Breaking News
More (1) »

Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

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

A new Monday, a new set of selections the Jaguars could potentially take with their 12 picks.

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.

- - - - - - 

I know I speak for many of us when I say: we could all use a little help from above right about now.

Coincidentally, I’ve dubbed this week’s Mock Draft Monday “The Miracle Draft.” All those players you ~assume~ will be long gone by the time the Jaguars pick? Surprise! They’re there, and they're ready for Dave Caldwell’s “Best Player Available Unless They’re Named Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson” strategy.

We kick things off with perhaps the biggest shocker of them all...

Round 1, Pick 9

Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Most projections have the former Buckeye going to the Lions at No. 3 overall. But what if Detroit trades down? What if there’s a run on quarterbacks? What if all of that happens -- combined with Wolverine-esque freaks Isaiah Simmons and Derrick Brown already being off the board?

The Jaguars lost their franchise cornerback when they traded Jalen Ramsey in October. Six months later, they have his [far less dramatic] replacement.

Not only does Okudah check all the athletic boxes; not only is he a “high-character” guy. Check out what happened when a reporter at the NFL Combine questioned his “sloppy play.”

Defends himself with facts. Doesn’t insult the reporter. Does so with a humble smile.

That be nice to have in Jacksonville, right?

Round 1, Pick 20

Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M

There’s a good chance Javon Kinlaw’s here. There’s an even better chance Neville Gallimore and Ross Blacklock are there.

But Dave Caldwell will be there making the pick. There’s always gotta be one selection out of left field, right?

FWIW, by many accounts, Madubuike projects as a future starter. More importantly, he’s got flexibility already to play nose tackle or three-technique, something the Jaguars hoped they’d get out of 2017 first-round draftee Taven Bryan and are still waiting for. The Aggies threw a lot of different alignments at the redshirt junior – and he still found a way to rack up 10+ TFL in back-to-back seasons. He added 5.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019.

Sure, he’s a bit undersized. So was Yannick Ngakoue. Madubuike isn’t just taking up space: he’s wreaking havoc and racking up the stats, too.

Round 2, Pick 42

Antoine Winfield Jr, DB/S, Minnesota

ESPN’s Mel Kiper had Winfield to the Jags at No. 20 overall, which prompted me to yell ‘say whaaaaat?!’ aloud to no one in particular from the comfort of my couch. It also forced me to dive a bit deeper into the former Golden Gopher, who played a full season just once in four years. Kiper views him kinda like how many are viewing linebacker Isaiah Simmons: a chess piece. Kiper believes Winfield can play “deep safety, nickel corner, strong safety, and even some linebacker” … despite coming in at a whopping 5’9’’, 203 lbs. Color me curious.

In that one, full season of college ball (which also happened to be Minnesota’s best as a team in a century), Winfield recorded a whopping seven interceptions, 83 tackles and three sacks. He had 89 career tackles before 2019. He had two interceptions total before 2019.

Flash in the pan?

The pedigree (father is former Jim Thorpe Award winner Antoine Winfield Sr.) and football IQ suggest not. I think the medicals will push Winfield to the second round where, after robbing the bank and scoring Okudah, the Jaguars can afford a slight-risk. 

Round 3, Pick 73

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

Now do you get why this is called “The Miracle Draft?”

If the Jaguars pick up Leonard Fournette’s fifth-year option, great: here’s your RB2.

If they don’t? Also great: here’s his replacement in 2021.

Akers is projected to be a three-down back in the NFL, something now-former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo pushed Fournette to become in 2019. Many have noted that he still has a ways to go as a receiver (30 receptions, 225 yards and four touchdowns in 2019 were all career high’s). But Fournette never had more than 19 receptions when he was drafted out of LSU, and his 76 catches in 2019 were 18 more than his 2017 and injury-plagued 2018 seasons combined.

Here's my thing: if Akers was able to keep his head held high through a turbulent, three years in Tallahassee (to no fault of his own) and still rack up two, 1,000-yard campaigns… he can handle whatever and ever the Jacksonville Jaguars throw at him.

Round 4, Pick 116

Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina

A bigger built Chris Conley (although not quite as much speed), Edwards would add a different dimension to a Jaguars’ receiving corp that features two deep-threats in Conley and Pro Bowler D.J. Chark as well as slot receiver Dede Westbrook. Edwards, as The Draft Network notes, might work best as a “big slot” target, giving Gardner Minshew another tool in his tool box.

In a relatively-weak tight end class, a big-body receiver like Edwards can still give the Jaguars the production in the middle of the field that they so desperately need.

