Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL Draft Retrospective

Jacksonville Jaguars 2016 NFL Draft Retrospective

How does the Jacksonville Jaguars 2016 NFL Draft class look three years later?

Coming off a 5-11 season, this was the third year of the Gus Bradley regime. The team was still in a state of rebuild, where both he and general manager David Caldwell were feeling the heat from the fan base who had grown weary of the lack of production on both sides of the football.

The Jaguars needed an infusion of talent on defense and a better offense, with Blake Bortles having the best season of his career statistically, but he could not help this team win because of too many mistakes and misfires on the playing field.

Original Grade

Sports Illustrated: A+

“Ramsey was No. 2 and Jack was No. 3; the Jaguars drafted them at Nos. 5 and 36, respectively, so if Jack can stay healthy for a few seasons, this could go down as the franchise’s best draft ever. Even if Jack turns out to be an injury-related headache, the Jaguars did enough to warrant a high mark. Day, Holmes and Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue are all movable pass rushers—Day even played defensive end extensively during Senior Bowl week and was impressive doing so. Don’t forget this team also has Dante Fowler, last year’s first-round pick, coming back from a knee injury up front.” – Chris Burke

FanSided: A+

“Jacksonville got both Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, the two best players on my board. The Jaguars are making serious moves this offseason, putting themselves into contention for the AFC South title. General manager David Caldwell also landed defensive tackle Sheldon Day in the fourth round, a player some thought would go in the second. Bravo, Jaguars.” – Matt Verderame

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 5)

Jalen Ramsey

CB, FSU

Current Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

By far one of the best five first-round picks in the history of the franchise and the best pick in more than a decade. There is nothing Ramsey does that doesn’t surprise anyone. The best thing about Ramsey’s ability is he is going to get better and he loves playing football. A Two-time Pro Bowl player in 2017-2018 and a First-team All-Pro in 2017.

The Jaguars have said they will pick up Ramsey’s fifth-year option next season and will hopefully be able to iron out a long-term deal to keep him in Jacksonville, possibly as the face of this franchise.

Round 2 (No.36)

Myles Jack

LB, UCLA

Current Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

When Jack slipped to the second round because of concerns over a knee issue, the Jaguars made a move to trade up to grab him. Jack was once regarded as a top 5 pick, so this really was quite a steal for the Jags. He’s been a solid and impactful player for the team in his first three seasons, totaling 221 tackles, five quarterback sacks, two interceptions, and two defensive scores.

The selection of Jack was important because, with Ramsey and 2015 pick Dante Fowler, the team had three potential first round picks playing together for the first time.

Jack did not get much playing time in his first season because Gus Bradley and his coaching staff could not find ways to use his speed. He has played both outside and MIKE in this defense and will once again play on the outside if free agent pickup Jake Ryan can prove he is healthy enough to play inside.

Round 3 (No. 69)

Yannick Ngakoue

DE, Maryland

Current Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

This pick was vital to this organization for a few reasons. He has become a sack master with 29.5 in his first three seasons in the league. He is quick off the line and has made the strip-sack an artform.

The other reason for the pick is the beginning of the end of Fowler with the team, that ultimately led to a trade last season. From the moment he stepped on the field with the Jaguars, Ngakoue has played with a chip on his shoulder. Another 10-sack season could mean a monster payday in the offseason

Round 4 (No. 103)

Sheldon Day

DT, Notre Dame

 

Current Team: San Francisco 49ers

Day had his moments, but did not get much playing time in Jacksonville. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and Dak Prescott were both drafted after him in the fourth round. Day is still playing in the NFL and had two sacks as a member of the San Francisco 49ers this season.

Round 6 (No. 181) 

Tyrone Holmes

LB, Montana

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Another one of those players the team hoped would be a small-school find that helped the pass rush. Holmes wasn’t a contributor to this defense.

Round 6 (No. 201)

Brandon Allen

QB, Arkansas

Current Team: Los Angeles Rams

He became a cult figure here in Jacksonville, especially in training camp and the preseason in 2017. Allen looked like he could be a capable backup in Jacksonville, but was never given the chance to show if he could lead the team.

Many fans had hoped the Jaguars would turn to him in the preseason given the issues at quarterback between Blake Bortles and Chad Henne.

Round 7 (No. 226)

Jonathan Woodard

DE, Central Arkansas

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Didn’t do much and was injured his rookie season. Eventually released by the team.

Retrospective Grade

While the top three picks undoubtedly have had an impact on the franchise and were part of the reason the Jaguars made the 2017 playoffs, there was some fall-off in 2019. Ramsey was the only member of the draft class to make the Pro Bowl. Jack looked out of place in coverage at times and Ngakoue had 9.5 sacks last season when he registered 12 in 2017. All three figure to get new deals after this season, which could mean huge paydays across the board.

The remainder of the draft class is no longer with the team. That’s not an indictment on the front office, it means the team’s focus on the first three picks outweighs the deficiencies of the other selected behind them.

This could go down as the best draft class in the history of the franchise if Jack can improve from last season and work his way toward Pro Bowl status that was predicted of him last season. Ramsey is one of the 10 best defensive players in the NFL today. Ngakoue could become a 100-sack player in his career.

Caldwell hit all the right buttons on this one, despite the rest of the class not panning out. The Jaguars defense will be built around Ramsey, with Ngakoue and Jack (along with Telvin Smith) a superior group of young players under 25, possibly the best in the NFL right now.

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