We are spending time looking at the job Gene Smith is doing rebuilding the Jaguars. In Part I we looked at the offensive line and the defensive secondary. In Part II, let’s look at the defensive line and receivers.
A General Manager has five things they can do to build a better team. They can maximize the first round draft pick to find a top tier NFL player. He can find gems in the late rounds. He can evaluate and bring in great free agents, he can trade players, and he can motivate existing players to be better.
I can’t think of anything Gene hasn’t done to improve the defensive line. In terms of free agents, I can’t think of a better free agent than Aaron Kampman. In terms of first round draft choices, Tyson Alualu may not work out, but I am not betting on it. He looks like a good find. In terms of gems in later rounds, Terrance Knighton is the best. Larry Hart may develop in two years to be a very good sack monster. The only thing we can fault is not finding a trade partner for John Henderson, but he tried.
Overall: Nothing has been left off the table to improve this line. Four draft choices and a top free agent shows the dedication. We just need production.
In Gene We Trust? Absolutely. This was an A++ effort and talent evaluation. Gene seems to know defensive line quality when he sees it.
Gene believed that nobody was better than Matt Jones. He was right. Mike Sims-Walker was there when Gene took over, but he did bring in Tory Holt. He picked Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard and Tiquan Underwood and Zack Miller. We have seen only glimpses of hope in these guys, but we see no red flags in any of them. As Jaguar fans, we are actually excited about the offense.
Overall: I think we moved from a dead offense to one we think can score. It seems life has been returned to the receiving corps. We look like we are moving up.
In Gene We Trust? I think so. The receivers he has brought in look fantastic. I would have liked Riley Cooper in the later rounds, but other than that. I can’t see any errors in judgement. We haven’t seen the production and the strength isn’t as strong as the defensive line, so we give Gene a “B” for revitalizing the receiving corps.
Gene missed good opportunities on the offensive line and defensive secondary.
He hasn’t missed anything on the defensive line and very little in the receivers.
Next time we will look at the linebackers and offensive backfield. Then we will stop and see how we feel about the entire rebuilding effort.
- Terry O’Brien