The Jaguars entered the 2013 NFL Draft with a roster full of holes and needs all over the board. They emerged with a slew of players that will have an opportunity to contribute in some capacity, with several likely earning starting positions. The Jaguars certainly didn't fill all of their holes, but they did improve their level of talent at key positions, particularly in the defensive backfield.
How does the Jaguars draft class rate? Draft ratings are always speculative and across the board, which is to be expected, but the Jags have been lauded for their savvy selections thus far. Chris Burke of si.com gives the Jaguars an "A," and ranks the team's draft class as one of the best this year.
Can the Jaguars draft class live up to the hype? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure: the Jaguars will have one of the youngest defensive backfields in the NFL during the upcoming season.
1. Luke Joeckel, OT
Luke Joeckel was considered by many to be the best-available player in this year's draft. Many speculated the Kansas City Chiefs would select him with the first-overall pick. When they didn't, the Jaguars pounced on him.
Joeckel is a quality offensive tackle who should make the switch from LT to RT (Eugene Monroe is penciled in as the left-side starter) with ease.
Joeckel is the highest-drafted offensive lineman in Jaguars history along with Tony Boselli, the team's first draft pick in 1995, who eventually became known as the best player in Jaguars history.
2. John Cyprien, DB
Cyprien should step into a starting role at safety immediately. Many draft pundits graded him as the class's second-best safety and penciled him as a first-round pick.
If they're right, that would make Cyprien a steal in the beginning of the second round.
The former Florida International defender should step in and make an immediate impact for the Jaguars.
Cyprien's an aggressive, talkative (on the field) safety that's known for hard hits, and may remind some Jaguars' fans of Donovin Darius.
3. Dwayne Gratz, DB
Gratz, a cornerback, fits the mold of the defensive back used in Seattle's defense -- a big, aggressive player that's not afraid to tackle.
Gratz, like the previous two selections, should step into a starting role immediately, due in part at least to the Jaguars' decimated cornerback position (Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis, starters from last year, are both gone).
4. Ace Sanders, WR
Ace Sanders is an intriguing pick that fills a big hole.
The Jaguars have been without a dynamic punt/kick returner for years. It's a position in which several players (Deji Karim, Mike Thomas, etc.) previously showed promise, but ultimately fizzled out.
The Jaguars hope the diminutive Sanders will change that. At 5'7 and 173 lbs, some wonder if he can hold up in the NFL. Time will tell. Few, however, doubt Sanders' explosiveness, despite his lack of real top-end speed.
Sanders is shifty, and can stop and start on a dime, which should make him a dynamic return man and slot receiver for years to come.
5. Denard Robinson, Jack of All Trades
Denard "Shoelace" Robinson is the first "risky" pick in the Jaguars draft class -- mostly because of his positional background. Robinson played quarterback in college, but is projected as a running back and wide receiver. Personally, I envision him filling a Slash type of role, and perhaps taking some Wildcat snaps.
6. Josh Evans, DB
Florida safety Josh Evans is probably happy to stay close to home. Evans is known as a solid player, a form-tackling safety who should make an immediate contribution on special teams.
7. Jeremy Harris, DB
Staying with the trend of selecting big, physical defensive backs, the Jaguars selected Harris with their first 7th round pick.
Like Evans selected in Round 6, Harris should step in immediately as a special-teams player.
8. Demetrius McCray, DB
It should be clear at this point that defensive back is an important position to the new regime. McCray is a cornerback from Appalachian State that fits Head Coach Gus Bradley's mold -- yet another big, physical defender that knows how to tackle.