescott.
29. Green Bay Packers
Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Analysis: Julius Peppers isn’t going to play forever and the Packers need to pay Nick Perry after a phenomenal year. If the Packers choose to cut bait with Peppers and move Clay Matthews inside on a permanent basis, Williams would be a sound selection. Williams – I believe – has Top 5 talent.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
Analysis: Jarvis Jones is set to hit free agency and James Harrison continues to age. Bud Dupree has been impressive, but the Steelers need more pass rushers. McKinley could be the replacement/heir to Harrison depending on how the Steelers would like to use him.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Analysis: The Falcons relied too heavily on Dwight Freeney in the playoffs and could use a replacement moving forward. While the Falcons did get pressure on Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs, a true edge rusher opposite Vic Beasley would be a huge plus moving forward. Lawson is a talented pass rusher who collected 14 sacks last season.
32. New England Patriots
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Analysis: The Patriots will face a lot of change this offseason, as most Super Bowl-winning teams do. Dont’a Hightower is set to hit the free agent market and Shea McClellin probably wasn’t the most advantageous replacement for Jamie Collins. That’s why I’m going with Reddick here as a potential replacement for either player. He was outstanding in Mobile and is a bulldog for the ball with positional versatility.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.