Kenechi Udeze might be the Jaguars' guy, provided another team doesn't beat the Jaguars to him.
Udeze's overall ability and every-downs potential put him at the top of jaguars.com draft analyst Tony Pauline's defensive line rankings. "Probably the most complete defensive end in this draft," Pauline said of Udeze, 6-3, 272.
"Great physical specimen and he's a good kid; very personable," Pauline said of Udeze, the USC junior.
Udeze played at 280 last season when he tied for the NCAA lead in sacks with 16.5. He's an impact defender, a big-time pass-rusher who wreaks havoc in opponents' backfields but also holds the point of attack against the run.
Pauline believes Udeze would be a perfect fit for the Jaguars with the ninth overall pick, but the Cleveland Browns are said to also be interested in Udeze and could take him off the board one pick ahead of the Jags.
"Tremendous athlete with great explosion, good playing speed and a good combination of speed and strength. He can also be dropped off into space. He can play both the right and left sides but, because of his pass-rush ability, he may go to the right side," Pauline said.
Udeze ran a 4.75 40 in his pro day and he holds the USC records for the "clean" at 353 pounds and for the "squat" at 640 pounds.
"He'll be productive as a rookie. I don't think he'll have as many sacks as (Terrell) Suggs did last season, but he's a better run-defender and more of a complete player," Pauline added.
Oklahoma's Tommie Harris, 6-2, 295, is right behind Udeze. Harris is a 4-3 tackle who some believe can make the move to left end. "Very intense, makes a lot of plays. He has to learn to play with leverage. He doesn't have growth upside," Pauline said of Harris, who is making a move up draft boards and could go as high as fifth to Washington.
Will Smith is a name that excites Pauline, who refers to the 6-2, 275-pound Ohio State defensive end as the "most underrated defensive player in the draft." Smith is an explosive athlete who had a monster pro-day workout. "Great pursuit speed and much better against the run than people give him credit for being. I think he would be great for the Jaguars. In Del Rio's scheme, I think this guy would be great. He can do it all," Pauline said.
Miami defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, 6-1, 320, offers size and ability, but his stock is said to have fallen possibly to the middle of round one. "His play kind of leveled off. He's taken a rap for playing not to get hurt. His intensity on an every-downs basis is being questioned," Pauline said.
Florida State defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, 6-3, 297, is a smallish guy with off-the-field concerns. Dockett was nearly thrown out of the FSU program a year ago and was suspended for a game. To his credit, he seems to have gotten his act together. He turned in a productive senior season and a very good postseason. He plays with leverage and intensity and offers pass-rush ability inside. He's a late round-one prospect who'll probably need to play next to a wide-body to be effective.
Randy Starks, 6-3, 313, of Maryland, is a wide-body tackle some have compared to former Terps star Kris Jenkins. Starks is a run-stuffer who commands double-teams, but he's only adequate as a pass-rusher. He's a junior with good growth potential.
Hawaii's Isaac Sopoaga, 6-2, 317, is a powerful defensive tackle that would also fit nicely as a nose tackle in a 3-4. Sopoaga is an excellent run-stuffer and bull-rusher who will improve dramatically with better technique. He carries an early second-round grade.
Defensive tackle Terry Johnson, 6-2, 304, of Washington, is an outstanding athlete with some serious upside potential. He was a Prop 48 guy who turned in three solid seasons, but the best may be ahead. Johnson ran a 4.76 at the scouting combine and had a great overall workout. He plays fast but will need to physically mature to maximize his ability. He offers real pass-rush potential inside.
Oregon State's Dwan Edwards, 6-2, 313, is a second-round prospect for a team seeking a powerful run-stuffing tackle. Edwards is a space-eater who drives opponents off the ball and collapses the pocket, but he's not a sack artist.
The best of the pass-rush specialists may be Hawaii's Travis LaBoy, 6-3, 265. LaBoy is an edge-rusher who can drop into coverage in a zone-blitz scheme. He runs in the 4.6 range and plays that fast.
Other defensive tackles Pauline considers to be first-day prospects include Marcus Tubbs of Texas, Matthias Askew of Michigan State, Donnell Washington of Clemson, Igor Olshansky of Oregon and DeMarco McNeil of Auburn. Ohio State's Darrion Scott heads the remaining list of first-day ends. Scott and LSU's Marquise Hill are every-downs players, but what remains of the defensive end crop would seem to be undersized pass-rush specialists: Jason Babin of Western Michigan, Bobby McCray of Florida, Shaun Phillips of Purdue and Antoine Odom of Alabama.
Pauline will provide jaguars.com with updates up to the draft. His draft guide may be purchased by visiting his web site at tfydraft.com.