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Around the AFC South: Draft Day 2

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Round 2 – Pick 34 overall // Cam Robinson T

Round 3 – Pick 68 overall // Dawuane Smoot DE

Day two for the Jags brought them a tackle that they hope will help solidify the offensive line in front of Blake Bortles and new RB Leonard Fournette. The Jags have had multiple opportunities to draft a replacement for Bortles and have passed every time. This is clearly setting up for a make or break year for him as the 2018 draft should have better prospects at the QB position to choose from. If he can’t succeed with a better offensive line and the top RB in the draft, it may finally force the Jags front office to move on.

In addition to Robinson, the Jags picked up Dawuane Smoot. Smoot didn’t make the jump in 2016 that many were looking for—recording 56 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 batted pass versus in 2015 when he had 40/8/3/2 in those categories. The concern surrounding Smoot, and what probably pushed him down boards, is that he looks to be more disruptive than productive (according to WalterFootball) and he has a bad habit of rushing too wide and ending up behind the QB (according to CBS’ Dane Brugler). Smoot will be a project for the Jags—a situational pass rusher to begin his NFL career.

Houston Texans:

Round 2 – Pick 57 overall // Zach Cunningham LB

Round 3 – Pick 89 overall // D’Onta Foreman RB

Cunningham joins the Texans as a player who could play outside or inside as a linebacker. The Texans website is listing the consensus 2016 All-American as an ILB, though some draft profiles looked at him more as an OLB in a NFL 4-3 scheme. Cunningham makes a lot of tackles. I mean, ‘125 last season at Vanderbilt’ a lot. The knock is that his hight and frame (6’3” – 234) cause him to miss tackles because his pad level can wind up being too high resulting in the lack of the necessary power to bring runners down at the point of attack leading to yards after first contact. But his range and athleticism on the field should have him competing for playing time quickly on an already stacked Texans defense.

Foreman led the nation in 2016 with 2,028 rushing yards (120+ yards in all 11 games he played last season). He’s not going to be a quick or elusive runner in the NFL, he’s simply going to run people over. His shortcomings in pass blocking (late to react to/anticipate rushers), receiving (7 catches for 75 yards in 2016), and ball security (6 fumbles—1 every 55 touches) keep him from being the every down workhorse that his size and stamina indicate he can be. He should find some definite playing time on the field spelling Lamar Miller.

Tennessee Titans:

Round 3 – Pick 72 overall // Taywan Taylor WR

Round 3 – Pick 100 overall // Jonnu Smith TE

The quest to build an offense around Marcus Mariota continued on day two for the Titans. The Titans traded with New England to jump up from the 83rd pick to grab Taylor at 72. Taylor thrived in a high volume offense, so this move points to the Titans opening everything up for Mariota and letting him throw the ball a lot this season. Expect to see Taylor fight to see time in the slot so he can get the ball in his hands quickly and let his speed and quickness go to work on defenses. Coming out of Conference USA, there are some “level of college competition” concerns, but Taylor did have nine catches for 121 yards against Alabama to show that the potential is there.

A pass catching TE who doesn’t trust their hands. That doesn’t sound great. According to NFL.com, in addition to Smith needing improvement in his route running (as most college athletes do), he also dropped 10 passes (while catching 78) over the past two seasons. His speed up the field is the clear appeal for the Titans offense as they look to create as many matchup problems as possible for Mariota to exploit.