Sunday, April 22, 2012

On The Clock: Jacksonville Jaguars

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the way, I turn my attention to the #7 pick and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags opened the 2011 season with Luke McCown at quarterback. They quickly transitioned to rookie Blaine Gabbert and hoped he would provide a spark for the offense. Gabbert was a disappointment ending the season with 2,214 yards, 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 5 fumbles and a 50.8 completion percentage. If Jacksonville is going to succeed in 2012, they are going to have to get better play from Gabbert. Maurice Jones-Drew had another good season on the ground. He finished with 1,606 yards and eight touchdowns. Jones-Drew is the only bright spot on the Jaguars offense. The Jags offensive line was disappointing allowing 44 sacks for 25th worst in the NFL. They could certainly use to upgrade the offensive line in the draft.

Jacksonville's defense was a surprise in 2011, finishing 6th in yards per game (313.0), 11th in points per game (20.6), 15th in interceptions (15) and 25th in sacks (31). The Jaguars may need to follow in Houston's footsteps by building an elite defense in order to win the AFC South. Let's take a look at the top three choices for Jacksonville by starting on defense with:

1. Quinton Coples - Defensive End - North Carolina - Jacksonville could certainly use a 4-3 defensive end and Coples is the best one in the draft. He has what most teams look for in a 4-3 defensive end. He has speed, strength and can tackle. Some questioned his work ethic and thought he gave up on too many plays but I think that will be changed once he enters the NFL. Coples had a good Senior Bowl and is definitely worth being a top 10 pick. Coples ended his senior season with 7.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles. He finished his career with 24 sacks, 40.5 tackles for loss and 5 forced fumbles. As mentioned, some have questioned if Coples takes plays off, but when he plays up to his potential he is elite. Jacksonville could look at another defensive end in the first round by targeting

2. Melvin Ingram - Defensive End - South Carolina - Ingram is an interesting prospect because he could play defensive end or outside linebacker as he played both at South Carolina. Ingram had a great senior year tallying 10 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns. On his career he had 21 sacks, 30.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. Ingram has the speed to blow by most tackles and is a hard hitter that could help make the Jags defensive line elite. Some believe he is the best defensive end prospect in this year's draft. If Jacksonville decides to go offense with their first pick they could draft

3. Michael Floyd - Wide Receiver - Notre Dame - Floyd is a physical, speedster of a wide receiver who can stretch the field and catch most anything throw at him. Most believe he is a top ten talent and a few think he could be a better player than Justin Blackmon (I do not). This Saint Paul, Minnesota native finished his career with 3,686 yards and 37 touchdowns. Floyd was a four year starter and often the only bright spot on the Notre Dame offense. Jacksonville upgraded their receivers this off-season by signing Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans but neither player is young or elite. If Blaine Gabbert is going to succeed he is going to need weapons and Floyd is definitely one.  

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