JACKSONVILLE -- When Tom Coughlin was in his first stint with the Jaguars as head coach and personnel chief, he rubber-stamped the pick of Fred Taylor as the Jaguars' first-round pick, ninth overall in the 1998 draft. It proved to be a good choice. Taylor went on to become the franchise's all-time rushing leader and became the second player to be selected to the team's Hall of Fame, the Pride of the Jaguars.
Coughlin, now executive vice president of football operations, is hopeful that he has made a similarly wise selection with the drafting of Leonard Fournette with the Jaguars' first pick in this year's draft. Coughlin has a history of wanting his teams to be physical and one that can run the ball. They have such a package in Fournette. At 6-foot-1, 228 pounds, Fournette was known for his physical style of play at LSU.
"He's special, he's special," Coughlin said. "We need playmakers. We need people to put the ball in the end zone. We need to do something, as it has been said, about balance. We need to do something about creating a better situation where the quarterback doesn't have the entire game on his shoulders."
Round 1/4 -- Leonard Fournette, RB, 6-0, 228, Louisiana State
It was a no-brainer for the Jaguars to jump at the Fournette selection. For a team with the worst running attack in the league since the 2012 season, Fournette brings an added dimension to the Jaguars' offense that is badly needed. The Jaguars failed to convert on numerous third-down, short-yardage situations the last couple of years, but that could be a thing of the past now with Fournette. He's a strong, powerful force who at 228 will be tough to stop on short-yardage plays.
Round 2/34 - Cam Robinson, T, 6-6, 310, Alabama
It's the perfect pick to complement the Jaguars' first pick in Fournette. The offensive line needs upgrading though the Jaguars now have two talented players (Branden Albert and Robinson) competing at the same position. Robinson is a beast who had the benefit of playing against some of the top defensive ends in the country on a weekly basis. The Jaguars wanted Robinson bad enough that they gave up a sixth-round pick to move up one spot as they feared some other team might do the same thing.
Round 3/68 - Dawuane Smoot, DE, 6-3, 255, Illinois
Smoot was a value pick in the third round for the Jaguars. They have put added emphasis on re-building the D-line, letting seasoned veterans Tyson Alualu and Roy Miller walk and strengthening this position through free agency and the draft. Smoot is the third defensive end that the Jaguars have drafted in the first three rounds of the last three drafts. The Jaguars like his tenacity and physical talent. He played 15 pounds lighter as a senior but will probably add weight to combat bigger opposing offensive linemen in the NFL.
Round 4/110 - Dede Westbrook, WR, 6-0, 178, Oklahoma
This pick surprised a number of people. Westbrook had just one good year with the Sooners in which he caught 80 passes for over 1,500 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best receiver and vaulted him to fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. But Westbrook also has off-the-field issues that will accompany him to the league, meaning he'll be monitored closely by Jaguars and NFL personnel. He'll need to be squeaky clean throughout his professional career.
Round 5/148 - Blair Brown, LB, 5-11, 238, Ohio
Led the Bobcats with 128 tackles last season and was named first team All-Mid-American Conference. Had 15 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks with a forced fumble. Played four seasons for the Bobcats including a starting role in his last three seasons. Has played at both the Will and Mike linebacker spots and will add depth to a thin linebackers group with the Jaguars. Will likely be a big contributor on special teams his first season.
Round 7/222 - Jalen Myrick, CB, 5-10, 205, Minnesota
Solid cornerback who started all 13 games as a senior and had 11 pass breakups and one interception for the Gophers his senior year. Just as valuable on special teams where he returned 13 kickoffs for 287 yards and nine punts for 44 yards. As a sophomore he was second in the Big Ten with a 28.2-yard kick return average (18 returns for 508 yards, including a return of 100 yards for a score). He's a perfect fit for special teams play for the Jaguars who could fill in at any of the secondary spots. What stands out most for Myrick is his 4.28 speed in the 40.
Round 7/240 - Marquez Williams, FB, 6-1, 280, Miami
A surprise pick for the Jaguars who have gone without a fullback the past couple of seasons. But with an added emphasis on the running game with the drafting of Leonard Fournette, there will be more attention to the running attack. The thought of Fournette running behind Williams is bound to give opposing coaches headaches when considering that's over 500 pounds coming at you. Williams played in all 13 games for Miami last year, starting five contests. He won't likely be a starter for the Jaguars but will be called upon along with Fournette on third down, short situation plays.