Continuing our 2014 mock draft, we have the Jacksonville Jaguars on the clock. With the Houston Texans taking quarterback Blake Bortles No. 1 overall and the St. Louis Rams taking defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the second pick, the Jaguars find themselves scrambling to make a selection with two top targets already taken.
Remember, each pick is selected based on whom the writer believes the team will take, rather than whom the team should take. For this reason alone some of the writers will not agree with their own picks, so keep that in mind in the comments.
The Jaguars find themselves picking in the top ten of the NFL Draft for the 7th straight season. Last year the Jaguars selected former Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick. Their previous five first-round selections haven't exactly worked out to put it felicitously.
Their 2012 first round pick Justin Blackmon was suspended by the NFL twice last season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. After his indefinite suspension last year, Blackmon will have to be reinstated by the league in order to get back on the playing field, an obstacle Blackmon is not guaranteed to overcome.
Blaine Gabbert, the team's first round pick in 2011, is no longer on the team's roster after they shipped him out to San Francisco in exchange for a sixth-round pick. The 49ers are hoping Gabbert can "regain" the form he never had at the NFL level, according to an NBC affiliate in San Francisco that covers the team. 2009 first-round pick Eugene Monroe suffered the same fate as Gabbert this offseason as he too was traded. The Baltimore Ravens acquired Monore's services for a fourth and fifth-round pick in this year's draft.
2008 first-round pick Derrick Harvey lasted only three seasons in Jacksonville before he departed for the Denver Broncos in 2011, where he played one season before being released. In a final gasp to save his career, Harvey latched on with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, but was released before the season started. Harvey hasn't played a down in the NFL since 2011, lasting only four seasons in the league.
The Jaguars' have only one of their first-round picks since 2008 left on their roster, aside from Joeckel, and that's defensive end Tyson Alualu, the No. 10 overall pick in 2010. Alualu has been a solid contributor for the Jaguars, only missing one game in the last three years, but his on-field production doesn't equal that expected of a former top ten pick.
What does this all mean? Well, after another down year in Jacksonville, which saw the team amass a 4-12 record, the Jaguars find themselves with yet another top ten pick.
The Jaguars' franchise has been in limbo for the last seven years dating back to their last playoff appearance in 2007. Their failures on the field have stemmed from their inability to make the correct selection in the first round. The Jaguars have to get it right this year, or they face yet another year in the NFL's basement.
Without further ado, here is the pick:
With the third overall pick in the APC 2014 mock NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select...
Name: Khalil Mack
This year the Jaguars could go a number of different directions with the third overall pick. They could be in the market for a quarterback with names like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles at the top of their list. Or, they could go the defensive route and try to improve the NFL's 27th ranked defense in 2013, with a guy like Khalil Mack.
Khalil Mack would be the perfect fit for the Jaguars. He would give the Jaguars the playmaker they desperately need on defense. Mack would instantly improve a pass rush that totaled an NFL low 31.0 sacks in 2013. Mack has a knack for finding the football and dislodging it from the ball carrier (recorded an NCAA-record 16 forced fumbles at Buffalo).
Many people question how Mack's effectiveness in college will translate to the next level after playing average competition at Buffalo. People that are of this mindset obviously didn't watch Mack destroy Ohio State, Baylor and Connecticut in 2013. Mack has all of the tools and his versatility will excite second-year head coach Gus Bradley and his evolving 4-3 defense.
Mack could be an effective SAM linebacker in the Jaguars' base defense and also a very disruptive Leo/Elephant defensive end in sub packages. Mixed with recent acquisitions of Chris Clemons (DE) and Ziggy Hood (DT), Mack would make the Jaguars' defense much more athletic, quic,k and hard-hitting.
In this author's humble opinion, Mack is the best player available in this year's draft (yes, even more so than Jadeveon Clowney). He has all the tools to become a star at the next level. When watching Mack play I wholeheartedly believe I am watching the next great defensive player in the NFL. He is a humble young man, and carries a unique skill set of size (6'3" 250 pounds) quickness (4.18 second 20-yard shuffle, top performer at his position) and speed (4.65 40-yard dash, also top performer at his position).
Mack can do it all on the football field and the Jaguars would benefit greatly from his services with the No. 3 overall pick.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|