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'15 Combine: Pass rusher still logical for Jags


JACKSONVILLE – Pass rusher, pass rusher, pass rusher.

Many, many people projecting the 2015 NFL Draft have the Jaguars selecting one early, and as the NFL Scouting Combine ended in Indianapolis Monday, Todd McShay didn't disagree.

McShay, one of ESPN's top draft analysts, covered a variety of topics during an hour-long conference call early Monday afternoon, including the Jaguars' options with the No. 3 overall selection in the April 30-May 2 draft.

Most mock drafters project the Jaguars to select a player on the defensive front, with many mock drafts projecting Florida defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. or Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory to Jacksonville at No. 3.

"It would be hard to (argue)," McShay said, adding that the exception would be if Southern California defensive end/tackle Leonard Williams slips out of the Top 2.

"If Williams were there, you'd have to obviously look at that," he said.

McShay said the strength of the top of the draft is pass rusher, and that while the Jaguars have a need at right tackle there really isn't a tackle in the draft who merits the No. 3 selection.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the No. 1 overall selection and were strongly linked with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston at the combine. The Tennessee Titans hold the No. 2 overall selection, and speculation has been the Jaguars could be able to trade the No. 3 selection if the Titans pass on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

"There might be some interest to move up," McShay said, adding that while Williams isn't a pure pass rusher he's good enough to merit the No. 3 selection.

"If for some reason Williams falls to them at three, I think you draft him and make it work," McShay said. "The tough part to me is there's just not an offensive tackle there who fits the bill.

"When you need a pass rusher as badly as they (the Jaguars) do, and you have an opportunity to get the past edge rusher in a good class, that would be tough to pass on unless you get a deal to move down."

Also on Monday:

*McShay said Georgia running back Todd Gurley has a chance to be selected in the final 10 selections of the first round despite missing the final three games of his final collegiate season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury. McShay said he had Gurley ranked the top back in the draft before the injury and called him an "absolute freight train as a runner," adding, "He lowers his shoulder. He's like (Seattle Seahawks running back) Marshawn Lynch. He just breaks through so many one-on-one tackles." McShay also said Gurley has elite top-end speed that separates him from other big backs and that he was "blown away" by Gurley's ability as a receiver. …

*McShay said while Alabama safety Landon Collins (6-feet-0, 228 pounds) has limitations in man coverage he is clearly the best of a weak safety class in this year's draft. "It's not a very good safety class," McShay said, adding that Collins is the only safety projected in the first two rounds. …

*McShay said he projects Marcus Peters of Washington and Trae Waynes of Michigan State as the top two cornerbacks, rating Peters No. 1 with his off-field issues a concern. Peters was dismissed from the team as a senior after multiple disputes with the coaching staff. …

*Of Waynes, McShay said, "I think there's a little bit more tightness there than you'd like to see at times to compare him to elite, elite cover corners, but he's absolutely fast enough and has the length to be a good starting cornerback in the league. … I'm guessing he's not going to get through the first round. There's a chance he ends up somewhere in the Top 25 picks." …

*McShay called Brandon Scherff of Iowa and Andrus Peat of Stanford the best two offensive linemen in the class and the only offensive linemen he would consider in the Top 10. He said Scherff probably fits better in the NFL at guard, and called Peat the only true left tackle worthy of the Top 10. …

*McShay said in his view Winston remains the likely No. 1 overall selection to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite off-field issues while in college. "There are so few concerns when you put on the tape and so few concerns from a football standpoint that I just don't think you pass," he said. …

*McShay said three receivers have a legitimate chance to be Top 10 selections: Amari Cooper of Alabama, Kevin White of West Virginia and DeVante Parker of Louisville. …

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