By: Rob Johnson (@RJ1452)
Following the selection of offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the Jaguars were singularly minded, in a different direction, for the rest of the draft. The choices on Friday and Saturday were based on highlights - preventing them and providing them.
Rounds 2 and 3 brought the prevention side, as John Cyprien, a 6'0" 217 lbs free safety from Florida International was selected. He was followed by Dwayne Gratz, a 5'11" 201 lbs cornerback from Connecticut.
Gratz was the first of five players drafted from UConn, which was three more players than were drafted from The Ohio State University. All but one of the Huskies went to AFC South teams, including a tight end and a defensive end to the Texans as well as cornerback to the Titans.
Rounds 4 and 5 brought the potential for Jags highlights on the soon-to-be-erected monster video board. Ace Sanders, a 5'7" 173 lbs wide receiver from South Carolina will try to become another target for Blaine Gabbert (or whomever the quarterback will be in the fall). Sanders is part of the newer trend in the NFL that is allowing wide receivers under six feet tall to be considered top playmakers. The former Gamecock is also a punt returner and may earn a job returning kickoffs for the Jaguars in 2013.
Denard Robinson, the all-around athlete from Michigan, who is now listed as a running back, could be the player to make the biggest impact next season. His ability to line up at multiple positions, including quarterback, makes Robinson a great pick for the Jags. I expect to see him returning punts and kickoffs also, although with the new rules, kickoffs are becoming less important. Perhaps, the full-time punt returner will be whichever player (Sanders or Robinson) sees fewer offensive plays.
Rounds 6 and 7 brought more big secondary players. Josh Evans, a 6'1" 207 lbs free safety from Florida should be a fan favorite at training camp. He was followed in the draft by Jeremy Harris, a 6'2" 181 lbs cornerback from New Mexico State, and Demetrius McCray, a 6'1" 187 lbs cornerback from Appalachian State.
McCray is a Division I-AA player (I still can't bring myself to write or say FCS) that hasn't played against elite competition. It could be argued that he and Harris will have a hard time making the team. Although, Harris may have an advantage. The new Jaguars regime may be one of the early teams to recognize New Mexico State as the new Cornerback U, especially with the Jags' new defensive backs coach, DeWayne Walker, being the former head coach at New Mexico State.
In 2012, Jonte Green was drafted in Round 6 by Detroit and started five games for the Lions. In 2011, Davon House was drafted by Green Bay and slowly worked his way into the Packers secondary by also starting five games last season. The success of those two, and Coach Walker, help Harris' chance at wearing a Jaguars uniform in 2013.
The free agent frenzy began immediately after the draft and could continue well into the summer in one form or another. As of the writing of this blog, the Jags have signed 23 free agents. Multiple positions are represented, and there are two notable players.
The two quarterbacks signed are Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers, brother of Aaron, and Arizona's Matt Scott. Typically, undrafted quarterbacks are training camp arms with slim chances at making teams. However, there may be a different scenario in Jacksonville.
If Rodgers shows any of the skills that his older brother displayed that led to the largest contract in NFL history, the Vanderbilt grad may not have to rely on his education to make money. Scott, on the other hand, has the advantage of familiarity with Jags' new quarterback coach Frank Scelfo. At this point, I think one of them has a good chance to be on the team when training camp breaks.
As I Tweeted Saturday, the NFL is still using the old Jaguars helmet on the draft website. I know that some elements of Jaguars.com has the old logo, and there is even an advertisement with the old helmet. However, the NFL should have the new helmet, or at least the new logo, on its draft website.
Speaking of the helmet, it is not growing on me at all.
Return to: 1010XL Jaguars Blog Blog