The Jacksonville Jaguars filled holes with their 2019 NFL Draft picks. Is their revamped roster enough to make a playoff push this season?
The Jacksonville Jaguars were thrilled to see the Oakland Raiders select defensive end Clelin Ferrell from Clemson with the fourth overall pick. Just two picks later the Giants ameliorated this dream and selected quarterback Daniel Jones. With Jacksonville on the clock, the team had its choice of the three guys that should have been on the top of the Jaguars big board. These prospects were DE Josh Allen from Kentucky, tight end T.J. Hockenson from Iowa and defensive tackle Ed Oliver from Houston.
Jacksonville took a look at the future of the franchise, especially it’s defense. The Jaguars made a fantastic decision to draft Josh Allen as a pass rusher for the future. Malik Jackson left for the Eagles in free agency. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is in the final year of his rookie deal and Calais Campbell turns 33 this year. Drafting Allen will allow the Jaguars to let Ngakoue walk if he becomes too expensive in the current free agent market. Allen also gives the franchise depth this year to help manage Campbell’s workload as he gets older.
Personally, I think the Jaguars could have drafted either Allen or Hockenson and still received high praise. Jacksonville has not had a tight end surpass 500 yards since Marcedes Lewis in 2012. If Hockenson is truly what he is scouted to be, a TE with the ability to impact a team like Rob Gronkowski did for the Patriots, then it would only benefit the Jaguars. However, Allen is going to make an immediate impact on this defense, eventually pushing for a three-down role.
As a Miami Dolphins fan, I kept a very close eye on the offensive linemen being selected as the draft went on. Day one saw a string of OL get taken, including Jonah Williams, Chris Lindstrom, and Garrett Bradbury. However, one name not selected during the first round was Jawaan Taylor from Florida.
Based on talent alone, Taylor was one of the best offensive tackle prospects for many scouts. Taylor sets the on the line quickly. Utilizing his long arms, Taylor is able to keep speed rushers away from the QB, and is an absolute brawler. Yet, just before the draft, some medical red flags started to surface regarding Taylor’s longterm usage in the NFL. Other teams noted he had knee, back and weight issues that were concerning enough to drop him out of the first round.
The second round selection here is a bargain if those red flags don’t materialize. Jacksonville started three different players at right tackle last season and released OT Jeremy Parnell. If Taylor adjusts well to the speed of NFL, Jacksonville Jaguars fans should see him on the field week one protecting QB Nick Foles.
Josh Oliver and Quincy Williams
The Iowa tight ends, Hockenson and Noah Fant, were the highlight of the TE class. While they got all the talk, Jacksonville was still able to find a guy who will make an impact. As I stated earlier, tight end has been a disappointing situation in Davie for the better part of seven years. With the first of its two picks in the third round, Jacksonville selected TE Josh Oliver from San Jose State.
Oliver is a solid tight end prospect. He has great athleticism and speed for the tight end position. Oliver’s ball skills are fantastic, and he can be inserted as a positional blocker with enough strength to hold his own. He projects to be a second-string TE for his career but has an incredibly high ceiling.
Nick Foles is infamous for using his tight ends as a safety blanket. With Geoff Swaim and James O’Shaughnessy as the only other TEs on the roster, Oliver should have a good shot to develop some chemistry with Foles during the rest of the offseason.
Jacksonville drafted Quincy Williams, a linebacker/safety hybrid from Murray State, with the team’s second third-round pick. He played LB in college but his frame is a concern with his transition to the NFL. Williams can play safety with his speed and is a rangy run defender. There were more pressing needs at this point in the draft for Jacksonville. However, this was a pick for depth for substitutes and perhaps hope he can become special teams ace.