Jaguars use NFL draft to build for future, not this fallJacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan fields questions from the media on his interest in buying Wembley Stadium in London, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. The English Football Association has received an offer from Khan of about 600 million pounds ($840 million) for the national soccer stadium, which would continue to host England games and major cup finals after a sale. Wembley has staged regular-season NFL games since 2007 and Khan's Florida-based franchise started playing at the 90,000-capacity stadium in 2013, the year Khan bought London soccer club Fulham. (Bob SelfThe Florida Times-Union via AP)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars used the NFL draft to build for the future, not necessarily this fall.
They used every pick on down-the-road starters instead of filling pressing needs.
It's a luxury rarely seen in Jacksonville, which made the AFC championship game in January after a decade of failure and futility. The Jags return 18 of 22 starters from a team that led the NFL in rushing and ranked second in total defense.
Top executive Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell liked the team's makeup enough that they actually made a best-player-available pick in the first round when they added Florida's Taven Bryan to a defensive line that includes Pro Bowlers Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Yannick Ngakoue.
''We want the competition. We want it as much as we can get it,'' Coughlin said following the three-day draft Saturday. ''That's the one thing in our game that makes everybody better. These people were drafted to be football players, whether it's a starter or whatever. It takes everybody.''
Bryan was the first of several Jacksonville draft picks expected to be backups as rookies.
The Jaguars envision LSU receiver DJ Chark (second round), Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison (third) and North Carolina State right tackle Will Richardson (fourth) as eventual starters, but neither of them is considered a plug-and-play guy.
''If they come in and play that is a bonus, too,'' Caldwell said. ''We are not just going to say, 'Hey, take it easy for the next two years.' Those guys have to come in and compete. ... Competition is great. The more depth you can have and be prepared for any situation then the better off you will be.''
Here are some other things to know about Jacksonville's draft, which included Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (sixth round), Wisconsin linebacker Leon Jacobs (seventh) and Mississippi State punter Logan Cooke (seventh).
TAKING A CHANCE: The Jaguars took a chance with the 129th pick on Richardson, who was suspended twice in three years at North Carolina State.
The 6-foot-6, 306-pound Richardson started 30 games at right tackle for the Wolfpack. He was suspended for the first two games last season for what he said was a marijuana-related violation. As a redshirt freshman in November 2015, he was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated. He was suspended one game for that and served a university-imposed suspension for the 2016 spring semester.
''Ideally, we don't like any baggage,'' Caldwell said. ''We don't like to have to answer these questions on a day like today, but we also understand some of these players have a past and hopefully they grow from their past and become fine, upstanding citizens. The time that his discipline ended to this point and time in the draft and all the research and background checks and everything we've done on him has led us to believe that hopefully that's behind him now. Time will tell, and it's up to him to make sure that he holds his end of the bargain up.''
Richardson will compete at right tackle with 31-year-old Jermey Parnell, and if he doesn't win the job, would be the team's swing tackle in 2018.
DEVELOPMENTAL QB: Jacksonville added a third quarterback when it drafted Nebraska's Tanner Lee in the sixth round. Lee will compete with Cody Kessler for the backup spot behind Blake Bortles. Coach Doug Marrone said the team would be open to keeping three QBs on the roster.
The 6-foot-4 Lee has a big arm, but he completed just 57.5 percent of his passes in 2017, with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He transferred to Nebraska after three years at Tulane. Jaguars offensive assistant Eric Price served as Tulane's offensive coordinator during Lee's time on campus.
''We know the kid very well, his makeup, his intelligence, his drive, his attitude,'' Caldwell said. ''He's going to fit in well with Blake and Cody and that quarterback room. He's an accurate passer when he has time like most of them. He was under a lot of duress this year at Nebraska. We feel like he can come in and he's got a high ceiling because of the arm strength at the accuracy and the quick release.''
STILL NEEDED: The one position the Jaguars failed to address in the draft was tight end. They parted ways with veteran Marcedes Lewis in March, leaving them to rely on Austin Seferian-Jenkins in 2018.
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