Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
I went with a defensive piece here because I looked at the offense, and although it ranked close to the bottom in a variety of categories, it has pieces in place, with Blake Bortles at quarterback, Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart in the backfield, a young, promising receiving core, and a younger offensive line with promising pieces in place. Also, with spending high picks on Bortles and Marqise Lee high in last years draft, it seems fitting for Gus Bradley to go for defensive focus in the first pick this year to find more toys to play with on defense. With young players in the secondary, no 4-3 linebackers worthy of the third overall selection, and the signing of Jared Odrick to pair with Sen'derrick Marks at defensive tackle leads me to believe Bradley will fill his Leo position and pick Dante Fowler.
First of all, let's look at the depth that the Jaguars have at Leo. Their top two options are Chris Clemons, who is turning 34, and Andre Branch, who is in the final year of his deal after an inconsistent tenure with the team. Dante Fowler can immediately get playing time and learn from Chris Clemons to help him out with some of the lesser developed aspects of his game. Playing alongside a defensive tackle rotation including Odrick, Marks, former Steelers' first round pick Ziggy Hood, and Roy Miller will also help his development, as opposing offensive lines will have to worry about blocking everyone along the Jaguars defensive line.
Another reason the Jaguars should draft Dante Fowler is his versatility. He has lined up in a variety of positions in the front seven, including defensive end, outside linebacker, and inside linebacker. He can rush the passer with his hand in the dirt or standing, providing Gus Bradley with the versatility he likes in his Leo.
Although Fowler is already an impact player, with 34 tackles for loss in his career at Florida and 8.5 sacks this past season, he still has a high ceiling while also being able to step in and play immediately. His pass rushing is relatively raw and could be improved, another reason the presence of Chris Clemons, who has 66 sacks in his career, is a plus for the development of Fowler in the NFL.
With the addition of Fowler, this makes this defense closer to the one he had in Seattle, with strong defensive line play and a young, promising secondary. We'll see if that helps the Jaguars crawl out of the pit of mediocrity they've been wallowing in for the past several years.
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this year's community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2015 CSC Community Mock Draft Hub.
|Pick||Team||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
|1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||
QB Jameis Winston - Florida State
|2||Tennessee Titans||DE Leonard Williams - USC||Tee Word||85%|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||DE Dante Fowler - Florida||Khannar|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Dave Choate|
|10||St. Louis Rams||Kevin Sean Held|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||gulf shores|
|13||New Orleans Saints||Dave Cariello|
|14||Miami Dolphins||Ralph Malbrough|
|15||San Francisco 49ers||The Irish Assassin|
|17||San Diego Chargers||LeedsSaint|
|18||Kansas City Chiefs||jmcmillan_93|
|20||Philadelphia Eagles||Matt Mosley|
|30||Green Bay Packers||Matt Mosley|
|31||New Orleans Saints||Dave Cariello|
|32||New England Patriots|