It didn’t take long for Dave Caldwell to establish himself as the General Manager of the Jaguars. With his now famous “Not even if he’s released” comment regarding Tim Tebow’s availability, he let everybody know he’s going to do things his own way. During that same press conference Caldwell was asked about his philosophy in building the franchise. “Building through the draft is the best way,” Caldwell said. “Offensive line, defensive line and quarterback are the key positions to build,” he finished, outlining his plan.
So going by that template, Caldwell has acquired his offensive lineman (Luke Joeckel), his quarterback (Blake Bortles), and now apparently is looking at the defensive line for the 2015 draft. While there’s a lot of disinformation and smoke screens out there at this point (“They’re all smoke screens” I told a friend yesterday) its pretty easy to come up with a plan that the Jaguars are looking at for 2015.
“You have to be prepared for any scenario,” Caldwell said at the pre-draft luncheon last Friday. “I like to challenge people with their convictions,” Head Coach Gus Bradley added.
I asked Caldwell last Friday if he has identified the best player in the draft. “I think so,” he said with a smile. (Gus Bradley by the way said he thought they were still looking at “Five or 6 guys.”) “Will you take him if he’s available at number 3?” I continued. “Yes,” Caldwell said emphatically and with a bigger smile. It’s the same question I asked last year and Caldwell was honest with his answer. “If the player we want is there, we’ll take him. And I know who that player is.”
One other thing might have given some insight into the process tonight. Caldwell said, “You can never have enough big bodies,” when asked about a defensive lineman.
Putting that all together, the Jaguars have several possible scenarios for the draft. 1. Take Leonard Williams. If the two quarterbacks are taken at one and two, the Jaguars have their pick of every position player on the board. Williams is the consensus best player in the draft and I don’t think they’ll pass on him. Yes, Dante Fowler looks like a good “Leo” fit for Gus but this team needs solid players to build around and Williams is that guy. Considered a “hippie” by some scouts, Williams is from Daytona and the Jaguars liked him when they saw his pro day and interviewed him.
2. Trade down. If one of the quarterbacks is there, this is a real possibility. Moving out of the top 10 might keep this from happening but if getting the Browns 12th and 19th picks is part of the deal, it could happen. If the Jaguars can stay in the top 10 and move down picking up more picks, that’s also a possibility because behind Williams they have about 5 players rated horizontally on the board, all with the same grade.
3. Draft Dante Fowler. This only happens if Gus and the Coaching staff sway the scouts and the personnel department, including Caldwell, that Fowler could be the missing “piece.” I doubt it, but it’s possible.
4. Draft Amari Cooper. While this has been a popular notion the past couple of days, I actually think the Jaguars like Kevin White a little better because of his size and how he might fit into the current offense. Mostly a smokescreen to see who wants to jump up.
It all starts at 8 tonight. The Jaguars have the third pick around 8:35.
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