JACKSONVILLE – The praise continued Sunday.
The Jaguars, after drawing positive reviews from many national analysts during the 2015 NFL Draft, received the same Sunday afternoon from two prominent analysts. ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, speaking on a post-draft conference call Sunday afternoon, each spoke highly of the Jaguars' draft, with McShay saying, "I loved their draft."
"I thought they had one of the better drafts of all these teams," McShay said. "We'll see three or four years down the road if it all comes together."
Kiper said he gave the Jaguars a "B ."
"I really liked what Jacksonville did," Kiper said.
McShay said he didn't believe the Jaguars could go wrong at No. 3 overall Thursday, when they essentially had a choice between Florida edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr., Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Southern California defensive end/tackle Leonard Williams. McShay said the players essentially graded the same.
The Jaguars selected Fowler.
"I thought Fowler fit perfectly in terms of the Leo (pass-rusher) position, and how they're going to use him, the versatility he has …" McShay said. "He's someone who can set the edge. He'll work his tail off versus the run. He's explosive at the point of attack. He can rush the quarterback and he can drop into coverage. The versatility is perfect."
The Jaguars selected Fowler in Round 1, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon in Round 2, South Carolina guard A.J. Cann in Round 3, Louisville safety James Sample in Round 4, Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene in Round 5, Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett in Round 6, Monmouth wide receiver Neal Sterling in Round 7 and Notre Dame tight end Ben Koyack in Round 7.
"They helped out their quarterback by getting Yeldon, Rashad Greene, Sterling and Koyack, and they helped their defense stop (Colts quarterback) Andrew Luck by getting Fowler, Sample and then Bennett, who was a steal in the sixth round," Kiper said. "All the way around, there was some method to what they were doing."
McShay said while some may have thought Yeldon went a little high, "I thought he was a second-rounder and I really thought he was one of the more underrated players in this draft."
"For them, when you look at it, you have Toby Gerhart and you have Denard Robinson (at running back) …" McShay said. "He (Yeldon) could potentially become an upgrade at the running back position for them. A.J. Cann becomes an upgrade at guard, James Sample is a tone-setter with pretty good range who could wind up starting opposite Johnathan Cyprien … and then, Rashad Greene: a reliable slot receiver.
"Really, from top to bottom, I thought Jacksonville did an outstanding job."
Mayock said Bennett being available in the sixth round was one of the bigger surprises in the draft.
"I was shocked," Mayock said. "I had a late second-round grade on Bennett. I thought he was one of the better interior pass rushers in this year's class. He's a high-character guy and does everything the right way."
*Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com gave the Jaguars' draft an "A," commenting "General Manager Dave Caldwell did a nice job for the second consecutive year. His draft board is loaded with talent. This team is moving in the right direction and this draft will go a long way in helping that happen."
*Evan Silva of Rotoworld gave the Jaguars' draft an "A ," commenting "Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell crushed this draft, securing as many as four impact Opening Day starters (Fowler, Yeldon, Cann, Sample) before tabbing sure-handed slot receiver Greene in Round 5."
*Chris Burke and Doug Farrar of SI.com gave the Jaguars' draft an "A," commenting "The Jaguars are coming. Maybe not in 2015, maybe not in 2016, but soon. This draft without question kept this franchise's positive momentum, from a talent standpoint, rolling in the right direction." …
*Bryan Fischer of NFL.com gave the Jaguars' draft an "A ," commenting "The young offensive core in Jacksonville got even better in this draft with a mix of good value picks and quality players on and off the field." …
*Dan Kadar of SBNation gave the Jaguars' draft an "A ," commenting "The Jaguars added a lot of starting talent in the draft. No team in the league had a better draft than Jacksonville."
*Rob Rang of CBSSports.com and NFLDraftScout.com gave the Jaguars' draft an A ," commenting "It is, of course, easier to draft difference-makers when annually selecting early, but on paper at least, the Jaguars appear to be one of the real winners of the 2015 draft."