Draft needs, targets for Jaguars

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Ahead of the 2015 NFL draft, Insider is providing guides for all 32 teams: biggest need positions from Football Outsiders, top prospect targets from scouts Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl and predictions on how everything will play out from our NFL Nation team reporters.

Included below are links to every team's article. This is the entry for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Links to all 32 teams

Roster needs

Biggest need: Free safety -- After failing to add a quality starter in free agency, Jacksonville still needs a free safety. Safeties are the hardest position to judge analytically, but it was easy to see Josh Evans was a massive liability in 2014. Our charting project had him with 20 missed tackles and few plays in coverage.

Quiet need: Edge rusher -- Pass-rushing was a strength for Jacksonville in 2014. They finished second in Adjusted Sack Rate. Chris Clemons was a quality addition, but he is 33 years old. The third overall pick could provide an ideal replacement for him as a dynamic edge rusher, because former second-round pick Andre Branch had just 3.0 sacks and 6.5 hurries in 2014.

Not a need: Defensive tackle -- Jacksonville had a solid defensive line, ranking ninth in Adjusted Line Yards, including a first-place finish on runs at left tackle. They added Jared Odrick in free agency, replacing Red Bryant with a younger, better player. All other contributors return, including Sen'Derrick Marks, who finished seventh among defensive tackles with 10 tackles for loss in 2014.

--Tom Gower, Football Outsiders

Prospect targets

Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Day 1): Fowler would be a strong fit in Gus Bradley's defense and is one of the top players from a deep crop of edge rushers this year. He has above-average first step quickness, violent and quick hands along with adequate bend and finishing power at the top of his rush. Fowler is also stout against the run and plays with a relentless motor.

USC DE Leonard Williams (Day 1): This scenario would likely require Marcus Mariota being selected with the second overall pick. Williams is one of the best two overall players in this draft, with excellent hands, point-of-attack skills defending the run and provides the versatility to disrupt from various spot along the front line. Williams would be a value pick here, and combined with Odrick, Tyson Alualu and the ascending Marks would instantly make the Jaguars front line one of the deepest in the league.

Virginia S Anthony Harris (Day 2): The Jaguars' defense was tied for the fewest turnover in the league (20) last season, including just six interceptions. Harris is one of the better ball-hawking safeties in this class, with above-average instincts, range and length playing the ball. He would immediately come in and compete with Evans for the starting free safety spot.

--Kevin Weidl, Scouts Inc.


1. If the Jaguars stay at No. 3, the pick likely will be a pass-rusher: General manager David Caldwell has taken a left tackle and quarterback in the first round in his first two drafts, and a pass-rusher is the next step in the process. The Jaguars had the sixth-most sacks in the NFL in 2014 (45) but they don't have a rusher like J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn or Justin Houston. Fowler, Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory and Shane Ray are the top candidates, and it appears the Jaguars are leaning toward Fowler.

2. Taking a wide receiver is not out of the question: The only way this happens, according to someone familiar with the Jaguars' draft strategy, is if Caldwell is convinced the player is and/or can be a No. 1 receiver. That means someone on the level of Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and A.J. Green, a receiver who defenses must game plan to stop by double-teaming or rotating coverages. Right now, that list likely would include just two names: Amari Cooper and Kevin White.

3. The Jaguars are more open to trading down: Because of the additions in free agency at positions of need (tight end, right tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker) and the work in the past two drafts, Caldwell has said he's more open to a trade than he was in his first two seasons. Because it's a deep draft for pass-rushers, the Jaguars could even drop out of the top 10 (Cleveland at No. 12 is a possibility, because the Browns have two first-round picks) and still get a rusher that they like.

--Mike DiRocco, NFL Nation Jaguars reporter