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Jags 2013 Pick Analysis
Check back after every Jaguars pick made during the 2013 NFL Draft for senior writer John Oehser's insight & analysis.

Jeremy Harris and Demetrius McCray Pick Analysis - Posted 6:44 pm EST on 4/27/13

The Jaguars needed a lot of things entering the 2013 draft, chief among them speed and cornerbacks.

Those needs may not be entirely filled, but they’ve sure been addressed.

That happened in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft Saturday afternoon, with the Jaguars using the last two of their eight selections over the weekend on New Mexico State cornerback Jeremy Harris and Appalachian State cornerback Demetrius McCray.

The Jaguars selected Harris with the second selection of the seventh round, selecting McCray two selections later at No. 210 overall.

McCray was taken with a selection acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the day.

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said while Harris and McCray may not be immediate starters, the two each can contribute immediately on special teams and perhaps compete for starting positions.

Bradley said Harris and McCray were about building the cornerback pool.

“I said, ‘Let’s take the two corners – let’s get some guys in there that have some speed, some length, some traits that we’re looking for,'” Bradley said. “I never feel you can have enough of those guys to take a look at. They may be a couple of guys we have to look at developing, but that’s the fun part.”


Josh Evans Pick Analysis - Posted 4:25 pm EST on 4/27/13

The Jaguars’ secondary just got a little deeper.

Josh Evans, a safety from the University of Florida, was selected by the Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft Saturday, adding depth to a secondary depleted by offseason departures.

The Jaguars entered the weekend with Dwight Lowery as a likely starter at free safety, but with no clear No. 1 player at strong safety and a relatively thin group at cornerback.

The team selected Florida International strong safety Johnathan Cyprien with the first selection of the second round on Friday night, but the position was still relatively thin.

The Jaguars moved to correct that by selecting Evans, who emerged as a starter over his final two seasons after splitting time between track and football early in his career at Florida. He specialized in the 60-meter hurdles with the Gators’ track and field team.

Evans started 21 games over his final two seasons, finishing his career with 24 starts, 154 tackles, five interceptions and seven tackles for loss. He likely will play as a backup early, and also likely will compete for a role on special teams.

The Jaguars now have six safeties on the roster – Lowery, Cyprien, Evans, third-year veteran Chris Prosinski, second-year veteran Antwon Blake and recently-signed free agent Chris Banjo.

Evans said he can play strong or free safety, and that he played not only single-high safety at Florida, but man-to-man and other schemes. Head Coach Gus Bradley's defense is expected to utilize single-high safety looks extensively.


Denard Robinson Pick Analysis - Posted 2:45 pm EST on 4/27/13

The idea was to add talent and competitiveness.

And yes, speed, too.

The Jaguars added all three throughout the 2013 NFL Draft, then added speed on Saturday afternoon in a big-splash way, selecting former University of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

The Jaguars plan to use Robinson as a running back and kick returner.

“It doesn’t matter,” Robinson said minutes after the Jaguars selected him with the 138th overall selection. “I’m planning for everything. I’m an offensive weapon.”

Robinson (6-feet-0, 197 pounds), a four-year letterman at Michigan, started 37 games, but more pertinent to the Jaguars’ selection is that he set the NCAA record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (4,495).

He also holds the NCAA record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback with 1,702 yards, and in 2010, he became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a single season.

Robinson started his senior season as a quarterback, but sustained nerve damage in his hand after having his arm stepped on in an October game against Illinois. He reaggravated the injury against Nebraska later that month, playing running back most of the rest of the season.

Robinson worked as a wide receiver at the Senior Bowl, but is expected to work as a running back/returner.


Ace Sanders Pick Analysis - Posted 1:30 pm EST on 4/27/13

Sometimes, times can be deceiving.

In the case of South Carolina punt returner/wide receiver Ace Sanders, that’s how Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell sees it, and that’s why Caldwell didn’t much care how Sanders ran at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Sanders plays fast – really fast.

And that was enough to influence Caldwell early Saturday afternoon.

“His quickness is electric,” Caldwell said Saturday shortly after making Sanders the Jaguars’ fourth-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, the 101st player selected overall.

“This guy has serious juice in terms of his ability to get off the mark and separate in short areas.”

Sanders was clocked at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.

“I think I’m faster than 4.5,” he said. “Look at my game film – I believe I am.”

Caldwell agreed, saying, “The time is what it is, but the video shows this guy has the ability to get behind defenders in the SEC and run away from guys in the SEC.”

