By: Hays Carlyon
I love a good mock draft.
You’ve created one? I’ll read it.
There’s only one hang up I have with the evolution of NFL Draft coverage. With so many writers tasked with creating a new mock draft every week, the scenarios start to get, well, goofy.
I’ve seen the Jaguars trading up from the seventh pick to third overall with the New York Jets to take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray over Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Does this seem like the kind of move old-school Jaguars executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin would make?
Thankfully, the NFL Scouting Combine is this week in Indianapolis, Indiana. That will shake loose some interesting reports. That resulting speculation will change the draft narrative giving it some needed freshness.
The goofy helps break the stale.
Well, I’m not about to be left out of the wacky fun. I’m like “Seinfeld” character George Constanza channeling Michael Keaton’s “Batman” as he prepares to drive to the Rosses hours away to his imaginary home in the Hamptons, “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!”
I’m going to take one piece of draft speculation and get goofy. This comes from legendary NFL writer Peter King, who wrote about Murray in his weekly column on profootballtalk.com.
King opined that New England might covet Murray. This is what King wrote.
“If I’m New England, I’m looking long and hard at Murray, for three reasons: Tom Brady will be 42 the next time he takes a snap, the Patriots have enough currency (six picks in the top 101 of this draft, plus next year’s first-rounder) to move into the top 10 if he slips a bit, and Murray could sit and learn while getting physically prepped to be a long-term quarterback.”
Here’s why I could see this as a remote possibility and, more importantly, the ability for me to get zany. Patriots coach Bill Belichick could be tempted to use Murray immediately as a change-of-pace weapon, similar to how New Orleans coach Sean Payton utilizes athletic quarterback Taysom Hill even with elite Drew Brees.
However, unlike Hill, Murray would also be viewed as Brady’s eventual successor. If Belichick sees the NFL gravitating more toward the college game, he could view Murray as the personification of where the NFL is going over the next decade.
The NFL announced the compensatory picks on Friday. The Patriots received four comp picks, including two third-round selections.
So, let’s assume for this (goofy) exercise that Coughlin signs Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles in free agency when the new league year begins on March 13. That takes the Jaguars out of the first-round quarterback market. Now, the mission becomes putting the best possible supporting cast around Foles.
Murray is sitting on the board at No. 7 when the Jaguars are put on the clock. Belichick calls and offers this deal, which would’ve already been discussed among the teams in the days leading up to the draft.
New England moves up 25 spots to take Murray at seven. The Patriots send the Jaguars the following: their first rounder (32nd), their two second rounders (56 from Chicago and 64), their second third-round compensatory pick (101) and next year’s first rounder.
That allows Belichick to acquire Murray and still own six more picks, including two late third-rounders.
I don’t see it happening, but I can’t totally dismiss it. Belichick would have Brady’s eventual successor, who can help immediately as a versatile asset, and would still have plenty of draft ammo to fill holes on the roster.
Now, let’s get to the good part. How would this deal shape the Jaguars?
Foles is the starting quarterback and now Coughlin has 11 draft picks to operate. He already had four picks in the first three rounds, thanks to trading defensive end Dante Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams for their highest third-round comp pick (No. 98) before last season’s trade deadline.
Here’s how this draft bonanza might look with seven picks in the first three rounds.
32. TE Irv Smith, Alabama
Why: The Iowa tandem of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are off the board, so Coughlin takes Smith (6-4, 241) to help fill the biggest void on the roster. Smith caught 44 passes for 710 yards with seven touchdowns last season before entering the draft following his third year.
38. WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Why: The Jaguars need a physical presence outside and Harry (6-4, 213) is the best on the board. Harry posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons with 22 touchdowns before leaving school early for the draft.
56. RT Kaleb McGary, Washington
Why: McGary (6-8, 324) started over 40 games at right tackle for the Huskies. He would battle last year’s fourth-round pick Will Richardson for Jermey Parnell’s expected-to-be-vacated spot.
64. RG Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
Why: The Jaguars need to boost the right side of the line with A.J. Cann likely departing in free agency. Deiter (6-6, 310) would be an immediate starter at right guard. He started 54 consecutive games for the Badgers (24 at left guard, 16 at center and 14 at left tackle).
69. RB Benny Snell, Kentucky
Why: Snell is a mature, lunch-pail power back that could appeal to Coughlin as Leonard Fournette’s backup. Snell (5-11, 225) ran for 3,873 yards and 48 touchdowns before declaring early for the draft.
98. QB Ryan Finley, North Carolina State
Why: Finley (6-4, 212) was highly thought of this time last year in NFL circles but has seen his stock dip. He would be expected to beat out current backup Cody Kessler and be a developmental project behind Foles.
101. TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College
Why: Sweeney (6-5, 260) would be a good compliment for Smith. He was a three-year starter for the Eagles, who caught 99 passes for 1,281 yards with 10 touchdowns in his career.
The offense is rebuilt with Foles and seven rookies drafted in the first three rounds.
The Jaguars would still have a fourth-round pick, a sixth and two sevenths to boost the defense. They would also be armed in 2020 with two first-round selections.
Hope you enjoyed the goofiness.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)