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Mia's Mock Mondays: What will the Jaguars do in the 2020 NFL Draft?

Now with 12 selections in this April's NFL Draft, the Jaguars have plenty of options

You’re [struggling] with working from home, searching for any and every form of sports #content that can be used as a means of procrastination.

My mom has been telling me for years I need to get back into writing + The NFL is proceeding as per usual despite a global pandemic = a match made in heaven.

Welcome, to Mia’s Mock Mondays.

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A lot can change in a week.

(I know, that’s kind of the understatement of the week)

First and foremost: hope this week’s Mock Draft finds you safe, healthy, and in need of some sort of diversion from working from home and/or attempting to teach third grade geometry.

… because the Jaguars are now up to 12 (yes, TWELVE) selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, still scheduled to occur April 23-25, 2020, (albeit with operational modifications) and airing on ABC25 here on the First Coast.

In the last week, the Jaguars addressed a major need in their linebacking corp with the addition of free agent Joe Schobert (and, in doing so, strengthened the weak-side linebacker position by confirming that captain Myles Jack will move there). They added depth in their secondary (Darqueze Dennard) and on the defensive line (Rodney Gunter). They also now have just two quarterbacks on the roster after trading the $88 million man, Nick Foles.

What does that mean for Mia’s Mock Draft 2.0?

Let’s dive on in.

Round 1, Pick 9

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

In this Mock Draft, the three, ultimate chess pieces (DT Derrick Brown, LB Isaiah Simmons and CB Jeff Okudah) are all off the board, so the Jaguars opt to go offense.

Wanna know the last time the Jaguars selected an offensive player in the first round that wasn’t a quarterback or a running back?

(Can we say OT Luke Joeckel in 2013? Am I allowed to bring up Justin Blackmon?)

I’ll re-phrase it: remember the last time the Jaguars selected an offensive player in the first round that wasn’t a quarterback, a running back, OR a complete bust?

OT Eugene Monroe in 2009, sure.

How about tight end Marcedes Lewis in 2006?

Ruggs is more of a surefire selection than all of those jokers and Joeckel’s put together.

Beyond the eye-popping, 4.27 40-yard dash at February’s Combine, Ruggs is a yards-after-catch machine. He’s a smaller in stature, perfect compliment to D.J. Chark.

He also checks off Dave Caldwell’s SEC bias card (three of the last four Jaguars’ first round selections have come from the Southeastern Conference). His story, as detailed by The Draft Network, says a lot about who Ruggs is as a person. The Jaguars need as many “good locker room guys” they can get as they rebuild.

You’ve given Gardner Minshew the keys: now give him his Ferrari.

Round 1, Pick 20

Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

So the Jaguars miss out on Derrick Brown in this Mock Draft.

But good news! The second highest-rated defensive tackle is still on the Board at Pick 20! Another year, another selection falling into the Jaguars’ lap!

Sure, Kinlaw doesn’t have the eye-popping stats that Brown does. He doesn’t need to: they’re both “defensive tackles,” but they play completely different positions.

And as The Draft Network notes, Kinlaw “could stonewall a charging bull.” Who wouldn’t want that on their defensive line?

The Jaguars don’t have Calais Campbell or Marcell Dareus up the middle anymore. They need to address the interior defensive line as soon as possible.

A JUCO All-American before arriving at South Carolina, there are those Draft analysts (NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah among them) who feel much of Kinlaw’s game is a credit to his brute strength and that consistency on tape remains a question. “Tape” is going to be the name of the game for the 2020 NFL Draft with so many interviews and workout’s cancelled or modified due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

… but again. “Stonewall a charging bull.”

Round 2, Pick 42

Lucas Niang, OT, TCU

Some might say this one’s a risk, given the senior is coming off hip surgery that limited him to just seven games in 2019. But the Jaguars also maintain they’re “confident” in their offensive line, so what’s so wrong about taking a flyer on a guy many say will be a plug and play starter?

Niang has been seeing reps against (I know, sorry) Big 12 defenses since he was a freshman in 2016. That year, he primarily served as the reserve, swing tackle for TCU. With Jawaan Taylor entrenched at right tackle, that’s what the Jaguars would need him to do – and push left tackle Cam Robinson in the process.

I know. Why take a right tackle if you already have your right tackle of the future?

