JACKSONVILLE – The strength of the 2019 NFL Draft is clear.
“It’s all about big guys,” NFL Network Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Monday.
That’s the consensus among most draft analysts, and it’s one Jeremiah confirmed again on a Monday conference call discussing this week’s 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
While quarterbacks as usual will be the major combine storyline – and while the Jaguars figure to be a major part of that storyline – the draft overall is considered strongest not only at defensive line but also on the offensive front.
The consensus among draft analysts is that this year’s defensive line class is one of the strongest in recent memory, with edge rusher Nick Bosa of Ohio State a strong possibility to be selected No. 1 overall and with outside and interior defensive linemen not only available in the Top 10 but throughout the early rounds.
“It’s outstanding and it carries deep into the draft,” Jeremiah said of the defensive line class.
Jeremiah said while offensive line isn’t necessarily a group with Top 10 talent, “It’s a really, really good group.”
The combine officially begins Tuesday and runs through Monday. Special teams players, offensive linemen and running backs meet with the media Thursday with on-field drills Friday – with the other position groups following the following schedules: tight ends/quarterbacks/wide receivers (media Friday, on-field drills Saturday), defensive linemen/linebackers (media Saturday, on-field drills Sunday) and defensive backs (media Sunday, on-field drills Monday).
Jaguars.com combine coverage will begin Wednesday, with Head Coach Doug Marrone scheduled to speak to the media at 10:15 a.m. ET Wednesday (Twitter) and General Manager David Caldwell scheduled to speak to the media at 11:45 a.m. ET Wednesday (Twitter). Marrone is scheduled to join Ashlyn Sullivan and John Oehser Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. ET (Facebook) with Caldwell scheduled to join Sullivan and Oehser at 12:15 p.m. ET Wednesday (Facebook).
Jaguars.com will be joined by national guests and will cover the combine throughout the week. Here’s a position-by-position look at Jaguars and the 2019 NFL Draft class as the combine approaches:
This is considered a good quarterback draft, though not a great one. Still, this will be the combine’s most-watched position with Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, Drew Lock of Missouri and Daniel Jones of Duke generally considered first-round locks and Ryan Finley of North Carolina State a first-round possibility. The biggest story of the ‘19 Combine? Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner who changed the dynamic of the draft when he announced his intention to enter the draft and focus on football rather than baseball. Whether he will be a Top 10 selection – or even the first quarterback selected over Haskins – likely will be the week’s top storyline. Haskins is expected to throw at the combine, while Murray has yet to announce whether he will do so.
Possible first-round selections: Haskins; Murray; Lock; Jones; Duke; Finley.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: The Jaguars will be at the center of combine quarterback talk, with observers continuing to speculate about their interest in pending free agent Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles. How the Jaguars figure into the quarterback position in the draft could depend upon free agency. If they sign a player such as Foles with the idea that player will be the starter for the foreseeable future, it’s reasonable to think the team could focus elsewhere with the No. 7 overall selection. If they don’t sign such a player, then quarterback at No. 7 seems likely.
This running back class doesn’t have a likely Top 10 selection along the lines of Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette or Ezekiel Elliot. Josh Jacobs of Alabama appears the only consensus first-round running back. Still, it’s considered a solid draft at the position with double digit running backs potentially going in the first two days.
Possible first-round selections: Jacobs; Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic; Damien Harris, Alabama; David Montgomery, Iowa State; Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: A running back in the early rounds appears unlikely. Still, the team figures to seek depth behind Fournette in Day 3’s fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.
Like running back, this receiver class may not have a Top 10 player. But like running back, there are quality players – and a lot of big, physical receivers – who project as second- and third-round selections.
Possible first-round selections: Marquise Brown, Oklahoma; D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi; A.J. Brown, Mississippi; N’Keal Harry, Arizona State; Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State; Hakeem Butler, Iowa State; Riley Ridley, Georgia.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: With no wide receivers projected as Top 10 selections, it’s unlikely the Jaguars will go this route in the first round. This could be a position to watch on Day 2.
This is considered a very good tight end class, with T.J. Hockenson of Iowa considered a rare prospect with big-time run-blocking and receiving skills. He could go in the top half of the first round. Jeremiah on Monday called it “one of the better tight end groups we’ve had in a while.”