Although he never topped the 1,000-yard plateau at South Carolina, Edwards had ~800 yards each of the last three seasons (793 yards in 2017 – we’ll give it to him) and at least 50 catches each year. The Jaguars reception leaders by the numbers last season? Leonard Fournette (76), Chark (73), Westbrook (66) and Conley (47).

Next up is Keelan Cole with 24.

The Jaguars are ready to diversify the portfolio.

Not to mention, lost in the “Yannick Ngakoue Contract Saga”: Dede Westbrook’s rookie contract is up after 2020.

Round 4, Pick 118

Jordan Elliott, IDL, Missouri

Another guy who, depending on if there is a run at his position, I’m not sure he will be here come Draft Night. But this is “The Miracle Mock,” remember??

If Madubuike is a tweener, this guy’s the furthest thing from it. As one Draft Network analyst puts it, “Elliott was built in a lab.” He doesn’t necessarily have the length many NFL teams desire, but he’s got skilled hands and is strong against the run (remember when the Jaguars gave up 200+ rushing yards four times in 2019? Let’s never let that happen again). He isn’t a huge sack guy (5.5 in two seasons) but makes his mark in tackles for loss (16.5 the last two seasons).

Another thing the Jaguars learned in 2019: you can never underestimate the power of depth. It’s the reason we’re seeing them sign veterans like Al Woods and Cassius Marsh in free agency. No area was hit harder via attrition than right up the middle on the interior of the defensive line. Though Elliott may end up becoming more of a rotational pass rusher, he, too, can play multiple positions on the line.

As Doug Marrone loves to say: the best ability? Availability.

Round 4, Pick 140

Harrison Bryant, TE, FAU

There’s a reason the Jaguars had to [probably] overpay former Cincinnati Bengal Tyler Eifert just a hair: this year’s tight end class is relatively weak (or at least compared to the 2019 Draft that saw two Iowa tight ends go in the Top 20, but I digress).

Bryant topped the 1,000-yard plateau and hauled in 65 catches and seven touchdowns for Lane Kiffin his senior season. He won the Mackey Award this year, yet he’s on the lower end of most analysts’ Tight End Big Boards. Why? As Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network puts it, Bryant is “a little light to be considered for full-time work as a ‘Y’ tight end” – despite “toughness as a blocker.”

Wanna know who also was said to be “a little light?”

49ers All-Pro George Kittle. He also was a 2-star wide receiver when he arrived at Iowa (Bryant was a 2-star offensive lineman).

This is what the NFL.com team had to say about Kittle in 2017. Sounds familiar, right?

Give Bryant some time to learn under a solid pass-catcher like Eifert (43 receptions in 2019). Kittle didn’t burst onto the scene until his sophomore campaign, and I’d see a similar incubation period for Bryant paying dividends. Not to mention, hopefully, during Byrant’s year of learning, 2019 third-rounder Josh Oliver shows some production – giving a 2020 tight end selection much more time to learn and lessen expectations their rookie season. 

Round 5, Pick 165

Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming

Given the free agent signing of Joe Schobert (and given Myles Jack’s move to his more natural position at the Will), linebacker slides to the back end of the Jaguars’ needs in the 2020 Draft. Like Josh Oliver, Dave Caldwell said at the Combine he anticipates a “D.J. Chark-like jump” from Quincy Williams during his sophomore year. Considering the rookie was playing linebacker full-time for the first time in his football career in 2019 (and was starting Day One!!), any sort of progress is good progress from Williams, IMO. They’ll also have Leon Jacobs, Austin Calitro, and, I am sure, 1-2 other veterans.

But just like the middle of the defensive line, the linebacking corp was the other position that the Jaguars saw first-hand what happens when you lack depth.

Wilson provides just that: quality depth and a sure tackler.

Much like his fellow Cowboy (and former undrafted free agent-turned-Jaguar) Andrew Wingard, Wilson racked up the tackles in Laramie. Try 409 of them in his college career (including 105 this year – 8.5 for loss). He projects at the SAM (strong-side) linebacker position, but, given the move from the Mountain West to the NFL, Wilson would probably begin primarily on special teams (and thrive like Wingard, given that tackling prowess).

Then again, Quincy Williams was supposed to start on special teams. Andddd then he was a Week One starter!

Also, I’m getting Joe Exotic vibes from Wilson’s hair.

Round 5, Pick 170

D.J. Wonnum, Edge, South Carolina

ANOTHER defensive lineman?