The hope is Sanders can fill the punt returning role the team has struggled to fill in recent seasons. He averaged 15.3 yards per punt return as a senior, returning to punts for touchdowns.

“First step, I’m going north and south,” he said. “I’m not an east-west runner on punt returns. I want to get up the field.”

David Caldwell said both Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch and Wide Receivers Coach Jerry Sullivan liked Sanders, and weren’t bothered by his size. He caught 99 passes in four seasons at South Carolina for 1,230 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“His hands are really exceptional in terms of being able to catch the ball on a down-in, down-out basis,” Caldwell said.

Said Sanders, “I’m definitely a receiver who is a punt returner. I know my ability. I think with the right coach and the right system, I can excel.”


Dwayne Gratz Pick Analysis - Posted 9:55 pm EST on 4/26/13

Gus Bradley has certain things he wants in a player.

“Tough, reliable, smart,” Bradley said.

Dwayne Gratz, a cornerback from the University of Connecticut and the Jaguars’ third-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, has those attributes with a couple of others Bradley – the Jaguars’ Head Coach – likes in the corner position.

He has length. And he has speed.

“This guy has both of those,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said shortly after the Jaguars made Gratz their third-round selection, the 64th player selected overall.

The Jaguars entered the draft needing to address the cornerback position after having allowed veteran Derek Cox to leave as a free agent. They also released Aaron Ross and opted not to re-sign longtime starter Rashean Mathis.

Those three players all started for the Jaguars last season.

They addressed offensive line in the first round with tackle Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M, then chose safety Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International in the second round.

They then surprised some observers with the selection of Gratz, who was unknown to some observers. But Gratz was the No. 7-rated cornerback according to NFL Draft Scout, and he – like Cyprien – impressed Jaguars personnel officials at the Senior Bowl.

“He has good press man cover skills and good cover skills,” Caldwell said.

Bradley said in that sense Gratz is a good fit for his defense, a scheme he brought from Seattle that emphasizes press coverage. At the same time, Bradley said Gratz had the versatility to play coverage in different schemes.

“He’s not just a press corner,” Bradley said. “He understands the game pretty well.”


Johnathan Cyprien Pick Analysis - Posted 7:37 pm EST on 4/26/13

Round 2 was about need meeting value.

The Jaguars had a very glaring need on the roster at strong safety – glaring, as in, there was no player at that position on the roster.

And Johnathan Cyprien? Well, as far as strong safeties in the draft went, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said he had plenty of value.

“He was a good player and he fit a need,” Caldwell said moments after the Jaguars used the first selection of the second round—the No. 33 overall selection of the 2013 NFL Draft—on the strong safety from Florida International.

The Jaguars worked Chris Prosinski at strong safety in their recent minicamp, but Bradley said this week at the team’s predraft media luncheon the team didn’t have a true strong safety on the roster. Bradley said that made it difficult to run his defense, in which a strong run defender who can play in the box is needed at strong safety.

“He brings that mentality,” Bradley said.

Bradley also said Cyprien takes strong angles to the ball and has good feet, which are critical because the Jaguars’ new defense often features a single safety.

“He really fits the style of defense we have,” Bradley said.


Luke Joeckel Pick Analysis - Posted 9:11pm EST on 4/25/13

The big mystery wasn't much of a mystery at all.

Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel became the third player in Jaguars history chosen No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft on Thursday, and by the time the selection came, there was little doubt.

Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher had gone No. 1 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs, and the popular consensus was that Joeckel would go to the Jaguars.

But the lack of mystery did nothing to negate this fact: The Jaguars took the player they wanted.

They took a very low risk player at a very key position, and in doing so, they addressed an area of need – an offensive line that struggled at times in recent seasons.

“We had him rated as our top guy on the board,” Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell stressed that while Joeckel was indeed a low-risk selection, the pick was more about Joeckel being a very good player. Caldwell and Bradley each said the Jaguars had Joeckel rated No. 1 on their board.

The selection also figures to immediately improve the Jaguars’ offensive line, which allowed the third-most sacks in the NFL last season. Caldwell said the Jaguars felt it necessary to improve that area immediately.

“We needed to correct that,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell and Bradley each also said Joeckel will be an immediate fit in the team’s new zone-blocking scheme on the offensive line. Joeckel has good feet, and is a good athlete for the position, with the zone-blocking scheme requiring agility and quickness.

 

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