JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For the first time since January 2013, the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t coaching one of the teams in the Senior Bowl.
However, general manager Dave Caldwell will be in Mobile, Alabama, this week taking a look at some of the top seniors in the country. The team’s first-round pick (fourth overall) likely isn’t in Mobile, but there are players there that certainly could help the Jaguars in 2017.
Here are five to watch this week:
DE Jordan Willis (Kansas State): This is supposed to be a deep draft for edge-rushers and that’s good for the Jaguars, who need to add another player or two at the position. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Willis toiled in relative anonymity at K-State but recorded 20 of his 25.5 career sacks over the past two seasons. He had 11.5 sacks in 2016 to go along with 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. The Jaguars need to find help for Yannick Ngakoue, who set the franchise’s rookie record with 8.0 sacks, because Dante Fowler Jr. struggled in his first full season both mentally and physically.
G Dan Feeney (Indiana): The Jaguars need an upgrade along the interior of the offensive line. That could involve drafting a center and moving Brandon Linder back to guard or drafting a guard or two. Feeney (6-4, 305 pounds) has good agility and strength and he’s a tenacious, hard-nosed player. He’s only played right guard, however, and there may be an injury concern since he missed four games with a concussion, but Feeney is No. 2 in Mel Kiper Jr.’s guard rankings.
LB Duke Riley (LSU): The 6-2, 230-pound Riley didn’t get a lot of publicity because he played alongside Kendell Beckwith, but he led the Tigers with 93 tackles (9 for loss, second-highest on the team) to go along with 1.5 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. He stepped in for Deion Jones, who was a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with Atlanta, and was one of the Tigers’ best players. As you would expect for an LSU linebacker, he runs well (he’s been listed at 4.5 seconds in the 40). The Jaguars need more playmakers at linebacker. Paul Posluszny had one of his best seasons at 32, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be brought back. Plus, there are still questions about whether Myles Jack will become a reliable starter.
S Justin Evans (Texas A&M): If the Jaguars are looking to replace Johnathan Cyprien, then they could look at Evans (6-1, 200). He’s more of a strong safety and has a reputation as a solid tackler who can play closer to the line of scrimmage. Here’s a reason to like him: he had five interceptions and 11 pass breakups in 2015-16. Cyprien had two interceptions and 15 pass breakups in four seasons with the Jaguars. The Jaguars need an infusion of playmakers in the secondary.
RB Corey Clement (Wisconsin): Ezekiel Elliott made taking running backs in the top of the first round popular again, but teams don’t have to take one that high to find a highly productive player. There were 12 players who rushed for 1,000 yards in 2016, but only four were drafted in the first or second round. Five were taken in the fourth round or later. Clement wasn’t very productive as Melvin Gordon’s replacement in 2015 because of a groin injury and sports hernia surgery, but he was last season: 1,304 yards and 14 TDs. The Jaguars didn’t get much out of T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory in 2016 and are unlikely to bring Denard Robinson back. If they choose to go running back in the middle rounds, Clement (5-11, 217) would be an option.