Jaguars bowl guide, Part 1

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The draft is five months away, but you can do a little scouting over the next few weeks by watching some of the 35 bowl games. It's a good chance to see some of the players the Jaguars may be interested in drafting, whether in the first round or later rounds.

The Jaguars' biggest needs are quarterback, pass rusher, interior offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, running back and receiver. Each Friday until the bowl season ends, I'll give you a list of the games you should watch that involve teams with players at those positions in which the Jaguars could be interested.

Some will be possible first-round targets. Others will be mid- or late-round targets.

One caveat: there are a lot of draft-eligible underclassmen who have yet to declare whether they will return to school. Until they do, they will be included in this list. They'll be marked with an asterisk (*).


Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m., ABC): Fresno State vs. USC

Why to watch: Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr is a potential first-round target for the Jaguars. He completed 70.1 percent of his passes for 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns with only seven interceptions this season. He's got good size (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) but doesn't have a particularly strong arm. According to ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., Carr makes up for that with his intelligence and intense preparation. Bulldogs tight end Marcel Jensen is huge (6-5, 260). The Jaguars are likely looking for a cheaper alternative to Marcedes Lewis to help in the run game. Trojans receiver Marqise Lee* isn't likely to be on the Jaguars' radar in the first round but he's fun to watch. He's arguably the best receiver in the country. He caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 TDs as a sophomore. Morgan Breslin lines up at defensive end but he's probably a better fit at outside linebacker in the NFL because of his size (6-1, 246). He doesn't have great speed, though, so coverage could be an issue.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (5:30 p.m., ESPN): Buffalo vs. San Diego State

Why to watch: The Jaguars need a pass rusher and Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack is a possible choice. He's athletic enough to play in coverage at 248 pounds but also rushes the passer well (11.0 sacks). He may be the first defensive player chosen in the draft.


Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Boise State vs. Oregon State

Why to watch: Oregon State has several players worth watching. Quarterback Sean Mannion* (6-5, 220) could be a mid- to late-round pick if the Jaguars considering doing what Washington did in 2012 and drafting two quarterbacks. He threw for 4,403 yards and 36 TDs this season. His top target was receiver Brandin Cooks*, who had 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 15 TDs this season. Not real big (5-10, 186) but good speed. Defensive end Scott Crichton* has good size (6-3, 260) and production (21.5 career sacks) but he doesn't appear to be a good fit at LEO, which is what the Jaguars call their hybrid end/linebacker.


Little Caesars Bowl (6 p.m., ESPN): Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green

Why to watch: Pitt quarterback Tom Savage is a guy to keep your eye on because he's someone Kiper believes could shine during the combine/workout/interview circuit. Panthers defensive tackle Aaron Donald gets by more on quickness than his bulk and doesn't project to be a player who can be a run-stuffing player, although he is a solid interior rusher.