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2018 NFL mock draft: Will Hernandez would complete Jacksonville’s offensive line

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Leonard Fournette could now be running behind one of the league’s best offensive lines.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Texas El Paso Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the darlings of the NFL last season, surging into the playoffs with a 10-6 record. With a young and exciting team, and a fervent fan base, the Jaguars are a team that could consistently find themselves in the playoffs and making a push for the Super Bowl.

Of course to do that the team has to get a consistent effort out of quarterback Blake Bortles. If the team is concerned he’s regressing, there is potential for the Jaguars to find his replacement early in the 2018 NFL Draft.

If Jacksonville rides with Bortles for another season, they could go a couple different directions in the first round. Tight end is an option, even though the team has never been keen on taking one early. Wide receiver is also a possibility after Allen Robinson departed in free agency.

Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country has something else in mind in the SB Nation NFL writer’s mock draft.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Crow: While tempted to pull the trigger on quarterback Mason Rudolph here, the Jaguars play it safe and add to their offensive line with guard Will Hernandez. Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Andrew Norwell to a big money free agent deal, their other guard spot on the right side could use an upgrade. Current starter AJ Cann has been mediocre at best and is in the final year of his rookie contract. Hernandez is a plug-and-play starter, so even at pick 29 they’ll be getting someone who can slot right into the lineup.

The Jaguars were the No. 1 rushing team last season and that was a big part of why they made it to the AFC Championship game. Though while Leonard Fournette’s overall numbers were good, his yards per carry left a lot to be desired and he wasn’t very consistent. Adding another big boy to the offensive line that the team has been beefing up with the likes of Norwell and last year’s second-round pick Cam Robinson, another cheap road grader will make that ground game even better.

Analysis: This is a pick I’ve really grown fond of the past few weeks. The addition of Hernandez would complete Jacksonville’s offensive line, and give the team one of the best units in the league. Having a line that, left to right, goes Robinson, Norwell, Brandon Linder, Hernandez, and Jeremy Parnell would give Jacksonville’s offense a stellar base. It would also be a boon for Fournette, and help make investing the fourth pick in the draft in 2017 on him worth it.

Dan Kadar’s top five players remaining

  • 20. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  • 23. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
  • 24. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
  • 26. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
  • 29. Connor Williams, OT, Texas

Tomorrow we finish up the 12th Annual SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft starting at 9 a.m. ET. The Minnesota Vikings are up next with a pick coming from Christopher Gates of The Daily Norseman.


What grade do you give the pick of Will Hernandez by the Jacksonville Jaguars?

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  • 68%
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