Possible first-round selections: Noah Fant, Iowa; Irv Smith Jr., Alabama; Hockenson.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: The Jaguars figure to seriously look at this position either in free agency or the draft – or perhaps both. The team declined its option for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ contract in 2019. The Jaguars haven’t had a front-line receiving option at this position for a long time, so focus here this offseason should be heavy. Selecting this position at No. 7 wouldn’t be ridiculous.
This is considered a strong draft for offensive linemen with at least four – guard/tackle Jonah Williams of Alabama, tackle Jawaan Taylor of Florida, tackle Cody Ford of Oklahoma, tackle Andre Dillard of Washington State – considered first-round locks.
Possible first-round selections: Taylor; Dillard; Williams; Ford; Greg Little, tackle, Mississippi; Tytus Howard, tackle, Alabama State; David Edwards, tackle, Wisconsin; Elgton Jenkins, center, Mississippi State; Garrett Bradbury, center, North Carolina State; Dalton Risner, tackle, Kansas State.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: It wouldn’t be a shock if the Jaguars went this direction in Round 1, and it would be really surprising if they didn’t go offensive line somewhere in the first three rounds. Tackle, guard or center all could be possibilities, with starting center Brandon Linder having potential to play guard in the unlikely event the team drafted a center.
If edge rusher isn’t the draft’s strongest position, then it’s probably defensive tackle. Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is considered one of the position’s best prospects in recent memory, and three interior defensive linemen could be selected in the Top 15.
Possible first-round selections: Williams; Ed Oliver, Houston; Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State; Dexter Lawrence, Clemson; Dre'Mont Jones; Christian Wilkins, Clemson; Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame; Gerald Willis III, Miami (Fla.).
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: If the Jaguars acquire a quarterback in free agency and look away from that spot in the first round, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if they select defensive tackle at No. 7. The talent level available in the draft could sway them in that direction.
Edge rushers are always coveted, and this is the strongest year for the position in recent memory. Nick Bosa of Ohio State and linebacker Josh Allen of Kentucky could go No. 1 and No. 2 overall, and Rashan Gary of Michigan is a collegiate tackle with what many analysts believe is enough skill to play end/edge. Six or seven edge players could go in Round 1.
Possible first-round selections: Bosa; Clelin Ferrell, Clemson; Jachai Polite, Florida; Zach Allen, Boston College; Brian Burns, Florida State; Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: Like defensive tackle, this could be a spot the Jaguars address in Round 1 depending on what they do in free agency. With Dante Fowler Jr. having been traded to the Los Angeles Rams at midseason, the team could seek edge-rusher help early in the draft.
This is a strong position – but only if you consider edge players such as Allen and Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat linebackers. Devin Bush of Michigan and Devin White of Louisiana State are also first-round possibilities, with White considered the top pure linebacker available. Jeremiah called the group perhaps the thinnest of the draft.
Possible first-round selections: White, inside, Louisiana State; Mack Wilson, inside, Alabama; Allen, outside/edge, Kentucky; Montez Sweat, outside/edge, Mississippi State; Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion; Devin Bush, inside, Michigan.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: It seems unlikely the Jaguars would go this route early in the draft. It seems equally unlikely they won’t address it at some point in the offseason.
It’s considered a solid year for cornerbacks, if not an elite one. Many analysts project three-to-four in the first round, including Greedy Williams of Louisiana State and Byron Murphy of Washington.
*Possible first-round selections: *Williams; Murphy; Deandre Baker, Georgia; Amani Oruwariye, Penn State; Julian Love, Notre Dame; Kris Boyd, Texas; Trayvon Mullen, Clemson.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: This wouldn’t seem a position of immediate need for the Jaguars in the draft.
As often is the case, no safety appears a lock for the first round.
Possible first-round selections: Johnathan Abram, strong, Mississippi State; Juan Thornhill, strong, Virginia; Deionte Thompson, free, Alabama; Taylor Rapp, free, Washington.
Jaguars combine/draft outlook: This could be a position the Jaguars address somewhere in the mid-to-late rounds, with much depending on whether free safety Tashaun Gipson returns.