What did I say last week: the Jaguars need as many big bodies as they can. And considering they’ve now lost Calais Campbell and (most likely) Marcel Dareus and (probably) Yannick Ngakoue, that need is amplified.

Wonnum is ideally suited as a 4-3 DE but could also see pass rushing duties from a linebacking spot. He’s not going to replace Ngakoue. But he’s going to open up some holes for Josh Allen – much like we saw Dawuane Smoot do in 2019. Wonnum was able to succeed at South Carolina because Will Muschamp set up his defense to let Wonnum succeed. Not sure he would get that same treatment in Duval, but if there’s one thing it appears Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone learned last year, it’s that you can never have too much depth. And you can never have too many guys who can do more than one thing.

(FWIW, Wonnum had 29.5 TFL in 41 career games at South Carolina)

Round 6, Pick 189

Tremayne Anchrum, OT/IOL, Clemson

Unless one of the transcendent offensive tackles falls to them at No. 20, the Jaguars very well might wait until late on Day Three of the NFL Draft to address their offensive line. I’m just mentally preparing you.

Doug Marrone stressed to reporters at the Combine that he “likes where the offensive line is at.” Doug Marrone spent more than a dozen years as an offensive line coach.

Take with that what you will.

Anchrum is cut from the same cloth as 2018 fourth-round selection Will Richardson: probably too small to play offensive tackle, but he can, and he can also play inside. Except Richardson was playing for a 9-4 NC State team. Anchrum has played in three national championship games. He’s got good quickness and leverage, but he is a bit stout (6’2’’, 314 lbs). However, as Daniel Jeremiah points out, Anchrum was an “immovable object” on the right side of Dabo Swinney’s offensive line for four years (yes, he played 11 games as a freshman in front of Deshaun Watson). It should be noted: Anchrum was technically a “guard” in name when he was being recruited.

All the Jaguars know is that they don’t know. So, once again, better to go with a guy who can do both.

Round 6, Pick 206

Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee

If you haven’t heard of Jennings, that’s because Tennessee football has struggled of late. If you have heard of him, then you know him to be the Perry Ellis of Tennessee football.

A fifth-year senior (missed most of his true junior year with a wrist injury), Jennings quietly racked up 18 touchdowns in 48 career games; his career-high’s came this fall, a 59-catch, 969 yard season for the former dual-threat quarterback. His game could be considered a little too close to Edwards for the Jaguars to consider taking both wide-outs, but, again, they would both fill a void: a tough-bodied receiver in the slot. Jennings is also the type of receiver that’s not afraid to go up and get a jump ball.

I watched him rack up 73 yards on seven catches against the Gators this fall in The Swamp, and I liked his game instantly. Jennings did clash with interim head coach Brady Hoke and was briefly dismissed… but I’d attribute that to Tennessee’s dysfunction as opposed to Jennings as a person. He came back and became a leader. Much like Akers: if a guy’s still fighting even when your team was embarrassed by an FCS program the week before, he’s got my vote.

(Even if I took him over former Florida wide-out Tyrie Cleveland, who was still on the board).

Round 7, Pick 223

Kelly Bryant, QB, Missouri

The Jaguars are going to have to take a quarterback. They have to.

I don’t care how many wonderful, Photoshopped photos Gardner Minshew adorns the Internet with. They’ve got to find a practice squad quarterback at the least.

Much like folks forgot about Heisman-finalist Minshew in the 2019 Draft, people are largely forgetting Bryant, the former Clemson Tiger-turned-Missouri Tiger. I mean, the dude went to the College Football Playoffs. He had to succeed Deshaun Watson, aka the Mayor of Clemson, S.C.! (don’t tell Dabo I said that). 

Obviously, things didn’t shake out in Clemson or CoMo quite how Bryant envisioned. Injuries plagued his lone year at Missouri, but Bryant grinded it out – even knowing that the Tigers would be banned from postseason competition. He still threw for over 2,200 yards and 15 touchdowns (although accuracy does remain a concern).

Bryant is a much bigger option than Gardner Minshew under center (6’3’’, 229 lbs). Much like Minshew, Bryant is a capable runner but it’s not the first option. That’s what the Jaguars need in a rookie quarterback: someone who’s game is similar to Minshew and can help on scout team, but not beat Minshew out. With Nick Foles in Chicago, maybe the Jaguars do pick a quarterback earlier; as you can tell, there’s not a whole lot left once you get beyond Round 4-5 (and even then, maybe after Round 1).

- - - - - - -

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. 

... and DON'T FORGET! The 2020 NFL Draft will be broadcast on ABC25 April 23-25.