Because the Jags need as many big bodies as they can to protect Gardner Minshew, that’s why.

Round 3, Pick 73

Bryce Hall, DB, Virginia

The Jaguars wait to address cornerback until the third-round – which, as mentioned in last week’s Mock Draft, wouldn’t surprise me. Tony Khan and this front office have said time and time again they take pride in finding “diamonds in the rough” through the Undrafted Free Agent waters, particularly in the secondary (Tre Herndon, Jarrod Wilson). For the second straight selection, they also take a swing at a player coming off injury. Hall’s senior season ended after six games due to ankle injury.

But Hall is among the surest tacklers in this year’s cornerback crop. And as mentioned last week (and as evidenced by any and every Derrick Henry run the last two years against Jacksonville), the Jaguars need all the sure-tacklers they can get.

Hall also projects as possibly pushing out to safety, where the Jaguars (surprise!) could also use some depth.

The biggest question mark across the board (besides the ankle) is his play in man coverage. Which, if you ask Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars don’t play nearly enough of. Does that, combined with exceptional ball skills, make Hall a good fit for a Jaguars team that amassed a mere 10 interceptions in 2019? Perhaps.

Round 4, Pick 116

Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

Quick shout-out to our First Coast News quarterback guru Denny Thompson for the insight on this one. He told me last month that, if Nick Foles was not on the Jaguars roster by Draft Day, the Jaguars almost have to take a quarterback [relatively] early – even if they feel good about back-up Josh Dobbs. His pick? Jake Fromm. 

The Draft process has not been kind to “Jake from State Fromm.” He ran a 5.01 40-yard dash (second-worst among QBs at the Combine). His broad jump was 111” (third worst).

But he’s a winner. He won 36 games in a three-year starting career at Georgia. He went to the National Championship as a freshman. He’s a gamer.

Kinda sounds like Gardner Minshew, right? (just don’t beat Minshew out for the job, Jake. Then the Jaguars will have some REAL problems)

Also, did you know his real name is William? You learn something new every day!

Round 4, Pick 118

Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah

The Jaguars taking a guy from the Pac-12??? Say what??

Without Calais Campbell and, perhaps, Yannick Ngakoue, defensive end just became almost as important as defensive tackle for the Jaguars’ in the 2020 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t surprise me if they address it earlier on, to be quite honest.

But guys like Anae – who posted back-to-back, 14 sack seasons for the Utes the last two years – will probably still be here in the fourth-round. And they still figure to give you plenty of production.

Anae in particular is a high-motor guy on and off the field. He rarely comes off the field (didn’t miss a game in his final three seasons), and he plays with unrelenting effort. He still has room to grow technically, and many think he could also transition to a rush linebacker position.

They said that about Josh Allen, too.

He looks mighty fine at defensive end to me.

Round 4, Pick 140

Josiah Deguera, TE, Cincinnati 

So, I thought about taking more of a “blocking” tight end here, especially given the Jaguars have lost Seth DeValve and Nick O’Leary in free agency. But DeValve and O’Leary were also both essentially signed off the street to begin with, so who's to say the Jaguars can't do that again?

Also, why just have a blocker when you can have a guy who can do both? (and possibly play H-Block in offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s new scheme?)

Deguera’s physical ability may be limited. But he’s another tough-nosed football player who plays with effort and is a gritty blocker. He caught 39 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns his senior season, after catching four touchdowns his junior season. This for a team that won 11 games and went to the AAC Championship Game.

You’ve got three, fourth-round picks. Josh Oliver remains a question mark. James O’Shaughnessey is coming off an ACL tear.

Take a tight end when you can, in a pretty lean tight end class.

Round 5, Pick 165

Lamical Perine, Florida RB

Gator fans are either super happy with me right now or super upset.

The latter will be even more upset when I let them know Jabari Zuniga was still on the Board here, and I still went with Perine.

Even if John DeFilippo isn’t calling the plays in Jacksonville, this is 2020. The NFL all but requires its running backs to catch passes out of the backfield and for teams to have a “change of pace” back. With Leonard Fournette seeing 70-plus percent of the snaps in 2019, there was no change of pace.

Perine gives you that option. Sure, he wasn’t really a pass catcher prior to his senior season. But with 40 catches for 262 yards and five touchdowns, he proved he can be. Ryquell Armstead had just eight catches his senior season at Temple and the Jaguars took him with their fifth-round selection in 2018.

