9:22am: Mark Long of The Associated Press (on Twitter) hears that the Jags won’t be taking Fowler at No. 3.
9:09am: People in football circles believe that the Jaguars are torn between Florida standout Dante Fowler Jr. and receiver Amari Cooper, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The thinking is that coach Gus Bradley wants Fowler while GM Dave Caldwell wants Cooper.
Recently, one AFC personnel executive, who claims he identified Blake Bortles as Jacksonville’s target prior to draft night last year, told Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports that he believes Jacksonville is locked in on the Alabama receiver this time around.
“I think the third spot could shock people [again],” the source said. “I think they like Cooper more than they are letting on. You hear things and they have been pretty good about what’s getting out there. It’s a lot like it was last year.”
The Jags, having selected two receivers early in last year’s draft, would seem to have greater needs at other positions. While Jacksonville certainly wants to give Bortles the weapons necessary to succeed, the team has Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns under contract, and landed Julius Thomas in free agency this offseason. A defensive playmaker such as Fowler (or USC star Leonard Williams) would seem to be a better fit.
While selecting Cooper would raise some eyebrows around the league, Caldwell said recently that the team needs one difference-making player rather than two solid contributors, and the young receiver fits that bill.