The Jacksonville Jaguars have the 7th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. They are coming off a 5-11 season, which is much the norm compared to the 10-6 team of 2017 that nearly took down New England in the AFC Championship Game. In fact, the Jaguars are just 27-85 in all seasons but 2017 since 2011. Last season the Jaguars were last in scoring at 15.3 points per game, but 4th defensively, allowing only 19.8 per game. The biggest needs lie mainly on offense, including offensive tackle, wide receiver, tight end, running back and interior defensive line. Here's the top prospects for the Jaguars to consider in the draft.
Jawaan Taylor - OT (Florida)
Taylor had weight issues coming out of high school, but lost significant weight and contributed enough freshman year to earn Freshman All-SEC honors. Plying mainly right tackle during his sophomore season, Taylor also showed versatility, starting two games at left tackle. Somewhat underachieving in his senior year considering high accolades by NFL scouts, Taylor played 12 games at right tackle.
Taylor displays good size and foot speed to enable him to move out on speed pass rushers. He may be prone to the inside pass rush, however and also needs to bet better at run blocking. Considering his weight issues in the past, Taylor must be disciplined keep that under control. Taylor could end up being a NFL guard and chances at that he's a starting sometime during his first NFL season.
Ed Oliver - DT (Houston)
As a freshman, Oliver provided an immediate impact, recording five sackes, 66 tackles and 23 tackles for a loss of yardage. His efforts earned him all-conference honors. The following season, Oliver had 73 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three passes defensed and was All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Despite being hampered with a knee injury during his junior year, Olive had a team best 14.5 tackles for a loss and 54 tackles overall.
Oliver displays extreme intensity and has enormous athletic ability. The problem is that he is undersized and needs to improve his overall strength. Oliver will likely be able to use his quickness to beat NFL linemen off the ball, but until he gains mass will need to make plays quickly. Oliver's athleticism alone will earn him a relatively high draft position, but in the long run may be better suited to move to linebacker.
T.J. Hockenson - TE (Iowa)
Hockenson played as a true freshman in 2017, catching 24 passes for a 13.3 average per reception and three touchdowns. Last year, Hockenson was the best tight end in the nation as a sophomore, catching 49 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns. He accomplished this while playing in Iowa's two tight end set, sharing time with Noah Fant.
Hockenson already has good size at 6' 5" and 250 pounds and uses his size and strength as a good blocker. He has good athletic ability that enables him to get past linebackers on deeper pass routes. Only playing two seasons at Iowa, Hockenson is a player clearly on the rise with enough skills to start now in the NFL. He should just continue to improve and could develop into one of the top tight end in the league in due time.
Terry McLaurin - WR (Ohio State)
McLaurin started slowly, not catching a pass as a redshirt in 2015 and 11 passes in 13 games in 2016. He started to flourish in 2017, hauling in 29 passes for 436 yards and six touchdowns. As a senior, McLaurin show big play capabilities, scoring 11 times on 35 receptions, while averaging 20 yards per catch.
McLaurin displays good speed, strong route running, good size and physical play. His traits will enable him to succeed on balls in traffic against undersized defenders. However at the NFL level, McLaurin needs to improve his body positioning to be effective. Another positive is his strong special teams play at Ohio State, which at the very least will translate into a career on special teams. McLaurin has the ability to be a solid NFL back up receiver.
Justice Hill - RB (Oklahoma State)
Hill started his college career with a bang, running for 1142 and 5.5 per carry. In 2017, Hill lead the Big 12 with 1467 yards, 15 touchdowns, while again averaging 5.5 per carry. His efforts earned him All-Big 12 honors. Although his numbers were down as a senior, largely due to missing two games due to injury, Hill scored 11 touchdowns overall, while averaging 5.9 per carry.
Hill runs tough, has quick feet, but is undersized by NFL standards. He has the ability to find holes through the interior of the line with excellent vision. Not an NFL starter, Hill also doesn't appear to have the receiving skills to be a go to third down running back. At this point, Hill looks like a back up running back who should always find a roster spot, even as a special teamer.