Have you ever sat and watched team highlights? I am not talking about your own team, but highlights of the other 31 teams in the NFL. Something that always bothered me is that the Jaguars are often times on the wrong side of those highlights. They are the ones being smashed up or smoked by wide receivers. The most common clip? David Garrard. On his butt. Underneath some huge guy like Albert Hayensworth.
We discovered very quickly how hard it was to get a football game started when there wasn’t anyone protecting the quarterback. Not only that, a run game couldn’t get established without Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew dodging three or four tackles to get beyond the line of scrimmage. With our offensive line on the injury list after the first game of the season, we didn’t have a chance.
So what did Gene Smith do?
He drafted two offensive tackles. Sure, he was going with the best play available philosophy. But Gene Smith likes the big uglies.
I know that to some it seems ludicrous that we didn’t draft Michael Crabtree. He was right there. We wouldn’t of moved to grab him. He was slipping quickly into our grasps. Lord knows we need a wide receiver like a college graduate needs a job.
I ask you do to this. Think back on last season. Then think back on the season before that. With a healthy offensive line, David Garrard threw three interceptions. He completed passes easily, even to people like Dennis Northcutt, Reggie Williams and Matt Jones. Sure, no one was what one would call a ‘play maker’ but the Jaguars were winning games. They were even winning playoff games!
Drafting for an offensive line is drafting for the future. There’s nothing sexy about drafting an offensive tackle. It is a safe pick. But they were the best player available and there’s no arguing that we didn’t need them.