First, about the title: We did this feature last year as Magnificent Seven, which didn’t fit the writer’s lazy persona. It was too much work, and frankly, sometimes it was just too long. We’ll switch to Fabulous Four for now, with the goal to be down to Terrific Two and Wonderful One in no time . . .
4. Six days out. OK, mini-camp is over, and the reader mock draft is over, which means we can spend the next six days focused on what everyone else is already talking about – and that, of course, is the real NFL Draft. We’ll hit the draft hard on jaguars.com next week, and Thursday sometime around 9 p.m., we’ll know something at last. What will we know? That’s the question. The Jaguars obviously want to trade down out of the No. 7 slot. They have talked relatively openly about it, and it continues to make the most sense. This is a deep draft at wide receiver and there appear likely to be pass-rushing defensive ends available outside the Top 10 who make trading down attractive. There is a multitude of possibilities that we’ll discuss throughout next week, but heading into the weekend I’ll stick with the theory that the Jaguars will have a tough time passing on Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon or LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne if either is available at No. 7. If they’re gone and the Jaguars can trade, they likely do it. If the Jaguars are on the clock at No. 7 and there’s no trading partner with Blackmon and Claiborne gone, I’d guess defensive tackle Fletcher Cox of Mississippi State is a possibility and I wouldn’t rule out cornerback Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina. As for other players routinely mocked to the Jaguars – i.e., defensive end Melvin Ingram, defensive end Quinton Coples, wide receiver Michael Floyd – never say never, but I’d guess the fits are wrong for various already-discussed reasons.
3. What about the second round? We spend so much time on Round One it’s easy to forget there’s a draft beyond the first 32 players. While the Jaguars are a best-available-player team when it comes to draft philosophy, the guess here is by the end of the second day – i.e., Rounds 1-3 – the team will have selected a wide receiver and a defensive end. I wouldn’t go so far as to guarantee a wide receiver-defensive end/defensive end-wide receiver combination in Rounds 1-2. As general managers are fond of reminding the world on draft day, the draft does not end after the first round or even the second. There’s a big-picture strategy, and this draft is expected to be deep enough to get contributing players into the third and fourth rounds, minimum. One scenario that’s intriguing regarding the second round involves a first-round trade down. If the Jaguars are able to engineer a trade back that involves another team’s second-round selection, could that selection be packaged with the other second-round selection to trade for another first-round selection? That’s a scenario in which the Jaguars would have two first-round selections, something the team has had twice in its history – 1995, when it selected Tony Boselli and James Stewart; and 1998, when it selected Fred Taylor and Donovin Darius.
2. Interchangeable roles. The Jaguars held their first mini-camp under new Head Coach Mike Mularkey this week, and because it was instructional in nature more than it was about competition, it was difficult to glean much in terms of how the roster will play out next season. One area of focus was and will continue to be wide receiver, where this week for the first time the group worked with new coach Jerry Sullivan. The group also began getting its first look at the new offense. Through most of the week, newly signed
1. And finally, a word on the quarterback. We close as we often do, with a word on quarterback