There were plenty of people that thought linebacker Myles Jack would hear his name called early on Thursday night, but uncertainty about the health of his knee and Jack’s own admission that microfracture surgery might be in his future conspired to keep him on the board into the second round.
The Jaguars ended Jack’s slide after trading the 38th and 146th picks to the Ravens for the 36th overall pick in a move that General Manager Dave Caldwell knows carries a lot of risk. Caldwell also knows that the Jaguars need to take the occasional risk in order to get where they want to go.
“We want to be great, and we have to take chances,” Caldwell said. “We’ve been pretty conservative in our time here with our philosophy in the draft and some of our free-agent acquisitions. There comes a point in time where we have to close the talent gap. You’re not going to do that without taking risks. This is a calculated risk. … Hopefully he’s here for 10-to-12 years.”
Jacksonville is trying to take the same kind of strides on defense that they made on offense last season and they went a safer route with the fifth overall pick by drafting cornerback Jalen Ramsey. They added pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue in the third round and will get 2015 first-rounder Dante Fowler back from a knee injury to go with free agent acquisitions Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara.
Jack’s own knee issue creates uncertainty about how long he’ll be able to play, but there’s less doubt in the short term and that should help the Jaguars’ overall effort to move up in the standings right away.