Can a team win the NFL draft? Well, if so, then consider the Jacksonville Jaguars the winners of the 2016 NFL draft — at least according to the experts and pundits.
Jacksonville made the “steal” pick of the draft in selecting Jalen Ramsey, a defensive back out of Florida State University. Many considered Ramsey not only the best defensive player available in the 2016 NFL draft, but the best overall player. Granted, the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles both traded up to the first and second picks, respectively, in order to select a quarterback, their biggest need. There were still two draft picks in between Jared Goff and Carson Wentz being selected, and when the Jacksonville Jaguars made their pick of Ramsey.
The San Diego Chargers went after defensive end Joey Bosa out of Ohio State with the third overall selection. The Dallas Cowboys then filled their need in the offensive backfield by picking Bosa’s teammate, Ezekiel Elliott. The Jaguars were no doubt ecstatic when they were able to draft Jalen Ramsey with the next pick. Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell made his happiness with being able to select Ramsey clear in a quote recounted on the Fox Sports website.
” ‘We didn’t think he would get to us,’ Caldwell said, noting that the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles trading up to take quarterbacks made it possible. ‘He’s got some rare athleticism, speed combined with size and range. He’s a very good competitor and he fits our style of play. It was an easy decision.’ “
HC Bradley on @jalenramsey: “Overall, just a fantastic player.”
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) April 29, 2016
ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Jaguars an “A” for the picks they made in the 2016 NFL draft.
“Regardless of what the future holds for Myles Jack in terms of health, if he’s anything close to 100 percent for years to come, the Jags will have one of the biggest steals of recent draft history. They got Jalen Ramsey at No. 5 after Dallas took Ezekiel Elliott, and then saw Jack fall all the way into the second round, where they moved up to grab him. That’s two top-5 types in a single draft class.”
Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today Sports also gave the Jacksonville Jaguars an “A” grade for their draft.
“Jacksonville’s hot offseason continued through the draft. The Jags managed to snag defensive back Jalen Ramsey, whom many considered to be the draft’s best defensive player, at No. 5, and still land linebacker Myles Jack in the second round.”
Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports calls the Jaguars your 2016 bandwagon team in his review of draft winners and losers.
“At the end of last season, a lot of people had already glommed onto the Jaguars as a 2016 sleeper. The bandwagon is really rolling now. The Jaguars made the best pick of the first round, somehow taking cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the best player in the draft, fifth overall. They might have made the best pick of the second round too.”
Myles Jack was considered one of the best defenders available in the 2016 NFL draft, as well. A knee issue, however, kept him from being drafted earlier. Jacksonville didn’t see that injury as a huge hurdle, whereas some other teams might have, allowing the UCLA standout to drop into the Jaguars lap in the second round, with the 36th overall pick. Cameron DaSilva of Fox Sports noted seven NFL athletes who had a similar injury situation to the one that Jack is going through and panned out well. With that type of evidence, there is justification for the Jaguars selection and the belief that Jacksonville obtained two of the top defensive players in the draft with their first two picks.
There’s a reason why Gus Bradley was fired up to land Myles Jack.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) May 1, 2016
Although most of the talk and analysis centered around the top two picks made by Jacksonville, the Jaguars got some good players in the later rounds as well. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue out of the University of Maryland could provide some depth on defense for Jacksonville. As analyst Mike Mayock indicated on the NFL website, Ngakoue is a designated pash-rusher who is quick and explosive.
With their fourth pick in the 2016 draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Sheldon Day, a defensive tackle out of Notre Dame University. Day is another pass-rusher who can play either defensive tackle or defensive end. He excels at getting into the gap quickly.
To round out their draft, Jacksonville sandwiched quarterback Brandon Allen out the University of Arkansas in between two defensive ends. With the 181st overall pick, the Jaguars took Tyrone Holmes out the University of Montana. In the seventh-round, with their final pick, Jacksonville picked Jonathan Woodard out of Central Arkansas.
[Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images]