Catch the 2020 NFL Draft on ABC25 Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25, 2020.
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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Last Monday, I had the Jaguars selecting (or, rather being #blessed with) cornerback Jeff Okudah and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike with their two, first-round selections.
On Tuesday, we heard from Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone.
So, this Monday, I’m going to do my best to present a mock draft that reflects the key points Marrone brought up in an hour-long teleconference with local reporters. What were those key points you ask?
- Building a “tough, strong football team” – particularly up the middle
- Not a lot of “drama”
It is abundantly clear that the Jaguars will address interior defensive line early in this Draft. Marrone also – perhaps surprisingly – hinted that a “game-changing play-maker” was of priority, too. He also noted that an offensive lineman to “push” the current linemen could be beneficial.
There’s also that whole Yannick Ngakoue Trade scenario still hanging in the balance that could net the Jaguars additional selections in the first round.
I would like to preface this Mock Draft with this: the Jaguars have not traded up in the first round since 2012. They’ve traded inside the first-round just four times in 25 years. Does that change this year?
Let’s find out.
Round 1, Pick 9
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Yes, I selected Kinlaw in a previous Mock Draft. But Doug Marrone has reinforced the notion that the Jaguars are taking an interior defensive lineman early. Kinlaw and/or Auburn’s Derrick Brown will be here. There is a drop-off in talent after those two.
The Jaguars can't roll the dice and simply hope Kinlaw is still there at No. 20. They take him while they can.
Does that mean missing out on the elite wide receivers and tackles in this year’s class? Well…
Round 1, Pick 14
JACKSONVILLE receives No. 14 overall pick, 2021 3rd rounder
BUCCANEERS receives No. 20 overall pick, 2021 2nd rounder, 2022 5th rounder
For the first time since trading up to select Justin Blackmon in 2012, the Jaguars select a wide receiver in the first-round.
SB Nation’s Michael Kist did a combined ranking of all the wide receivers drafted since 2017. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and CeeDee Lamb were his top-three. Jeudy, Ruggs and Lamb are all in this year’s class. More than likely, all three are gone by the Jaguars’ original pick at No. 20.
Why Jeudy? Well, in this Mock Draft, Ruggs and Lamb were off the board. But Jeudy also provides that vertical speed and route running prowess that Doug Marrone alluded to in his teleconference. He also provides versatility, stretching the field as an outside receiver but also proving just as effective in the slot.
Parting with next year’s second-rounder may seem a steep price, but the Jaguars have two first-round selections again in 2021 from the Jalen Ramsey trade. There’s also a chance they gain additional picks from a Ngakoue trade.
And given Jeudy’s projections and skill-set, I think they’ll be just fine with this decision.
Round 2, Pick 42
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
For a second straight year, an offensive tackle falls out of the first-round and into the Jaguars’ lap.
Jackson is an interesting (and heart-warming) story. Originally, he was right up there with the Tristan Wirfs and Mehki Becton’s of this year’s class. His start to the 2019 season was delayed when Jackson made the decision to donate bone marrow to his sister, who suffers from Diamond-Blackfan anemia. Jackson missed part of the summer season, but he returned in time to resume his role as the Trojans’ starting left tackle, starting all 13 games.
The “stuff you can’t teach” is there. Jackson is long (6’6’’), 310 lbs with room to grow, and mobile. Many analysts say his footwork needs improvement. To that I say two things: one, he played at USC (this is not Pete Carroll’s USC anymore, folks. Coaching and recruiting aren’t what they used to be in SoCal). And two, that means that, if the Jaguars do give Cam Robinson one more year as the starting left tackle, Jackson has a year to grow. Jackson doesn’t turn 21 until this May. He’ll be waiting in the wings when Robinson’s rookie contract is up after the 2020 season to take over the starting role.
Round 3, Pick 73
Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
LET’S GET WEIRD, FLORIDA FANS!!
Given the impending, virtual nature of the NFL Draft, I am extremely curious to see if teams do indeed value “film” more than Combine/workout results. Not that Greenard’s Combine results weren’t impressive (4.87 40-yard dash at 263 lbs!), but he is the definition of a gamer.
