JACKSONVILLE – We have clarity – at long last.
And boy, oh, boy … wouldn't it be nice if that statement were really true when it comes to the 2016 NFL Draft?
It sure would make this final jaguars.com 2016 mock draft a lot simpler.
It's not simple, of course, and beyond the first two selections there is little clarity to this year's draft. Indeed, after the Los Angeles Rams at No. 1 and Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 select quarterbacks Thursday, few analysts have a real feel for how this thing will play out.
What will the San Diego Chargers do at No. 3 overall?
The Dallas Cowboys at No. 4?
Those selections will dictate what the Jaguars do at No. 5, of course – who they might select if they stay at the position and their chances of trading back if they so desire.
With the draft essentially beginning at No. 3, there seems no end to the possible scenarios. The Chargers are being linked with not only Mississippi left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but Florida State cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey and Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.
The Cowboys? They've been linked to Ramsey, Ohio State edge player Joey Bosa and Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Where does that leave the Jaguars?
That's anyone's guess, too, with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell saying last week he absolutely loves at least three players enough to stay at No. 5 as opposed to trying to trade up. He also said he likes enough players that trading back would be OK, too.
What he didn't say was how the team felt about UCLA linebacker Myles Jack's knee, which may or may not be a huge factor in the team's draft-day decision. Caldwell also didn't say if – as is widely assumed – the team indeed loved Jack, Bosa and Ramsey, but he did say he loves more than three.
So, Bosa, Ramsey, Tunsil, Jack, Buckner …
All could be in play for the Jaguars – and for that matter, a lot more are probably in play, too.
And the whole idea of a trade back … well, it feels a bit more real for the Jaguars this year. Maybe a few spots, maybe more.
Confused? You're not alone, but here's one man's effort to sort this thing out in the form of the fifth – and final – version of the jaguars.com 2016 mock draft. We include comments with the first 10 selections because a lot of those players are the ones being discussed around the Jaguars' selection – and this is, after all, a Jaguars site:
1.Los Angeles | Jared Goff, QB, California
- Comment: You don't give up what the Rams gave up to get here unless you're giving it up for a quarterback. All reports indicate that this is Goff, so this shouldn't take long come Thursday night.
2.Philadelphia | Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
- Comment: Copy and paste the Rams comment. You don't give up what the Eagles gave up to get here unless you're giving it up for a quarterback, either.
3.San Diego | Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
- Comment: This is in no way a lock, but the consensus appears to be that it's between Tunsil or Ramsey here. The nod in this mock goes to Tunsil, considered by many the best player in the draft.
4.Dallas | Jalen Ramsey, FS/CB, Florida State
- Comment: Don't rule out Elliott from Ohio State here – and if Ramsey goes No. 3 to the Chargers, then Elliott indeed appears the likely choice. One way or the other, there doesn't appear much of a chance that Ramsey gets past Dallas.
5.Jacksonville | Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
- Comment: This pick could depend on how the Jaguars feel about Jack's knee. Or it could depend on whether or not Caldwell gets a good trade offer. Or maybe they like Bosa. This projection assumes the Jaguars aren't worried about Jack's knee. If the selection isn't Jack, go with Bosa here because he appears to give you slightly more rush off the edge than Buckner.
6.Baltimore | Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
- Comment: This feels low for Bosa, and it would hardly be the shock of the draft if he goes in the Top 5. If he goes to Dallas that could leave Ramsey as a possibility for the Jaguars. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame also is starting to feel like a possibility here.
7.San Francisco | DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
- Comment: This feels as low for Buckner as No. 6 did for Bosa. Many analysts believe Buckner is the best defensive player in the draft, so don't be shocked if he's gone here. And don't be completely shocked if he's gone at No. 3 to the Chargers or No. 5 to the Jaguars.
8.Cleveland | Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
- Comment: Stanley is gaining momentum among analysts, and there are reportedly general managers who believe he could go before Tunsil. That feels unlikely, through stranger draft-day things have happened. Don't rule out Paxton Lynch of Memphis for Cleveland here.
9.Tampa Bay | Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
- Comment: Hargreaves' size could keep him out of the Top 10, and there is speculation he could fall lower than this.
10.New York Giants | Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
- Comment: This is high for a running back. Then again, the Cowboys reportedly are strongly considering him at No. 4, which has become startlingly high for a running back. He has elite ability and running backs should contribute at a high level quickly.
11.Chicago | Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
12.New Orleans | Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
13.Miami | Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
14.Oakland | Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
15.Tennessee | Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
16.Detroit | A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
17.Atlanta | Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
18.Indianapolis | Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
19.Buffalo | Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi
20.New York Jets | Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
21.Washington | Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
22.Houston | Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
23.Minnesota | Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
24.Cincinnati | Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
25.Pittsburgh | Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
26.Seattle | Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
27.Green Bay | Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
28.Kansas City | William Jackson III, CB, Houston
29.Arizona | Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
30.Carolina | Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
31.Denver | Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky