JAGUARS SELECT SEVEN PLAYERS IN 2018 NFL DRAFT

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected seven players in the 2018 NFL Draft, which was held in Arlington, Texas from April 26-28. Their 2018 draft class is balanced with three offensive players, three defensive players and a punter. Four of the draftees come from SEC schools, two from the Big Ten and one from the ACC.


ROUND, OVERALL PICK

 

NAME

 

POS.

 

HT.

 

WT.

 

AGE

 

SCHOOL

 

Round 1, 29th

 

Taven Bryan

 

DL

 

6-5

 

291

 

22

 

Florida

 

Round 2, 61st

 

DJ Chark

 

WR

 

6-4

 

198

 

21

 

Louisiana State

 

Round 3, 93rd

 

Ronnie Harrison

 

S

 

6-2

 

207

 

21

 

Alabama

 

Round 4, 129th

 

Will Richardson

 

OL

 

6-6

 

306

 

22

 

North Carolina State

 

Round 6, 203rd

 

Tanner Lee

 

QB

 

6-4

 

218

 

23

 

Nebraska

 

Round 7, 230th

 

Leon Jacobs

 

LB

 

6-1

 

246

 

22

 

Wisconsin

 

Round 7, 247th

 

Logan Cooke

 

P

 

6-5

 

230

 

22

 

Mississippi State

 

* The Jaguars’ fifth-round pick (166th overall) was traded to the Buffalo Bills for DT Marcell Dareus; Jaguars’ seventh-round pick (230th overall) was obtained from Cincinnati in a trade for DE Chris Smith *

With the team’s first-round selection (29th overall), the Jaguars selected DL Taven Bryan from the University of Florida. “When it came to our pick, we did have an opportunity to draft Taven Bryan; an outstanding, 3-technique penetrator [and] outstanding athlete who is 6’-5”, 291 pounds, [and] ran under 5-flat,” said Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. “[He has] outstanding quickness, outstanding ability to come off on the ball, has position flexibility in that he can play inside and he can play outside. So, we have added another pass-rushing, penetrating defensive lineman and he will fit in very well with our room … We like how he gets off, he is powerful, he gets off on the snap, he penetrates, he causes problems, [he] can turn and run down the line of scrimmage either way. He is athletic.”

Bryan, 6-5, 291, appeared in 36 career games for the Gators and totaled 67 tackles (31 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He started all 11 games in 2017 as a redshirt junior, recording 40 tackles, six tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks.  Bryan was a second-team All-SEC selection in his final year in Gainesville. In 2016, Bryan appeared in all 13 games for the Gators, totaling 17 tackles and three tackles for loss.

“I think when you look at the tape, you can never have enough good defensive linemen, from a philosophy standpoint,” said Head Coach Doug Marrone during Bryan’s introductory press conference. “Me specifically, when I watch the tape, the things that I like is one, the get-off. I think that is an important part of what you do. Taven has an outstanding get-off, and the other thing is that he doesn’t remain blocked long. That is the one thing you look for in a defensive lineman. You can see him escape, you can see him make a play. Those are the things that you want to see. Knowing that it is part of it – obviously, he has done a great job to this point to be in this position to be drafted, but like I say to a lot of players, it doesn’t really matter how you got here. Just like in the first team meeting – it doesn’t matter if you were [acquired] in the first round or whether you were a free agent. Now you have to go out there and you have to earn everything when you get on the practice field. When you look at his background and you speak to him, obviously his family did an outstanding job, as far as his work ethic, the way he goes about his business. We plan on him going back home, packing, getting here and getting ready to work. Get in the locker room, earn your teammates’ respect by what you do and getting in there and get him on the field and play. We are very excited about that.”

Bryan, a native of Casper, Wyo. and the son of a former Navy SEAL, is the 10th player from the University of Florida to be drafted by the Jaguars, and the first since DE Dante Fowler Jr. (third overall) in 2015. The Jaguars’ 10 draft selections from the University of Florida are the most from any college or university. Bryan is the fifth Gator to be selected in the first round by Jacksonville, joining Fowler (third overall in 2015), DE Derrick Harvey (eighth overall in 2008), DB Reggie Nelson (21st overall in 2007) and RB Fred Taylor (ninth overall in 1998). The Jaguars have now drafted 23 players from Florida-based colleges or universities in 24 years, and have drafted a player from a Florida-based college or university in the first round in four of the last five drafts: Bryan in 2018 (Florida), CB Jalen Ramsey in 2016 (Florida State), Fowler in 2015 (Florida) and QB Blake Bortles in 2014 (Central Florida). Overall, the Jaguars have selected 26 players (14 offensive; 12 defensive) in the first round of the draft, and Jacksonville’s seven defensive linemen selected in the first round are the most of any position.

The Jaguars entered the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft with one selection in each of the second (61st overall) and third (93rd overall) rounds. During the second round, the Jaguars looked at moving up to snag their desired player. Said Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell, “I don’t know if we struck out or hit a home run because we didn’t trade up and we still got him. We were striking out in the trade market. Not having a fifth-round pick kind of hurt us in that aspect.”

When the Jaguars went on the clock at pick 61, they wasted no time in selecting WR DJ Chark from Louisiana State, a 6-4, 198-pound speedster that donned the infamous No. 7 uniform for the Tigers and was freshman-year roommates with current Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette. Fournette also wore No. 7 during his final season in Baton Rouge, which is worn annually by the school’s top playmaker. “He’s a guy who has improved year after year and when you see what he did at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, he’s a big guy, he’s [6’4”], he’s 200 pounds, he runs in the 4.3s,” said Caldwell. “It’s a pick not just for our passing game but our running game, too. When you have a guy with that kind of speed, teams have to be cognizant of him making big plays down the field.”


