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.
The only thing that’s changed quicker than our world lately? The Jaguars’ 2020 roster.
Was there reason to think captain Calais Campbell could be a cap casualty this off-season? Certainly. A $17.5 cap number is a heckuva lot of cash. But for a team that already has holes, there’s now even more.
Armed with 11 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, it would appear Dave Caldwell & co. will build from the Draft, as opposed to the band-aid fix of free agency -- although the Jaguars will need to use plenty of that, too. There are just too many holes.
My estimate/logic (which will surely change by the end of this week’s edition, let alone several Monday’s from now) is that the Jaguars still believe they can find “diamonds in the rough” in the back-half of the 2020 Draft + undrafted free agents at certain positions. I don’t believe they will be taking Cee Dee Lamb or Henry Ruggs III at No. 9. General Manager Dave Caldwell has been saying since last year that the Jaguars "like" their receiving corp (and that was after a 2019 in which no receiver had more than 5 touchdown catches). They got Keelan Cole right off the street – and he had that amazing catch against the Patriots, remember?
The Jaguars’ front office (Tony Khan in particular) takes a lot of pride in having found guys like CB Tre Herndon and S Jarrod Wilson on the UDFA Market. They also saw pretty decent production out of linebacker Donald Payne towards the back-half of the season after re-signing him off the street. It’s because of all this that I could see them waiting on a linebacker, secondary help and wide receiver until late.
The Jaguars are also renowned for – for lack of a better term – their SEC and local bias. Given the coronavirus pandemic and how it will affect travel for prospects, the Jaguars will be relying on film and what they saw at the Senior Bowl + Combine. And whatever Gators, Noles, etc. they’ve seen once or twice before.
Alright, enough of my rambling. Let’s get mocking!
Round 1, Pick 9
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
After a Combine performance where he didn't particularly "wow" anyone -- and the likes of Isaiah Simmons and Jeff Okudah did -- in the race of "Which Top Tier Prospect Will Fall Into the Jaguars' Lap This Year?" Brown takes the gold.
Don't be fooled: this is still the same guy that racked up 11.5 TFL his senior year and 170 total tackles On the Plains. He's still regarded as the top interior-defensive line prospect in this year's class. He's also the best run defender in this year's class. We saw what the Jaguars' run defense looked like without Marcel Dareus down the stretch (200+ yards on the ground four times). Having declined his option, can you imagine what it will look like without him for a full season?
Brown is a no-brainer.
Round 1, Pick 20
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
(But Mia! You just said the Jaguars won't touch the secondary until late! It's Mock 1.0 and you're already playing us!)
Ah, but did you read that next paragraph dear friend? The Jaguars love their SEC brotherin and they love their neighbors down Highway 301. Dave Caldwell has selected an SEC player in the first-round four of the last five seasons. That includes Gators Taven Bryan and the now-departed Dante Fowler and does not include Jawaan Taylor, who many predicted would be a first-round talent and slid to the Jaguars in the 2019 second-round.
There are plenty of questions about Henderson. As you'll find in this Mock Draft, "tackling" is the No. 1 quality I believe the Jaguars should be looking for in their defensive prospects -- and that's arguably Henderson's biggest question mark. From The Draft Network's coverage:
“An embarrassing display as a tackler” is a quote that was used by a respected scout to me to describe his Week 0 performance against Miami as a run defender, but another added “who cares? Can he cover? That’s all I needed to know” when asking about Henderson.
The Jaguars need a No. 1 cornerback now more than ever with the trade of A.J. Bouye. D.J. Hayden is best at nickel.
Hello, CJ. Hello, new CB1.
Round 2, Pick 42
Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
Touted Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins is going to be on the board and Dave Caldwell is going to go defensive line (again) and y’all are going to lose your minds. It’s fine.
The Jaguars need all the big bodies they can get -- especially in a pretty lean defensive linemen class.
Gallimore had a sneaky-good Combine performance: his 4.79 40-yard dash is tied for seventh-fastest all-time among defensive linemen. He's not going to rack up the stats like Brown, but which defensive tackle really is? Gallimore probably projects as a three-technique at the next-level, but can pass-rush at the one-technique. That means he's familiar with multiple positions.
That's more than the Jaguars' 2018 first-round pick knew coming in.
Round 3, Pick 74
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
I had Cam Akers here originally, but even in a day-of-age where the San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl with three of their four running backs originally UDFAs… there’s no way the Florida State blue-chipper falls this far. Dillon, however, is a tremendous consolation prize – especially if the Jaguars do indeed do not pick up Leonard Fournette’s fifth-year option.
Dillon is overshadowed by the gaudy numbers put up by Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor and Georgia's D'Andre Swift during their college careers. But he amassed 4,382 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns in three seasons (both more than Swift) while playing for a middle-of-the-pack ACC squad, whose best bowl game during his tenure was the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl. He's a downhill runner like Fournette, so, if Fournette is let go down the line, here's your replacement. If not, it's a solid 1-2 punch -- and judging by his 4.53 40-yard dash time, Dillon is not your typical bruiser.
Round 4, Pick 116
Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Oh baby. Let's move outside the Power-Five.
