I realize that the team continues to lose 10-games per season, and that HC GUS BRADLEY and his staff have coached in the Senior Bowl for 3 straight years. But it may just be time to start taking this team seriously. They added some nice VFA pieces to their roster this off-season, and have multiple young players starting to emerge as quality NFLers. So let’s look at their Draft effort.
Round 1 JALEN RAMSEY/DB/FORIDA STATE 6’1/209 4.38/40 9 1/2″H/33 3/8″A
Clearly the most talented DB in this year’s Draft Class. But the question remains whether he’ll be best suited for S or CB. He has the speed and instincts to play the Corner, but failed to record an INT at that position last season. The beauty of this pick is that their secondary appears talented enough that they can afford to play him at either position. He says he prefers the CB slot, but Training Camp will sort it all out. An elite athlete who should shine somewhere.
Pick # 5 GBN Rank: 1 Ourlads Rank: 3 PP Rank: 3
Round 2 MYLES JACK/LB/UCLA 6’1/245 4.55/40 10 1/4″H/33 5/8″A
Fully healthy this young man was clearly a Top 10 draftee. However, even though he’s on schedule in recovery from a serious knee injury, there is concern that the knee will have degenerative problems that may lead to bone-on-bone and a short NFL career. This is a roll of the dice that 4-5 years of excellence is well worth a second round pick. I agree with their projection. He could well be an immediate impact player at one of their weakest position groups on a Defense that needs to get better now! He was a two way player in college, doubling as a very good RB option. The JAGS will take it cautiously in Camp, but need him in their starting lineup come September. If healthy his is like adding two First Rounders.
Pick # 36 GBN Rank: 3 Ourlads Rank: 4 PP Rank: 2
Round 3 YANNICK NGAKOUE/ER/MARYLAND 6’2/255 4.71/40 9 1/2″H/32 1/2″A
So far he’s been pretty much a one-trick pony as an edge-rusher in college. But that skill is highly sought after at the NFL level. I am skeptical of the pick this early, because I don’t see him ever developing a position at which to play 3 downs. He is also limited and may not be as productive against most NFL level OT. The team is desperate at this position, but they are not good enough yet to take such a gamble on a limited player in Round 3. IMO, they could have better used this pick on a solid OL.
Pick # 69 GBN Rank: 110 Ourlads Rank: 197 PP Rank: 193
Round 4 SHELDON DAY/DT/NOTRE DAME 6’1/293 5.08/40 9 5/8″H/32 5/8″A
A nice value pick just outside the Top 100. He’s a major hustle player, who spent a lot of time in opponents backfields while at ND. He recorded 15.5 TFL as a senior. More importantly he was credited with 13 QB Hurries last season. Relentless and quick off the snap. Sees the field well and gets to the ball with regularity. He’s not dissimilar to TYSON ALUALU, but a much better value in Round 4. He’ll jump into their 2-deep rotation and be a solid contributor for years to come. The fans are also going to luv his attitude and personality. Was a team Captain for the Fighting Irish.
Pick # 103 GBN Rank: 93 Ourlads Rank: 77 PP Rank: 72
Round 6 TYRONE HOLMES/OLB/ER/MONTANA 6’2/253 4.58/40 32″A/9 5/8″H
This guy looks to me to have more pro potential than NGAKOUE. He played with his hand down in college, but looks to have the athleticism to stand up and eventually do more than just rush the passer. He was an invitee to the Shrine Game venue and acquitted himself well all week. He’ll earn his keep on their roster this year based on Special Teams and rush ability. Could be much more in the long run.
Pick # 181 GBN Rank: 187 Ourlads Rank: 193 PP Rank: 197
Round 6 BRANDON ALLEN/QB/ARKANSAS 6’1/217 4.75/40 8 7/8″A/31 1/4″A
This may turn out to be a great pick for the JAGS. CHAD HENNE is the teams back-up QB but other than the head of a savvy vet, he brings very little to the table as an actual on-field contributor if BORTLES must be replaced for injury reasons. ALLEN had a solid college career and really came on as a senior. He was invited to the Senior Bowl and acquitted himself quite well. He has a feel for the game and can run for yardage if the pocket collapses. He showcased a 55 mph fastball at the Combine. He also made great progress as a senior with a TD/INT ratio of 30/8. He’s not NFL starting material, but he could develop quickly into an effective short term back-up. Nice selection this late.
Pick # 201 GBN Rank: 222 Ourlads Rank: 200 PP Rank: 139
Round 7 JONATHAN WOODARD/DE/CENTRAL ARKANSAS 6’5/266 4.95/40
Once again, the third pass rusher to get a call this Draft by the JAGS. And unfortunately, like FOWLER last year, WOODARD blew out a knee in the initial Rookie mini-camp, putting him out for the 2016 campaign. That may work to his advantage long term, as it will give him a year to learn the ways of the pro game, while the team sorts thru multiple pass-rush candidates this year. I certainly hope the team finds an answer to generating more pass rush soon. Using multiple picks every year on the need is eating up chances to help at other spots, like the OL.
Pick # 226 GBN Rank: 346+ NR Ourlads Rank: 300+ NR PP Tank: 300+ NR
Other than the penchant for over-drafting edge-rush players, this is a good draft crop to add to the mix. If RAMSEY & JACK are totally healthy and step up, it will seriously upgrade the level of play on Defense. As I mentioned earlier, progress must be made now or another coaching staff change may come next January. GUS BRADLEY cannot afford for his coaching staff to be in Mobile for a 4th consecutive year.