Chark, an Alexandria, La. Native, appeared in 36 games and made 15 starts for the Tigers, tallying 66 receptions for 1,351 yards and six TDs during his four-year career. He registered a career-high 40 receptions and 874 receiving yards after he took over as a No. 1 receiver in 2017. In his final collegiate contest at the Senior Bowl, Chark caught five passes for 160 yards and a TD, earning co-MVP honors after helping the South squad to a 45-16 win. In addition to a standout career at wide receiver, he led the SEC in punt return TDs (two) and finished second in the league in average per return (10.6) as a senior. Chark finished his career with 1,817 all-purpose yards: 1,351 receiving yards, 264 rushing yards, 190 punt return yards and 12 kickoff return yards. Chark is the fourth player from LSU to be selected by the Jaguars in the draft, joining Fournette (fourth overall in 2017), RB LaBrandon Toefield (132nd overall in 2003) and OL Marcus Price (172nd overall in 1995). “Excitement – you have to find a new word,” said Chark when speaking with local media on a conference call. “It’s way past excitement right now. It’s unbelievable. It’s hard to put into words the way I feel right now about being the newest member of this team. I can’t wait to get to Florida.”

In the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected their third consecutive player from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in S Ronnie Harrison from the University of Alabama. “I’m excited to get to work and be close to home; that’s where I’m from (Tallahassee, Fla.),” said Harrison. “Coming into a great organization and a great defense. I can’t wait to get to work.”


Harrison, 6-2, 207, appeared in 44 games with 30 starts for the Crimson Tide. Harrison tallied 177 tackles (110 solo) during his three-year career, as the Tallahassee, Fla. native declared for the draft following his junior season. He recorded a career-best three INTs in 2017 and set a career high with 4.5 tackles for loss, while leading the team with 74 total tackles.

“Big size, enforcer type of guy,” said Caldwell. “Big hitter, good on special teams. We feel like he can come in, and he is going to go into the most competitive room we have there in the defensive back room with our two veteran DBs and our two veteran corners. It should be a good fit for him in there. He’s going to have to bring his ‘A’ game every day to hang with those guys … We can interchange him [at the two safety positions]. He is probably more of a strong [safety], but he has some free [safety] capability, too. You guys noticed last year we interchanged our safeties. We weren’t just one guy down and one guy back. We feel like he can do both. He had seven career interceptions … He’s a very bright kid, really high football IQ. Really smart kid. Coaches were really impressed with how he handled the questions on the board and picked up the scheme. He had a good visit here.”

Harrison was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-America squad as a second-team selection, was recognized as a first-team All-SEC honoree by the Associated Press and earned a second-team selection by the conference’s coaches. Harrison is the fourth overall selection by the Jaguars from Alabama, joining current Jaguars OT Cam Robinson and RB T.J. Yeldon. DB Fernando Bryant was also selected from Alabama in the first-round (26th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.

To begin the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected OL Will Richardson from North Carolina State in the fourth round (129th overall). Richardson, 6-6, 306, played in 34 games with 32 starts in three seasons at N.C. State. He recently completed his redshirt junior season in which he earned second-team All-ACC honors by the league and the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, while not allowing a sack or pressure in all eight ACC contests. “He’s going to come in and compete at right tackle,” said Caldwell. “Flexible, could play right tackle. We think he might have some guard flexibility, too, and possibly some left tackle flex, too … I think he’s pretty versatile. He’s got good knee bend, he’s always had quick feet, he’s a strong guy, can really anchor against a pass rush and you see what he’s done in the ACC. I don’t think he gave up a sack or even a pressure this year, but he was highly productive there in pass protection.” The Burlington, N.C. native was named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week during his final game in Raleigh, and he was part of an offensive line unit that ranked second in the Power 5 in sacks allowed. After the 2017 season he was presented the Jim Ritcher Award, given to the team’s top offensive lineman. Richardson becomes the third player from N.C. State drafted by the Jaguars, joining LB Pat Thomas (sixth round – 2005) and WR Alvis Whitted (seventh round – 1998).


The Jaguars did not have a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft after sending it to Buffalo in a trade for DT Marcell Dareus during the bye week in 2017.

In the sixth round, the Jaguars selected QB Tanner Lee from the University of Nebraska with the 203rd overall pick. Lee, 6-4, 218, spent two seasons at Tulane before transferring to Nebraska and starting all 12 games this past season. In 2017, Lee completed 246 of 428 passes (57.5 comp. pct.) for 3,143 yards, 23 TDs and 16 INTs. He was just the fourth Cornhusker to throw for 3,000-plus yards, and he was the first player in school history to surpass 3,000 passing yards in his first year as the starting QB. Lee threw for 200-plus yards in 10 of 12 games this past fall, and his 23 passing TDs ranked third in the school’s single-season history. Overall, including his two seasons with Tulane, he appeared in 31 career games and threw for 6,744 yards, 46 TDs and 27 INTs on 574 of 1,040 passing (55.2 comp. pct.). “It was a big relief,” Lee said of being drafted. “It has been a long day watching the picks go by with the family. Jacksonville was a team that I definitely had marked and a team I wanted to go to. It ended up working out perfect. I’m extremely excited.”

 







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