Tape don’t lie: Greenard had 15.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks while fighting injuries most of his lone season in Gainesville. He also had 15.5 TFL and seven sacks during his junior year in Louisville. 2019 was no “flash in the pan” for Greenard, and, if he can truly move past the wrist injury that plagued his 2018 season, he is a future NFL starter.
As much as Doug Marrone said last week that he “likes [the Jaguars] edge rushers,” the Jaguars cannot operate under the assumption that Yannick Ngakoue will be playing for them in 2020. Josh Allen will have far more difficult a time getting to the quarterback his sophomore year if he is double and triple teamed constantly because there is no “big-name-threat” elsewhere on the line.
NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein’s NFL comparison for Greenard is Dante Fowler. Take that as you may: I think Greenard fits both of Doug Marrone’s primary objectives (strong-up-the-middle and no drama) for the 2020 Jaguars.
Round 4, Pick 116
Zack Moss, RB, Utah
“We feel good about our running back situation with Leonard [Fournette] and Rock [Ryquell Armstead] and a couple of other guys back there who’ve done a good job, but at that same point, who is someone that’s going to come in there that’s different?”
That was Doug Marrone last Tuesday.
That’s why, even in an age where three of the Super Bowl runner-up’s four running backs were initially undrafted free agents, I believe the Jaguars pull the trigger on a running back between Rounds 3 and 5.
Moss caught 28+ passes twice in his four-year career (neither Fournette nor Armstead ever eclipsed 20 in college). The Miami-area native ran a 4.65 at the Combine, and, at 222 lbs, is still considered a “big” back. He wiggles but can also “bring the boomstick,” as one analyst writes.
Wear and tear is a concern: Moss rushed for 1,000 yards three times and missed time his junior year with a knee injury. But as Doug Marrone also reiterated on his teleconference, as much as Fournette is the featured back, he wants to have a stable of running backs. Moss gives them a different look.
Round 4, Pick 118
Ben Bredeson, IOL, Michigan
For everyone calling for Andrew Norwell and his $14.5 million cap-hit to be traded: who’s going to step in right now and play left guard?
A four-year starter in Jim Harbaugh’s pro-scheme at Michigan, Bredeson is not the biggest guard in this year’s Draft, but he might be one of the toughest (grew up in Wisconsin, played at Michigan – he’s as B1G as they come! And Doug Marrone wants big bodies!). Bredeson was a two-year captain and played in all 51 games he was eligible to play in, starting in 45 of them.
He’s been knocked for not being the most natural athlete, but there’s raw power and a strong football IQ. He also showed-off at the Senior Bowl in January (despite being flattened by Kinlaw and Oklahoma's Neville Gallimore a time or two...), and, as history has proven time and time again, Dave Caldwell values the annual showcase in Mobile.
Round 4, Pick 140
Cheyanne (CJ) O’Grady, TE, Arkansas
Alright. Here’s your risk pick.
O’Grady is Arkansas’ all-time leader in tight end touchdowns (12). In 33 career games, he caught 87 passes for 967 receiving yards. He gives great effort as a blocker, and, as The Draft Network’s Joe Marino notes, “he would be a wonderful security blanket for a quarterback.” That’s what James O’Shaughnessy was for Gardner Minshew before tearing his ACL Week Five. The Jaguars clearly need that.
Here comes the other shoe dropping:
O’Grady was dismissed from Arkansas midway through the 2019 season.
Here’s why I’d still consider him:
O’Grady was honest and took all the blame when asked about his dismissal at the Combine. The Razorbacks called it “a mutual agreement,” but O’Grady was quick to note in February that he was dismissed. “After the Alabama game, [I] kind of told the coaches, ‘I don’t really want to come. My body’s sore. Just lame excuses. Immature. I like to call it the old CJ. I moved past that.”
It should be noted that Arkansas went 2-10 in 2019 (2-6 at that point), and the coaching staff that “dismissed” O’Grady is no longer in Fayetteville. Obviously, the Jaguars could also win a mere two games in 2020; what would O’Grady say to that?
He says he’s moved on, and the skill-set is undeniable and something the Jaguars don’t have on their roster. Doug Marrone did mention tight end as another area the Jaguars could use depth via the Draft. They’ll be taking a tight end on Day Three.