(Did I mention he’s a Gator? Ticket sales, people…)

Round 5, Pick 170

Geno Stone, S, Iowa

Give me this: I refrained from taking any Hawkeyes in last week’s Mock Draft. Heck, the only notable player from the state of Iowa the Jaguars have ever selected was Brad Meester (Northern Iowa).

But a, I am obligated to entertain my loyal followers in Iowa during quarantine and b, I truly believe a flyer on Stone here isn’t the worst idea.

For non-Hawkeyes fans: there are plenty of folks in the Midwest who believe the Pennsylvania native left school too early. A second-team All-Big Ten selection his junior (and final) season, many feel Stone got caught up in the hype of being “the next great” in a long-line of Hawkeyes’ defensive backs that have made the jump to the next level. That, because Amani Hooker played the “Star” position in Phil Parker’s secondary and seamlessly transitioned to the Tennessee Titans despite also being lightly recruited out of college, Stone will, too.

The measurements are lacking. Stone is 5’10’’ and just above 200 lbs. Daniel Jeremiah literally calls him a “stubby safety” in his write-up.

But Stone is from that long-line of Hawkeyes’ defensive backs. The IQ and feel for the game are there, and, through the likes of Micah Hyde, Desmond King, and Hooker, we’ve seen that that can be enough (even though those three all won Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year... and Stone did not. I know, Hawkeyes fans). 

The Jaguars have 12 draft selections and haven't picked a true safety yet. They can afford to take Stone here.

Round 6, Pick 189

Tyler Clark, IDL, Georgia

Build through the trenches. All the big bodies.

That needs to be Dave Caldwell’s mantra throughout the next four weeks – especially if he does indeed take a top skill player with his first selection. When in doubt, take the linemen.

Clark has a chip on his shoulder after not receiving an NFL Combine invite. He’s “the silent rock” of the Dawgs’ defensive line, racking up 119 tackles in four seasons, including 8 TFL his senior season. The Jaguars could use all the depth they can get at the defensive tackle position.

Round 6, Pick 206

Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State

They call this guy “the Gnat” because of his “pesky, persistent coverage talent and playing style.” He’s as athletic as they come (4.42 40-yard dash) and has quick burst and feet.

He is also 5’9’’ and 185 lbs. That could present a problem against the likes of, I don’t know, a 6’5’’, 225 lbs wide receiver named Mike Evans.

(I know, the Jaguars don’t play the Buccaneers this year – for better or worse. But if Scott is expected to shift over to cover the slot… how big do you think most tight ends he'd be facing are?)

For the sake of this Mock Draft, I think Scott is a perfect compliment to third-round selection Bryce Hall. Sure, Scott’s more of an ankle-biter in run support. But you have a sure-tackler in Hall (if he can play corner and doesn’t push out to safety) and, that way, Scott can be left at a nickel or back-up position, ready to put his ball-hawking skills to good use.

Round 7, Pick 223

Daniel Bituli, LB, Tennessee

As if Florida fans weren’t already mad at me for choosing Perine over Zuniga, I went Bituli over David Reese here.

I also waited until the seventh-round to take a linebacker.

Now with Joe Schmo (yes, we’re calling him that) in the fold, are the Jaguars that confident in their linebackers? Dave Caldwell said he’d like to see a “D.J. Chark-like” jump from Quincy Williams. Myles Jack will be playing his natural position. Leon Jacobs is still around!

Speaking of Jacobs: think of Bituli as a [potentially] better version of the 2018 seventh-round pick (will you look at that!). Sure, he doesn’t play every down. But he is best as a run defender between the tackles. A defensive lineman in high school, Bituli is a box thumper. He missed the first two games of his senior season recovering from knee surgery and still led the Vols in tackles in 2019. Those final numbers? 88 tackles, 5 TFL, three sacks and two pass break-up’s in 11 starts.

Only concern for Bituli? He is still struggling in open field tackling.

Somewhere in Tennessee (or maybe Yulee), Derrick Henry is smiling.

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Well, that was fun! And a lot more work than I thought! Let's do this again next Monday at lunch time, shall we?

Hit me up on Twitter at @MiaOBrienTV or mobrien1@firstcoastnews.com with your thoughts for next week's Monday Mock.