Calais Campbell (Al Messerschmidt/Getty)
With most of the fireworks of free agency over, it’s time for the Jaguars to turn their attention to the draft. JagNation is now going to unveil our first Jaguars mock draft of 2008. The Jaguars currently have eight selections in this April’s draft, and just a few pressing needs. The team claims to be BAP (best available player) drafters, but their picks in the Del Rio era suggest otherwise.
Round 1, pick #26- Jaguars select Calais Campbell, DE Miami
Rationale: The Jaguars have a near desperate need for a pass rush, and if Campbell is available at pick #26, he’d be a great value. The team currently has Reggie Hayward, who is a major question mark two years removed from an Achilles injury and Paul Spicer, who will be 33 years old prior to the start of the 2008 season as starters.
Despite having a poor combine in which Campbell didn’t run well, he has size that can’t be taught at 6'8", 290 lbs. He is muscular, plays quick and can be an explosive player after he goes through the expected learning curve of a rookie. Campbell was recruited as a tight end and is very athletic for his size. Often compared to the Panthers Julius Peppers.
Alternatives: A player who could be a slightly better value at the pick could be Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rogers-Cromartie who projects to be a great player at the next level. The only problem with the Rogers-Cromartie pick would be the lack of need at the corner position, as the Jaguars just spent $12 million on Drayton Florence.
Another possible alternative could be North Carolina’s Kentwan Balmer. The Jaguars have a question mark at defensive tackle and the 6'5", 308 lb. Balmer could solidify the position for the Jaguars.
Round 2, pick #58- Jaguars select Sam Baker, OT USC
Rationale: Although the Jaguars don’t have an immediate need at left tackle, they may have one soon as starting left tackle Khalif Barnes has shown some inconsistency, and his off the field behavior has been less than exemplary. With Baker, the Jaguars get a 6'5", 310 lb. left tackle that led one of the best offenses in the NCAA the last three years, and has been a three-time All-American first-team selection.
In most drafts, Baker would easily be a first-round pick, but since the 2008 class is one of the deepest in history at offensive tackle, Baker will likely slip into round two.
Alternatives: Two players who the Jaguars would likely target who shouldn’t be available are Sam Baker’s USC teammate, defensive end Lawrence Jackson who is a 6'4", 271 lb. end who can rush the passer, and Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws, who was a teammate of current Jaguars defensive tackle Derek Landri. Both Laws and Jackson would fill immediate needs, but they shouldn’t be on the board when the Jaguars select at #58.
Round 3, pick #71- Jaguars select Josh Barrett, SS Arizona State
Rationale: Barrett could be a Sean Taylor clone in the pros, as he has enough size to make any receiver running a crossing route nervous, at 6'2", 223 lbs., and speed to burn, as he has ran as quick as a 4.35 40 yard dash. Barrett could immediately compete for the Jaguars starting job at strong safety with Gerald Sensabaugh, and could win the job in his rookie season.
Alternatives: Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski would give the Jaguars a nice presence in the secondary, and he also adds the dimension of an elusive punt returner. Wake Forest center Steve Justice could be a nice future replacement for Jaguars center Brad Meester, as Meester will reach his 31st birthday later this month.
Round 3, pick #89- Jaguars select Kendall Langford, DE Hampton
Rationale: With the Jaguars having very few team needs, it would make sense to draft multiple players to fill one need, just in case one of the guys doesn’t work out. Langford would make for a nice value with the Jaguars second, third-round pick as he has a lanky 6'6", 287 lb. frame with speed to burn off the edge. Langford can play inside as well on passing downs, as he has enough power to split double teams. Langford was a teammate of the Jaguars Justin Durant in college.
Alternatives: University of Central Florida running back Kevin Smith was be a viable alternative in the third round, as the soon to be former Knight was ultra-productive in his junior season, rushing for over 2600 yards. The Jaguars don’t have a need at running back, but Smith could be too great of a value to pass on. Other options could be quarterbacks Andre Woodson and John David Booty.
Round 4, pick 27 (actual pick number to be determined by compensatory selections)- Jaguars select Wesley Woodyard, OLB Kentucky
Rationale: Woodyard is a very speedy ‘tweener, being that he’s a little small to play linebacker at the next level at 6'1", 227, and he hasn’t played much strong safety. Still, Woodyard is too great of a talent for the Jaguars to pass on this late in the draft.
Alternatives: Appalachian State wide receiver Dexter Jackson has speed to burn, as he runs in the 4.2's, and has very good hands. Florida State defensive tackle Andre Fluellen has been nicked up in his college career, but could be a rotational 4-3 DT at the next level.
Round 5, pick 10- Jaguars select Kellen Davis, TE Michigan State
Rationale: Davis is another giant 6'7", 260 lb. target that Jack Del Rio seems to love to have on his team. He’s quick with good hands and is an adequate blocker.
Alternatives: West Virginia wide receiver Darius Reynaud was a big play guy in college who has speed and hands in the slot. San Diego State quarterback Kevin O’Connell is a big, athletic drop back passer who could be someone to develop.
Round 5, pick 25- Jaguars select Adarius Bowman, WR Oklahoma State
Rationale: Bowman was once considered a first-round prospect who had a miserable time at the Senior Bowl and at the combine. Bowman has a lot of upside for a fifth-round pick and was very productive in college.
Alternatives: Michigan wide receiver Adrian Arrington played second fiddle to Mario Manningham in college, but Arrington could be the better pro. Arrington has legit speed, and could have been a much higher selection had he waited until next year to come out. Iowa defensive end Kenny Iwebema could be a solid run stuffing defensive end.
Round 5, pick 27- Jaguars select Dennis Dixon, QB Oregon
Rationale: Dixon is a project type of quarterback who when healthy has athleticism and a great arm, which can’t be taught. Dixon was a Heisman candidate before his season was hijacked by a torn ACL. He could be the type of quarterback that the Jaguars can develop and bring along slowly.
Alternatives: University of South Florida linebacker Ben Moffitt is a mature, solid inside linebacker who could be a special teams contributor early on in his NFL career. Appalachian State’s Corey Lynch was a winner all throughout college and has the measurables to contribute at free safety on the next level.