JACKSONVILLE – We're still a ways out.
The 2018 NFL Draft is still a little more than a month away, which makes figuring the Jaguars' No. 29 overall selection nearly impossible – and it makes most of the other 31 first-round selections equally tricky.
Will the Jaguars go offensive line? Or tight end?
Will they parlay selections and move up for a quarterback?
The last theory gained traction among observers after 2018 free agency's first wave last week, primarily because the Jaguars filled enough apparent immediate needs to make such a tact make sense.
The projection in this jaguars.com mock draft version 1.0 is that won't be the case and that the Jaguars probably will use the No. 29 selection to take the best player there. That's the positive of filling needs in free agency – that it gives you freedom throughout the draft to select without overwhelming regard to need.
That projection could change in the coming weeks, as pre-draft projections often do.
For now, the thought here is that the Jaguars will continue in the draft a trend they began in a big way in free agency last week – that is, the upgrading of the offensive line. The Jaguars want to run, and this regime believes a team must be strong on the offensive end and defensive lines.
The team took a major step toward upgrading the line last week, signing former Carolina Panthers All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell as an unrestricted free agent.
According to this mock draft, the Jaguars could have good options at No. 29. Offensive tackle Connor Williams is available in this projection, as is Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown and a slew of tight ends including Mike Gesicki of Penn State, Hayden Hurst of South Carolina and Mark Andrews of Oklahoma.
The Jaguars' selection at No.29 in this draft? Will Hernandez of Texas-El Paso.
Hernandez, a physical guard, could make immediate impact and give the Jaguars one of the most dominant interior offensive lines in the NFL.
Will that happen? That's anyone's guess. We're still a ways out.
Here's a look at senior writer John Oehser's first 2018 jaguars.com mock draft:
1.Cleveland | Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
2.NY Giants | Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
3.NY Jets | Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
4.Cleveland | Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
5.Denver | Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
6.Indianapolis | Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
7.Tampa Bay | Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
8.Chicago | Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech
9.San Francisco | Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
10.Oakland | Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
11.Miami | Derwin James, SS, Florida State
12.Buffalo | Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
13.Washington | Vita Vea, DT, Washington
14.Green Bay | Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
15.Arizona | Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
16.Baltimore | Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio
17.LA Chargers | Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
18.Seattle | Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
19.Dallas | D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
20.Detroit | Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
21.Cincinatti | Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
22.Buffalo | Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
23.LA Rams | Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
24.Carolina | Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
25.Tennessee | Arden Key, DE, Louisiana State
26.Atlanta | Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia
27.New Orleans | Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
28.Pittsburgh | Derrius Guice, RB, Louisiana State
29.Jacksonville | Will Hernandez, OG, Texas-El Paso
30.Minnesota | Connor Williams, OT, Texas
31.New England | Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College
32.Philadelphia | Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado