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NFL Scouting Combine: A good spot

Posted Mar 3, 2018

NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang: No. 29 overall could be a good spot for the Jaguars in the 2018 NFL Draft …

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Rob Rang likes the Jaguars’ draft situation this offseason.

The Jaguars currently hold the No. 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft – and if there’s a good year for the Jaguars to hold that selection, this may be it.

Offensive line. Wide receiver. Tight end.

All could be in play for the Jaguars late in the first round of next month’s draft, and all of the aforementioned positions could have quality players available at that spot.

“It’s a terrific year to be there for those positions,” Rang said Saturday. “I think they’re in excellent shape.”

Rang, a longtime analyst for NFLDraftscout.com, spoke with jaguars.com shortly before quarterback/receiver workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Saturday afternoon.

Rang said No. 29 could be a particularly good spot for big pass receivers – either wide receivers or tight end. He mentioned Southern Methodist wide receiver Courtland Sutton, Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews and Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki as possibilities there.

“They’re likely to available there, and while some would perceive them as a slight reach those are really talented football players that have a combination of size and athletic ability that you’re just not going to find later in the draft,” Rang said.

Rang said a front-line interior offensive lineman almost certainly will be available at No. 29, with possibilities including Will Hernandez of Texas-El Paso, Isaiah Wynn of Georgia and center/guard Billy Price of Ohio State. Price sustained a partially torn pectoral muscle at the combine.

“There are going to be several players who fit perceived areas of need late in the first round that would make a great deal of sense for the Jaguars,” Rang said.

Rang said not only could No. 29 overall be fertile ground for interior line and tight end, but quality players at the Jaguars’ perceived positions of need could be available when they are scheduled to select late in Rounds 2 and 3.

“Tight end is actually one of the deeper positions this year,” Rang said.

Rang mentioned Indiana tight end Ian Thomas as a possible pass-receiving tight end – “an H-back speed guy” – in the second or third round, and also mentioned South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst.

“In today’s era, there aren’t a lot of run-blocking tight ends, but there are a lot of guys who are essentially huge slot receivers,” Rang said. “That’s one of the funny things about this draft. I haven’t come across a consensus of who the top tight end is. I think you may see players ranked fifth end up going first and some players that are going to go a little bit later. There are four or five tight ends who I think can be NFL-caliber tight ends and real weapons. They’re just going to be in different positions because there are so many good tight ends already in the league.”

Also around the combine Saturday:

*Rang also praised the Jaguars’ ability plan a long-term draft strategy with an eye on the strengths and weaknesses of future drafts. “The really good teams that do this year in and year out anticipate not just this year, but, ‘Let’s look ahead to next year; what’s the best-looking sophomores and juniors that are going to be coming back in in 2019 or 2020?’’’ Rang said. “You have to have that 20-20 vision, basically, to be able to forecast that. If you anticipate that this is a very strong class of, say, interior offensive lineman or interior defensive lineman … strike while the iron’s hot, then address the other areas of concern a year later when it’s a stronger class.’’

*Tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers worked out Saturday, with several tight ends turning in impressive workouts. Among them: Hurst, whose on-field workout NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah called the best of the group by a wide margin. Gesicki also was impressive, turning in a 4.55-second 40-yard dash and registering 22 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press. Gesicki’s 40 was the fastest at the position Saturday. …

*After two days of hearing from the offensive players in the ’18 draft class, defensive ends and linebackers moved to the podium on Saturday. One of the best early quotes came from North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb: “My confidence level would say I’m the best player [in the draft]. I feel like I put it on tape.’’ Chubb indeed is ranked by many to be the best pass rusher and best defensive player in the draft. …

*One the best moments of this or any other combine came Saturday when Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin did 20 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was four, having been born with a condition that prevented the fingers on that hand from fully developing. Griffin, generally projected as a late-round selection or free agent possibility, said he had been doing about 11 repetitions in the drill before the combine. “I was hyped,” he said. …



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