Highsmith is a former walk-on who blossomed over the past two seasons, tallying 21.5 TFL (!!!) and 15 sacks his senior season. He's got a full arsenal of inside/outside rush attack moves. If you were to tell him he's headed to "Sacksonville," he'd probably start running tomorrow.
With all that said, he really didn't come on until his final two seasons of a five-year career at Charlotte. He is a developmental prospect who's gotten this far via finesse. But the quick twitch + motor is there; he just needs to be molded and mentored.
If only the Jaguars' had a veteran, Pro Bowl defensive end who was also a great mentor...
Round 4, Pick 137
Jeremy Chinn, Safety, Southern Illinois
But I thought you said the Jaguars would wait on a safety?
They could. But Dave Caldwell cannot resist another small-school pick in the third/fourth rounds. He drafted Josh Oliver (San Jose State) and Quincy Williams (Murray State) in the third round last year. Also, Chinn has a pedigree: he’s the nephew of recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Steve Atwater.
Peruse any of the many breakdowns of Chinn on the Internet, and two things stick out both on tape and paper: high character guy and a sure tackler. Even if they are to land some top defensive line prospects in the first two rounds, this is still going to be largely the same defense whose two leading tacklers were their two starting safeties (Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison with 79 and 71, respectively). Guys are going to break through the line of scrimmage; who can stop them after that remains the question.
Also, this first video of Chinn taking down 2019 Rookie of the Year candidate A.J. Brown is pretty neat.
Round 5, Pick 165
Shaq Quarterman, LB, Miami
LOCAL CONNECTION ALERT!!
Beyond being a native son of the First Coast, I've been taking Shaq on every Mock Draft I've done since the off-season began because I truly think the Jaguars should take the Miami grad.
Remember what I said about "game film" becoming so critical in light of our national crisis and travel restrictions? That may prove to be a feather in Quarterman's cap. He's a gamer. He's a captain and an emotional leader. He also might have the highest football IQ + sure tackling ability among this year's linebacker crop.
He also had 356 tackles in four seasons in Coral Gables. Again, tackling, Jags, TACKLING.
His sudden retirement aside, the Jaguars took a local linebacker in Telvin Smith back in 2014 -- and he turned into a full-time starter. Who's to say lightning can't strike twice?
Round 5, Pick 170
Justin Herron, OT, Wake Forrest
Time for former offensive line coach Doug Marrone to put his money where his mouth is with this developmental prospect.
At the Combine, Caldwell and Marrone continued to stress they "feel good" about their offensive line. That's what they said about their wide receivers last year, and they didn't draft a wide-out. Thus, I don't forsee them looking at O-Linemen until the fifth round.
Herron recovered nicely from a torn ACL in 2018, and now holds the Wake Forrest record with 51 career games started. Pass protection is a strength -- which whoever is playing quarterback for the Jaguars in 2020 is going to need. Team captain. Senior Bowl. East-West Shrine Game. He checks all the Dave Caldwell boxes.
Also, he played the trumpet in the jazz band in high school.
Round 6, Pick 189
James Lynch, IDL, Baylor
Another defensive lineman?
Look, the Jaguars need all the help they can get in the trenches.
The Draft process hasn't been particularly kind to Lynch. Every write-up I've read notes how he "is not a dynamic athlete" and "doesn't present enough challenges for offensive linemen." Then how is he Baylor's career sack leader? How was he the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a junior?
Coaches rave about his motor and work ethic. Because he doesn't fit any one "position" at the next-level, I personally would view him as a late-round, defensive line-playing Isaiah Simmons (come for me, Old Takes Exposed).
Round 6, Pick 206
Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky
"The Jaguars have to take a quarterback because Jaguars."
If Nick Foles is no longer in Jacksonville, they're picking a quarterback wayyy before this. But seeing as he's still here and they haven't drafted a wide receiver yet, why not take a flyer on a guy who can do both?
One of college football's best stories in 2019, Bowden was thrust into the starting quarterback role due to a series of injuries and head coach Mark Stoops was forced to build his offense around him. All he did was rush for 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns; finish top-five nationally in all-purpose yards; and won the Paul Hornung Award. And he was All-SEC all-purpose as a sophomore before the move to quarterback.
Daniel Jeremiah lists Bowden's NFL comparison as Randall Cobb, so I'm not sure who wouldn't want to sign up for that. HE is the ultimate chess piece, something that may entice new Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden may enjoy.
Also, if the Jaguars don't take him, the Patriots or Saints most certainly will. And turn him into a cult hero.
Round 7, Pick 223
Lawrence Cager, WR, Georgia
Injuries derailed the stretch run of his final collegiate season, but the grad transfer from Miami put enough on tape to get drafted -- even in this wide receiver heavy class. Cager had 476 yards on 33 receptions in 2019, none bigger than his career day at the World's Largest Cocktail Party: 7 catches, 132 yards and a touchdown. He scored a touchdown every 5.6 catches.
At 220 pounds, he'd certainly give the Jaguars a different look at receiver. He proved at Georgia he can make catches at all three levels.
It's Round 7 in arguably the best wide receiver class of our time, and the only receiver you've taken at this point is a guy who spent most of 2019 under-center. Take the flyer on Cager.
- - - - - -
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts for next week's Monday Mock.