This year’s NFL draft by the Jaguars was further proof how little anyone outside the inner circle knows what the hell is going on and what the upper brass truly thinks. The same likely is true for the other 31 franchises as well.
Understand I’m not being critical of the Jaguars. We’ll find out in due time if General Manager Dave Caldwell made good choices.
Let’s just say the expectations of the fans and media didn’t exactly mesh with what the Jaguars did.
Let’s breakdown, in some kind order, what we, the fans and media, think are the Jaguars’ biggest needs and compare that to what the team did in the draft.
No. 1 – Help in the secondary. Based on what the team did we obviously had no idea how badly Caldwell felt the team needed secondary help. Five of the team’s eight draft picks play cornerback or safety. That seems like overkill when there are so many holes elsewhere.
No. 2 – Pass rushers. None drafted. To show a further lack of interest in pass rushers, only one of 23 undrafted rookies, Western Michigan’s Paul Hazel, excelled as a pass rusher in college. Maybe Caldwell thinks Jason Babin, Andre Branch, Jermey Mincey, John Chick and Austen Lane are satisfactory.
No. 3 – Offensive line. It was a no brainer to take Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel with the No. 2 overall pick. Joeckel is rated as a future Pro Bowler and was at or near the top of everyone’s draft board. The Jaguars did not draft another offensive lineman although they signed three in the undrafted rookie class.
No. 4 – Quarterback. Even though quarterbacks kept being ignored (only three taken in the first three rounds), the Jaguars chose not to draft a QB. They did sign two undrafted QBs, but the message the team sent is clear: Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne will battle for the starting job.
To further show how little we know what Caldwell and Company are thinking, the general pre-draft thinking was one position where the team didn’t need help is wide receiver. Not so fast, Armchair Expert.
The Jaguars drafted South Carolina’s Ace Sanders in Round 4 as much as a kick returner as a wide receiver. As for taking Michigan’s Denard Robinson in Round 5, who knows what position the former quarterback will play? He actually is listed as a running back by the Jaguars, but most draft lists had him as a wide receiver. Whatever his role, he is a project and his selection was unexpected because Caldwell has shown no sign as a risk-taker. Robinson is a risk, albeit a 5th round risk.
The one common denominator throughout the Jaguars draft was speed, and Caldwell has maintained from day one the team needed to get faster. What grade should we give the Jaguars’ draft? Who knows? Clearly we have no clue what Caldwell and Company truly are thinking.
Return to: Lamm at Large Blog