Round 5, Pick 165
Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State
Okay, so real talk: it broke my heart to select Walker over Miami and Oakleaf grad Shaq Quarterman here. Even with the signing of Joe Schobert, I still think Quarterman would do wonderful things in Jacksonville, especially with time to learn from an established, starting middle linebacker.
Walker is the pick here, though, because he’s got experience at both inside and outside linebacker. If there’s one thing the Jaguars learned in 2019, it is that they need all the linebackers they can get – especially those that can play multiple positions. Walker can be an off-ball linebacker or line up on the edge as a rusher.
A JUCO transfer, Walker really only has two years of football under his belt. That means less wear and tear, but the range of tape isn’t quite like, oh I dunno, Shaq Quarterman’s four-year starting career. However, Walker did average 91 tackles, 11.5 TFL and five passes defended at Fresno. That’s eye-popping.
After selecting a “developmental linebacker” in Quincy Williams in 2019, are the Jaguars prepared to take on another project?
Round 5, Pick 170
Nevelle Clarke, CB, UCF
Never say I didn’t do anything nice for you, UCF fans!
I do hold firm to my belief that the Jaguars are confident in their scouting department (and Tony Khan) to find “diamonds in the rough” of the undrafted free agent waters when it comes to their secondary. Tre Herndon and Jarrod Wilson have made the jump from UDFA to full-time starter.
However, Herndon no longer has the security blanket of Pro Bowler A.J. Bouye on the other side. D.J. Hayden plays the nickel (say it louder for the people in the back!). As important as “strength-up-the-middle” is to Doug Marrone, he, too, admitted that the Jaguars need depth at the cornerback position.
Clarke has room to grow, particularly in the strength department. He’s not going to improve the run-defense. But he is a ballhawk. He had 24 passes defended over the past two seasons and four interceptions. At 6’1’’ with a good-size wingspan (arms measured at 31 5/8’’ at the Combine), he’s a bigger counterpart to Herndon.
Round 6, Pick 189
Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Speaking of ball hawks: hello, Tanner Muse.
I discussed this last week, and maybe I’m old school, but I just think there’s something to be said about a player who has played in three national championship games. Sure, the guy across from you is considerably larger at the next level, but Muse has already gone up against Nick Saban and Alabama three times – how much bigger can you get?
Plenty of analysts (Lance Zierlein among them) believe Muse is too slow to play safety, will eventually move to linebacker, and become a special teams guy.
Then tell me how he had six interceptions and 13 pass break-up’s the last three years?
(By the way, Muse had 3.5 sacks and 7.5 TFL the last two seasons, so maybe the “hybrid linebacker” idea isn’t that far off)
He’s got 30 lbs on Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison, so Muse would give the Jaguars a bigger body in the secondary, another option in the box, and an option at covering tight ends.
Round 6, Pick 206
Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
Same thing as last week: once you get past the Jacob Eason’s, Jake Fromm’s and Jalen Hurts’ of Day Two, this quarterback class is mighty lean. But then again, Gardner Minshew was a Day Three selection last year, and now he’s QB1 for the Jaguars!
Like Minshew, McDonald comes from a pass-happy offense and was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Minshew won the Award in 2018). At this point of this Mock Draft, McDonald had the strongest arm of the available quarterbacks. He threw for 30+ touchdowns the last two seasons, while also proving decent in the run game (he ran a 4.58 at the Combine, the fastest time for a quarterback this year).
The Jaguars need a practice squad quarterback at the least. Why not shoot for another gun-slinger with some luscious locks?
Round 7, Pick 223
Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State
The Sun Belt Player of the Year was the top receiver in FBS last season (93 catches for 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns). That included touchdowns of 71, 89, 92 yards.
Doug Marrone wants someone who can stretch the field? And is strong through the air?
On tape, Bayless looks speedy. He then ran a “pedestrian” 4.62 40-yard dash at the Combine. In any other receiver class, Bayless is still guaranteed a late-Day Three Draft spot. With this year’s group, I’m not so sure – but he would, again, give the Jaguars a “different look.”
His 2019 stats were also legitimately three-times his numbers from the year before (39-566-2 TD). Picked a good time to breakout!
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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?
And don't forget: you can watch all three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft LIVE on ABC25 April 23-25, 2020.
Hit me up on Twitter at @MiaOBrienTV or email@example.com with your thoughts for next week's Monday Mock.