JACKSONVILLE – What we know for certain about the Jaguars plans in the 2017 NFL Draft is this:
Actually, with the draft now looming just a touch more than 24 hours away it's more appropriate to say this: when it comes to the Jaguars at No. 4 overall, we pretty much know what we *think *we know. That means we know what we read, what we hear and what "analysts" tell us.
So yeah …
We. Know. Nothing.
We have mocked, talked, analyzed, waited, projected, guessed and done all of the things we who speculate and ponder about the draft must do. That has taken up much of the last four months, and it could consume proportionately more of our time as Thursday's first round approaches.
We have talked Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette and his "miss-ability" …
We have talked Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, his leadership and his "win-ability" …
We have talked North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky and his experience – or rather, his lack thereof …
We have talked Myles Garrett wile knowing the Jaguars won't have a chance to select the defensive end from Texas A&M, and we have talked Solomon Thomas wondering if the defensive lineman from Stanford just might fall to the Jaguars.
We have talked Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen – and that except for potential trouble with his shoulders he seems like a can't-miss prospect.
We, too, have talked safety Malik Hooker of Ohio State and the fact that he's a lot like Ed Reed – and wouldn't you take Ed Reed if you knew he would be Ed Reed? We have talked safety Jamal Adams of Louisiana State and the fact that there's much about him that feels can't-miss, too.
Yes, we have talked, talked and talked about No. 4 – and we have talked about the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the Jaguars won't really select at No. 4.
As we have done the last four years, we have talked in the weeks leading to the draft about whether the Jaguars might trade down out of their top-five spot and gather more selections. As has been the case the last four seasons, the thought here is the Jaguars would like to trade down. The thought here, too, is that there indeed is a better chance of a trade down this year than in previous years.
But the thought remains that the chance is slim. Trading is tough. A team must want to come up as much as a team wants to go back.
Best not to believe a trade will happen until it actually happens.
So, assuming the Jaguars select at No. 4, where will they go with that selection? What do the tea leaves say?
Ah, wouldn't we like to know?
We don't know for a lot of reasons, most obviously that the Jaguars don't want us to know – and perhaps importantly that the Jaguars are good at ensuring we don't know.
Remember? When the Jaguars selected quarterback Blake Bortles No. 3 overall in 2014?
The Jaguars higher-ups that spring attended the Pro Days of a slew of first-round quarterbacks. They were in Orlando for Bortles, in Louisville for Teddy Bridgewater, in College Station for Johnny Manziel. They also attended defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's Pro Day in Columbia, South Carolina.
In the weeks leading to the draft, Jaguars-related rumors flew. Trade-back rumors. Khalil Mack rumors. Sammy Watkins rumors. As the draft approached, there were Manziel rumors.
Few projected Bortles to the Jaguars.
A year later, Jaguars pre-draft rumors and mocks focused on Leonard Williams. There was a smattering of Dante Fowler Jr.-to-the-Jaguars rumors, but just a smattering.
While it's fair to debate the Jaguars' eventual direction in those drafts, what's not debatable is that pre-draft buzz, rumors and speculation gives us little insight into the team's true intentions. That's to be expected. All's fair before the draft: misdirection, rumors …
Heck, even a fib or two.
So, what will the Jaguars do at No. 4? Which way will they go?
We'll have a more blow-by-blow analysis on jaguars.com Thursday morning, but the guess here is it's not quarterback – though if it is quarterback, the guess here is Trubisky. That's because he's more of a prototypical, win-from-the-pocket guy than Watson, but mostly because you're hearing more late buzz about Watson – and if you're hearing late buzz about a player that probably means the buzz isn't buzzworthy.
The guess, too, is it won't be safety despite the appeal of Hooker and Adams.
No, the guess here is that after all of the speculation, guessing and misdirecting the Jaguars' direction eventually will lead to Fournette. With a little more than 24 hours remaining before this thing gets going for real, the idea of a power back who can help Bortles and make an immediate impact just feels right.
Then again, when it comes to the Jaguars and this draft, the only thing we really know is nothing.
So, who really knows?