JACKSONVILLE – This time around, nothing is off the table.
That was the first and maybe biggest takeaway from the Jaguars’ 2014 pre-draft luncheon Friday afternoon at EverBank Field, an event that featured General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley speaking casually to local media about next week’s 2014 NFL Draft.
The takeaway? That unlike last year, pretty much any trade scenario is in play.
Caldwell, in his second offseason as the team’s primary draft-day decision-maker, said whereas trading up was extremely unlikely in last year’s draft – and in fact, did not happen in any round – this year that’s not the case.
“We have 11 picks,” Caldwell said. “We have a lot more flexibility than we did last year. If a player gets close and we really want him, we’ll go after him.”
The Jaguars, who finished 4-12 last season, have 11 selections in the May 8-10 NFL Draft, including the No. 3 selection in the first round.
He said that gives the team significant flexibility over the three-day event, opening up the possibility of moving up or back from the No. 3 overall selection as well as any of the 10 selections thereafter.
Jaguars GM David Caldwell said team believes it can get value if it trades down and could go as far as 10, 11, 12 "if compensation is right"— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) May 2, 2014
Caldwell said the Jaguars have been prepared to draft for the last week, having kept to the same preparation schedule as years past. The NFL moved the draft back two weeks this year, with it previously having been held in late April.
He also said the Jaguars have a clear idea who they will select if they stay at No. 3, and also that they have enough players targeted as impact players to feel confident dropping multiple spots in or even outside the Top 10.
Caldwell offered no specific possibilities at No. 3. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack and Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson are considered by some the draft’s top players, but Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said there are several others a team would feel positive about taking in the Top 10.
“We have a lot of players in play that give us a lot of leverage if we want to trade back,” Caldwell said. “We have a lot of options. We can trade back at a pretty good distance and still get a player who can really help us.”
Caldwell also provided insight into what it would take for the Jaguars to move back from the third spot, saying that the team would be open to trading as far back as No. 11, 12 or 13 overall if “the compensation was right.”
To move out of the Top 10 likely would require a team giving the Jaguars a first-round selection. Caldwell also said he believes the team’s chances of finding a trading partner at No. 3 will be better if the Houston Texans do not trade out of the No. 1 spot.
Caldwell said the team has had 27 players to Jacksonville for pre-draft visits, three fewer than the maximum allowed, and said about 36 have been taken off the draft board for character or injury reasons.
Caldwell said the team would ideally like to get four-to-five eventual starters from this draft, and reiterated his view he generally expects players drafted in Rounds 1 through 3 to be starters.