Mock Draft Roundup: Bucky Brooks Slots an Elite Defender to Jaguars in Latest Projection
'Tis the season for mock drafts, a yearly tradition in which media attempt to project how the second-biggest day on the NFL calendar plays out.
As we inch closer and closer to the 2020 NFL Draft on Apr. 23, we will be tracking how other national media outlets are projecting the Jacksonville Jaguars to attack the draft. With two first-round picks for the first time since 1998, the Jaguars are one of the most interesting teams to monitor throughout this offseason, and it is worth examining how different people view the team's needs and how to address them.
Jacksonville owns picks No. 9 and No. 20, with the former a result of their 6-10 record and the latter a result of the team trading Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams for a pair of first-round picks and one later round selection in 2021. With one of the weaker rosters in the AFC, the Jaguars have a number of directions they could take with their early picks that would make sense. It is ultimately hard to argue against more than two to three positions as positions of need for Jacksonville, so expect for mocks to continue to have wide-ranging results.
This week, former NFL player and scout, and current NFL Network analyst, Bucky Brooks released a new mock draft that suggests an intriguing situation for the Jaguars, specifically at pick No. 9. Like most analysts, Brooks thinks the Jaguars need to target defense with their first few picks, but he slots two defenders to Jacksonville that many have not.
So, how did Brooks map out the Jaguars' first round, and does it seem like a logical possibility for the draft to play out this way? We examined the picks to determine the answer.
No. 9: Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
"The Ohio State standout fills the void created by Jalen Ramsey's departure a season ago," Brooks wrote.
This isn't a hard pick to formulate if Okudah is actually on the board when the Jaguars pick. If he is available, they should sprint to the podium without a second thought. He is legitimately an elite prospect who could have an instant impact similar to the one Ramsey had when he was first drafted.
But the question throughout the early portion of the draft process is if the Jaguars will actually have a shot to take Okudah. He is widely expected to come off the board before the Jaguars pick, but Brooks lays out a scenario in which the Jaguars could land the top corner in the draft class. This gives us an idea of what kind of picks would have to take place before No. 9 for Okudah to fall to Jacksonville.
Brooks mocked the following players in picks No. 1 through 8, giving us an idea of what needs to happen for the Jaguars to land Okudah.
- No. 1: Cincinnati takes QB Joe Burrow
- No. 2: Washington takes DE Chase Young
- No. 3: Detroit takes LB Isaiah Simmons
- No. 4: New York takes OT Jedrick Wills
- No. 5: Miami takes QB Tua Tagovailoa
- No. 6: Los Angeles takes QB Justin Herbert
- No. 7: Carolina takes DT Derrick Brown
- No. 8: Arizona takes OT Tristan Wirfs
So essentially, the Jaguars would need three quarterbacks, two offensive linemen, as well as Young, Simmons, and Brown to fly off the board before they pick to have a shot at drafting Okudah.
The argument can be made the Jaguars have larger needs at defensive tackle and linebacker than cornerback, but when a team is picking in the top 10 they need to be focused on getting the best prospect possible, regardless of position. Okudah may not fix the run defense as Brown would, but he would play a big role in changing the landscape of the pass defense.
Cornerback could also become an even greater need in the upcoming weeks due to the uncertain future of cornerback A.J. Bouye's spot on the roster. If the Jaguars release Bouye for cap reasons, they will need a starter across from Tre Herndon.
No. 20: LSU LB Patrick Queen
"Re-tooling the defense with explosive athletes could get the Jaguars playing like the unit that nearly won the AFC a few years ago," Brooks wrote.
Patrick Queen isn't a player we've seen mocked to the Jaguars often, but it makes some sense on the surface. The Jaguars desperately missed Telvin Smith's prescence at weakside linebacker in 2019, and the several players the Jaguars used to fill his role were unable to produce consistently.
Queen is a rangy and explosive linebacker who is not too dissimilar from Myles Jack, though having two linebackers who are so similar in skillsets and stature could be seen as a negative considering the performance of the linebacker unit in 2019.
In this scenario, the Jaguars take Queen over wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, edge defender A.J. Epenesa, and safeties Grant Delpit and Xavier McKinney. While the Jaguars have a need at linebacker, the argument can be made that each of those four players are better value than Queen, who didn't start rising up draft boards until later in the season.
Regardless, it isn't surprising to see Brooks load up on the defense. The Jaguars' defensive talent has regressed in a major way since the 2017 season, and thus far one of the Jaguars' main issues has been an inability to replace players who have departed. Okudah would be an instant solution to this problem, while Queen would be a high-reward, high-risk pick that could potentially provide the same answers to one of the Jaguars' bigger question marks.