No one is having more fun this weekend than Gus Bradley.
The Jaguars' fourth-year head coach, along with GM Dave Caldwell, is having a true dream draft, and through two rounds the duo has seen an improbable series of events transpire. According to Adam Schefter, the team debated whether to take Myles Jack or Jalen Ramsey with the fifth pick. They took Ramsey, but ended up with Jack after all.
It was a surprise in the first place that Jalen Ramsey even fell to the fifth overall pick. When he did, I presume that Bradley and Caldwell debated taking Myles Jack for a moment, then quickly wrote their pick on the card and spent the next 9½ minutes high-fiving in the war room, waiting for the Ramsey pick to get announced.
In Ramsey, they get a combination of Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson, a shut-down caliber cornerback that should start for them from day one, just as he did at Florida State. That talent on the outside affects everything on the defense, and as I wrote last night, could give the Jaguars a capstone type of player -- someone whose presence provides stability and structure to all the pieces they've accumulated.
Well, I thought that until the Jags traded up in the second round to select Myles Jack, who might actually be that capstone style player.
Honestly -- if you polled 10 front office and media people on the best overall player in this year's draft, it wouldn't be surprising if 8 out of 10 answered with either Ramsey or Jack. In what kind of world does Jacksonville get both?
Jack has injury concerns long term, but in the short-term, gives Jacksonville another big-time playmaker and tone-setter. Like Ramsey, he's highly versatile -- and could play all over the defense depending on matchups and schemes. He's a three-down player that can play the run with authority and is still rangy enough to run in coverage.
Ramsey and Jack are two top-talent pieces to add into Jacksonville's already ascending defense. Throwing Jack in with up-and-coming linebacker Telvin Smith will be fun to watch, especially on nickel downs, and they'll be lining up behind newcomers in Dante Fowler (last year's third overall pick) and Malik Jackson (the prize free agent acquisition). In the secondary, it will be fun to see how Prince Amukamara and Tashaun Gipson will adjust into Bradley's defense. The Jags have up and comers in Michael Bennett and Ryan Davis, and getting Sen'Derrick Marks back from injury should be a boon.
With an upgraded pass rush from Jackson and Fowler, the secondary will benefit. Quarterbacks will be forced to make tougher, quicker throws. They'll make more bad decisions. With proven ballhawks back there, the Jags should force more turnovers. They should score more points.
The result should be pretty interesting to watch. It's a total cliche but it's one that I actually believe -- big time players make big time plays. And this defense is really collecting big time players. It's a league that is defined by parity, and a few big-time plays produce wins in the NFL every week.
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