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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Assessing the Jacksonville Jaguars Draft After Day 2

The Jacksonville Jaguars may be on to something with their success on the first two nights of the NFL Draft.

Jacksonville, who has been active throughout free agency by adding starters on both offense and defense, scored big the first night by taking pass rushing defensive end Dante Fowler Jr with the third overall pick, then followed up on Friday night by adding TJ Yeldon to help stabilize their running game and then drafted AJ Cann to further strengthen the offensive line.

If Fowler was the start of a good thing, the ride hasn't stopped yet with this Draft.

Fowler had said since he was in Jacksonville earlier this month that "He would be surprised fi he wasn't picked by the Jacksonville Jagaurs." 

His words were the talk of sports talk radio and the local media. The Florida Gator prospect can play the LEO linebacker in the team's defensive scheme and lineup as an edge rusher on the defensive line. Fowler is thought to be a three-down pass rusher, something this team needs to become an elite unit.

If finding more pieces to an incomplete puzzle was the object of general manager Dave Caldwell’s agenda this weekend, so far he has made good on his task. Jacksonville not only looks like a more solid team through its roster, but there is more of a buzz in Jacksonville that in the team’s third season under Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley there will be improvement on the field and in the win column.

While Cann wasn't a need pick, it just further showed the team's commitment to staabilizing the offensive line, one of the team's weakest positions last year.

Michael DiRocco of said Bradley and the Jaguars staff want the line to look better than it did in 2014.

Cann was just part of the fun for a team that was 7-25 the last two seasons.

DiRocco eluded toe the fact that all three picks have helped to make quarterback Blake Bortles better, even the pick of Fowler.

Jacksonville came into Thursday night wil needs at running back and at pass rusher. By selecting Fowler and then grabbing Yeldon of Alabama, it set the tone for what has been a solid weekend. Yeldon, who some had going later in the second or early third round of the Draft, will give the team someone who can replace Maurice Jones-Drew as the go-to runner, but with more sie liek Fred Taylor.

It may have been a reach given there were other backs on the board, but Yeldon fits what Jacksonville is trying to do on offense. Bortles is in his second season as is his core of receivers - Allen Robinson, Marquise Lee and Allen Hurns. Add Denard Robinson, the team's leading rusher last season and Yeldon to that mix and the addition of tight end Julius Thomas and now the offense could score more than the 15 points per game last season.

The biggest downfall for the team last year was a lack of scoring.

In Yeldon, the Jaguars get a 6-foot-1, 226-pound back who thrived on running inside but still had the elusiveness and cutting ability to make potential tacklers miss. He was durable and productive during three seasons at Bama, rushing for 3,332 yards and 37 touchdowns. DiRocco said the Jaguars ranked him third overall on their list of running backs.

Bradley likes the fact that Yeldon is a three-down back, which gives the Jaguars the ability to leave him on the field in a no-huddle, hurry-up offense situation.



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