JACKSONVILLE – Many early mock drafts have the Jaguars taking a defensive lineman or pass rusher with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, with most projecting either Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory or Southern California defensive end Leonard Williams in that position.
In mid-January, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah mocked Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. to the Jaguars.
"I think I had Randy Gregory already gone by the time the Jags picked there, but Fowler, to me, doesn't have the big stat numbers, but I think he is a big-time talent," Jeremiah said on Jaguars.com LIVE Wednesday afternoon.
"They (Florida) dropped him back in coverage a good bit, but I think if you give him a chance to rush the passer full-time, I think he's got a perfect skill set to be a double-digit sack guy. He's long, he's athletic, he's explosive."
Last week, Jeremiah released his annual Top 50 Prospects list for the first time, a list that can change as the pre-draft process, and players' performances, change.
Fowler ranked seventh on that list, but trailed only Williams (No. 1) and Gregory (No. 2) in terms of pass rushers available.
Another pass rusher Jeremiah is interested in following next week in Indianapolis is Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, a player he ranked No. 8 in the initial Top 50 Prospects listing, one spot below Fowler.
"I'm anxious to see how big he is, because they list him at 6-2, 245 – around there, and I've heard from scouts that have gone in there that he's going to measure in around 6-1. He's not very long, and he's not very heavy," Jeremiah said.
"That could be one to keep an eye on because on tape he's outstanding, but if he comes in a little bit smaller than everyone expected that could hurt his stock a little bit."
Jeremiah also addressed the quarterback position in the upcoming draft, and said it wasn't as deep as in years past.
"There's really two quarterbacks in this draft class that can come in and play, after that I know I don't have another quarterback in my Top 50," Jeremiah said.
In his initial mock draft, Jeremiah had the Buccaneers taking Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston first overall, with Nebraska outside linebacker Randy Gregory going with the second pick to the Titans, a scenario that could bring up trade possibilities for the Jaguars at three.
"If you're a team, say the Jets at six and you're not happy with Geno Smith, and we don't know that they are or they aren't, or you're a team like St. Louis and you're picking tenth, you don't know what's going to happen with Sam Bradford. They might be inclined to say, 'Look, there's only two quarterbacks, we've got to get one of them,' and that could drive up the price if they don't go one-two, and we will wait and see how all that plays out.
"If one of those quarterbacks were there when the Jags were on the clock, I would imagine they (the Jaguars) would have some options (to trade)."
Jeremiah also said that the position group this year that could make the most immediate impact during the 2015 season is at running back.
"It is loaded. There are eight, nine, ten guys I could see coming in and getting starting carries next year in the NFL," Jeremiah said.
"I think we've all talked about the devaluing of the running back position. I think this is the year that changes a little bit. I think we'll see a lot of these guys go in the first couple of rounds.
"I think we have two guys that are worthy of going in the first round in (Wisconsin running back) Melvin Gordon and (Georgia running back) Todd Gurley. Even though Gurley is injured, he's such a special talent and has a chance to be a first-round pick."
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During the regular season, Jeremiah said there were flashes from the then-rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, both good and bad. "He was in a tough spot because there were a lot of games where they were chasing points in kind of a must-throw situation."
Moving forward, Jeremiah said that Bortles' decision-making should be a priority. "The thing that is obvious is the turnovers. He's got to cut way down on those. You can't make good decisions four plays in a row and have a situation where you're rushing things or you're trying to get it all in one play. There would be four or five good plays in a row, and you're getting excited about Blake, and then you just see him have one of those plays that usually result in a turnover. They can help him with that by surrounding him with a little more talent, especially on the offensive line. They have to get better up front."
Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny visited the show later, and said that the situation surrounding the torn pectoral muscle during the Week 7 win over the Browns last season was the most challenging part of his professional career. "Having this happen in the middle of the season and then being put on IR and missing the rest of the season was the hardest thing I've had to deal with in my NFL career, definitely the biggest challenge, just because in my eighth year I want to play at a high level, I want to do everything to go out and help the team win. Then to not be able to go out and compete, that's the difficult part."
Posluszny also said he is back to normal training after rehabilitating the injury. "I'm all back to normal, I feel great and I feel completely healed up. I can train as normal and do everything normally, so I feel good."
Next week's Jaguars.com LIVE show will air from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana from the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.