The 2019 NFL Draft season unofficially kicks off this week in Mobile, AL, as front office and coaching staffs from all 32 teams will be on hand for the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Historically, you can count on likely seeing at least one future Jaguar on the field this week during practices and culminating in the game on Saturday, January 26th. Since 2013, the Dave Caldwell/Tom Coughlin led staff has drafted ten players who have appeared in the game, including notable names like Brandon Linder, Telvin Smith, and recently D.J. Chark.
While the game is the feature of the week, most of the scouting takes place during the week of practices, which begin Monday. Big Cat Country will keep you updated on all the week’s happenings, as well as who the Jaguars brass has been spotted meeting with. With that in mind, here are a few players to keep an eye on that may be a focus of attention for the team this week in Mobile.
Feel free to comment on who you will be looking forward to watching this week as well.
While you won’t be seeing the two biggest names at the Quarterback position for the upcoming draft, in Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray respectively, just about every other quarterback the Jaguars could have interest in this April will be on the field in Mobile this week.
Among the participants you’re likely to be hearing the Jaguars as having met up with at some point, are Daniel Jones (Duke), Drew Lock (Missouri), and Will Grier (West Virginia). The three have all been linked as potential first-round selections, and this will be a huge week in determining if those words gain any traction. Even if the Jags don’t have first-round grades on them themselves, more quarterbacks pushed higher in the draft would potentially provide better options for the team at #7 overall, should another quarterback-needy team decide to wait.
One name to keep an eye on that won’t be a Thursday night pick, but could be a very intriguing option if the Jaguars were to decide on going with a Nick Foles for a couple years while developing a guy, is Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson who will be a part of the North squad. The redshirt junior and three-year starter decided to enter the draft rather than transfer to a Power 5 conference school after being named the MAC Player of the Year following a season in which he threw for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. Jackson checks all the prototypical quarterback boxes— 6’7, 245 lbs., strong arm, and athletic enough in the pocket. He is still very raw, however, and would not be a NFL-ready player on draft weekend, but may be someone Tom Coughlin & Dave Caldwell could easily fall in love with this week.
David Sills V, WR, South Team
Wide receiver is a need the Jaguars will be addressing via free agency and potentially early in the draft. Sills is a two-time Biletnikof Award semi-finalist, First-team All- Big 12 award winner, and third team AP All-American. He finished 2018 with 96 receptions, for 986 yards, and 15 touchdowns and was often the favorite target of Grier. He’s got a big frame, at 6’3 203 lbs., and is in the mold of an Allen Robinson, a good 50/50 ball target who is exceptional in the red zone, something the Jags currently are lacking. Sills is currently projected as a Day 2 selection.
Ben Powers & Dru Samia, Guards, South Team
The performance of the interior line duo from Oklahoma, will likely be of keen interest to the Jags this week, as the team will be looking to both improve upon the starting line up of a unit decimated by significant injuries in 2018 and which is likely to undergo more turnover in ‘19, due to a combination of free agency losses and injury rehabs. Powers and Samia are both AP All-Americans and played a big part in the Heisman seasons of Baker Mayfield and Murray, respectively. Both guards are currently projected as Day 2 selections but could enhance their stock will big performances.
Ben Banogu, LB, North Team
While the off-season priority is very likely to be the reconstruction of the offense, that doesn’t mean the Jaguars will completely negate potential improvements on the defensive side of the ball—enter TCU’s Banogu. The first-team AP All-Big 12 “tweener” finished 2018 with 18 tackles for loss, and his second consecutive year with 8.5 sacks. Listed as a linebacker for the Senior Bowl, he played primarily as an edge rusher in TCU’s scheme. The Jaguars will likely turn to the draft’s later rounds to look for another compliment on the outside of the defensive line to Yannick Ngakoue after Dante Fowler Jr.’s departure, and Banogu could potentially fit that role.