I have been reading and hearing a lot about the Jaguars draft intentions and to be honest, most of it is laughable.
Let’s start with Mel Kiper. Mel seems to feel Jason Pierre-Paul would be the Jaguar choice if the Jaguars are as wise as he is. Jason Pierre-Paul has produced maybe one half of a college football season at South Florida. Thanks for the wisdom Mel, we will discuss this choice later.
Of course, every mock draft had Tim Tebow coming to the Jaguars in round one because of some conspiracy the owners are supposed to have agreed to that would allow Tim to fall to the Jaguars. Somehow, the home town scenario and save the franchise became the common agreed to truth. Even Al Davis was supposed to have signed off with an inside secret handshake. OK. Let me be clear. If you believed this, even for a moment, don’t go to the poker room just after payday. If you are at the poker table and you don’t know who the sucker is, get up and walk away, you are the sucker.
The latest inane statements came on Big Cat Country radio as Jon interviewed Dan from Mocking the Draft. Dan declared that Gene stated he would “draft the best defensive end available in the first round and then anyone from Florida because it would sell a couple of hundred tickets”. Jon does a great job on BCC radio, but Dan from Mocking the Draft was not a highlight moment.
I will tell you what is on Gene Smith’s mind when he approaches the draft. How do I know? He told us. Gene will draft the Best Available Player, period. It has nothing to do with need of the team. It has everything to do with who will help the team win in the future for many years to come.
For the first round draft choice, Gene will want to be sure he has drafted someone who can help the team. He won’t take flyer on Jason Pierre-Paul or Derrick Morgan or Carlos Dunlap unless he is so solid in his conviction that the guy can play at a high level. He will want to be sure the guy he selects won’t take the money and check out. Gene likes and believes in both talent and character and will be very sure of his choice.
Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t have a body of work to give anyone assurance he can produce at a high NFL level. Derrick Morgan got eaten up by the Iowa offensive line. Carlos Dunlap may not be the BAP at 10. Tim Tebow is not expected to save the franchise. Gene will want a more solid choice than these guys represent. He is simply not going out on a limb for guy when he doesn’t have to. There are plenty of good choices available.
Let’s start with sacking the quarterback. Elvis Dummerville was selected at position 126. So was Jared Allen. Dwight Freeney was the 11th overall selection. Lemarr Woodley was the 46th overall selection and Will Smith of New Orleans was the 18th overall pick. Those are your top five sack leaders of 2009. In short, if Gene Smith doesn’t believe any of the top three defensive ends are BAP, he will pass and address the defensive end position later in the draft or in free agency. Great defensive ends do not always come from the first round and there is no urgency by the Jaguars to select one in round one.
A number 10 draft position will command $15 million guaranteed. If that player is guaranteed the money, Gene will want the same guarantee of performance. You don’t need to look at needs of the team or at conspiracy theories. Just look for the most solid for sure football player available and your head will be where Gene Smith’s head is at. The most probable selection will be a senior playing a strong role for his team at a high level of competition and demonstrating a love for football. Someone with a long bright future ahead of him as a Jaguar.
With that criteria, I would not be surprised to see C.J. Spiller, Golden Tate or Rolando McClain as the 10th player selected by the Jaguars. Barring a trade down, the first round selection will be a solid play maker choice and will have nothing to do with need or college he graduated from.