We’ve reached the point in draft season where there are certain truths we all accept as reality. Usually these can be filed under blatantly obvious assumptions based on widely reported picks (i.e: the Colts will use their first overall pick on Andrew Luck). But the more a likely trade is discussed, the more it becomes an assumed reality.
That’s where we’re at with the Jacksonville Jaguars with six more days to go until the first round. Given the desperation for a future franchise quarterback and the increasing likelihood that Ryan Tannehill will fall out of the top five and be bypassed by the Browns, the Jags are sitting on a
god damn gold mine simmering trade hot spot with their seventh overall pick. A move is now just assumed, and the status quo would be surprising, and boring.
We talked to Adam Stites, the co-manager of Big Cat Country, and he thinks a trade is indeed high on GM Gene Smith’s list of draft day priorities, saying that he’ll look to leverage the value of either Tannehill or Justin Blackmon if they fall.
1. The No. 7 pick has recently been rumored as a hot spot for trade activity with Seattle and Kansas City possibly looking to trade up if Tannehill tumbles. Will the Jaguars be actively looking to trade down? Smith has multiple needs to address, and would probably like to collect a few more picks…
I think the Jaguars will absolutely pursue a trade down, especially if a player like Tannehill or Blackmon are available to sway trade interest. I believe there is a perception that the difference in talent between a player at No. 7 and as far back as No. 27 is really not that much. At least not enough to pass on the opportunity to recoup some of the trade value of the 7th overall selection.
2. If Smith is high on Blackmon he could look to negotiate a trade in the other direction, fearing that Blackmon won’t fall. Is that a possibility?
I would be shocked if the Jaguars traded up for Blackmon. I believe he will be available at No. 7, and the question is whether or not Smith perceives Blackmon as a talent worthy of that high of a selection. If the Jaguars do elect to swing a deal to move a couple slots in the draft, I believe it would be with the intent to select Morris Claiborne.
3. What about defensive line help? Is a pass rusher a priority if Jacksonville stays at No. 7?
The Jaguars have struggled to produce a quality pass rusher for most of the last decade and haven’t had a double-digit sack season from a player since Bobby McCray finished with 10 sacks in 2006. While they have re-signed Jeremy Mincey, a quality defensive end, they still have a large hole on the other side of the line and don’t have a single player on the team that scares offenses. Defensive end is probably the top need for the Jaguars, and I fully expect them to address that need in the first couple rounds.
4. If an edge rusher is the pick, do you have a preference? Melvin Ingram seems like the ideal option now, but Quinton Coples’ name was bounced around in earlier mock drafts.
The issue with drafting a pass rusher at No 7 is that there isn’t one in this class that is a sure-fire top 10 talent. While Melvin Ingram is probably the top guy, I’m not sure he has the burst off the line to overcome his size disadvantage in a 4-3, so I see Ingram as a better fit in a 3-4 with a team like the New York Jets. Quinton Coples is a risky selection, but he is closer to the ideal 4-3 defensive end that I’d gamble on.
5. Any other needs you’d like to see addressed?
The Jaguars are a team with solid depth at most positions, but they could use upgrades and depth along the offensive line, as well as at cornerback and defensive tackle. Perhaps a tight end to pair with a couple of receiver selections would help the development of Blaine Gabbert as well.