Looking Ahead: Jaguars' 2011 Draft Needs

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  • DE: The Jaguars have exponentially improved their pass rush since last year. The recent emergence (held back by injuries) of Jeremy Mincey has really helped. Harvey, once a 1st round pick, has been relegated to the bench and a rotational role, as his production hasn’t improved since his rookie year. Kampman was the best FA signing the Jaguars have ever made on defense and was playing great until blowing out his previously uninjured knee. Austen Lane offers good size and a tenacious motor. Larry Hart has exceptional physical ability but needs to work on his bulk and technique in order to compensate for his lack of size. UDFA Aaron Morgan has good size and athletic ability, but needs to work on his bulk. He seems to have a very high ceiling.

*The Jaguars are extremely young at DE. They could probably stand to add at least another talented player into the mix.

  • DT: The Jaguars spent 3 picks in the last 2 drafts on DTs. Knighton and Alualu seem to be the real deal and have proven to be a very effective starting duo. D’Anthony Smith was placed on IR during training camp, but looked good up until his injury, the fear here is that he may have lost his explosion because it was an Achilles injury. Behind the three picks, there is UDFA Leger Douzable and UDFA Nate Collins. Douzable has played decently in rotational action and Collins hasn’t played yet, but seems to offer potential. C.J. Mosley is also in the mix and played sparingly last week. 2nd year man Dre Moore is on the PS and has intriguing size and physical skills.

*Behind Knighton and Alualu, the Jags face a uncertainty. The Jags could stand to draft another massive man to backup Knighton, as Smith seems to complement Alualu.

  • LB: So far this year, the LB’s have been average. Daryl Smith is the only player that I can say is safe in the LB corps. Smith is a consistent player who is plays well and consistently. Kirk Morrison seems to be slower than advertised but hasn’t been really awful. Justin Durant has all of the physical ability in the world, but needs to put it together on the field mentally. Cutrera offers upside with good size and speed. Allen has average size and speed but makes up for it with great instincts and awareness. PS has Alvin Bowen, an undersized LB and Slade, who I admittedly know nothing about. IR has Bosworth, Smith and Keiaho. Bosworth and Smith offering the most upside of that group.

*The Jaguars need another playmaking LB. The LB’s are cross-trained, so the best 3 should be on the field at any time.

  • CB: Mathis is an aging CB who, in his prime, offered shut down coverage, but has recently been very suspect in the passing game. Cox started the season off poorly and was understandably benched. He has since been reaffirmed as the starter and has played very well. He is the best tackler in the secondary in terms of wrapping up. The rest of the CB’s are Wheatley, Jones and Middleton. Middleton seems to have overtaken Jones in the Nickel set and offers upside. Jones, while being burned by Manning, played alright and has tons of physical talent. Wheatley could be the next Scott Starks, as he has amazing speed, small size, and is plagued by injuries. McGhee is a pure returner and would only get playing time if the defensive secondary was ravaged by injuries.

*The Jags need a true #1 CB or at least a very good #2. They cannot compete in the AFC South without a strong coverage group.

  • S: This is an intriguing group. Courtney Greene and Don Carey are the current starters. Greene has played pretty well in his starting tenure and has only had a few mental lapses on his resume so far, which is understandable considering its his first year starting. Don Carey has all the physical tools you could ask for, but seems to have issues wrapping up and has had some mental lapses, again, which is OK for a rookie (basically). If both continue to improve, this group could really have a whole different feel to it than at the beginning of the season. The backups are Sean Considine, a perrenial backup, and Brackenridge, a jack-of-all-trades type player. Only Brackenridge offers real upside. This group is better for having gotten rid of Nelson. Michael Hamlin was recently promoted from the practice squad and offers some upside. Terrell Whitehead is a small school UDFA who offers intriguing size and speed.

*The team would not be hurt by adding more players to the mix here. The biggest hole is at FS though, which means the Jags could look for a true center fielder.

  • K: Scobee has been red hot this year. Minus the Texans game, he hasn’t missed much.

*Kicker is good.

  • P: People complain, but Podlesh is being asked to directional punt. Just look at the return yards and the number of fair catches.

*Punter is good. You don’t draft punters either.

-  Jason Love

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  • zoltanfrombudapest

    First of all; hello Jason; welcome to B&T

    Second of all- thank you for breaking down the roster towards 2011. Great stuff; and I agree with your points. But you forgot to mention one factor- many Jaguars layers will be FA after this season. Marcedes Lewis; Mike Sims-Walker; Justin Durant; Kirk Morrison; Adam Podlesh; Sean Considine and both backup QBsEdwards and McCown.
    I doubt Gene will bring everybody back from them.

    I think Marcedes and Justin is a lock; the way they play. MSW is depending on how much he wants; I expect him being tender with a1st round pick. Morrison is a great guy; but I think if Gene can find a good MLB in the 1-2 rounds (I name it- Mark Herzlich from Booston College) he might be ut. It will be interesting to watch what happens with the 2 young backup QBs. If Gene is smart; he might can et extra low round ppicks for them; if he extend both guys.

    Now as our needs – my list is the following: CB (I think sadly Mathis will be the next great Jaguar who will leave the team next year); FS (I’m not sold on Carey; not at all….); a new LB; a new QB (he must be selected in the first 3 rounds!) and a DE (Harvey will be cut or traded after this season; and Jaguars must find the replacement of Aaron Kampman.) Depend on what happens with MSW; a new WR also needed. But I like the Thomas; Dillard; Hill trio If MSW will play for this team next year the WR group will be fine. If not; then Gene must find a new guy in the first 3-4 rounds as well. Remember we have 2 4th round picks next year right now.

    • thehof

      Zoltan – great followup analysis, as usual. A lot of people say QB in the 1st round but I’m more interested in CB there. I think there will be great value for QB’s well into the 2nd round and maybe the 3rd (where they’re now projecting Ponder). What I really want for Christmas (in April) is a CRUSHING linebacker – a James Harrison type. A relentless player that other young guys can look at his play and say “I need to be doing that”, setting the tone for the rest of the defense.

      I’d also be fine with a DE, interior O-line, or even an additional DT in the first few rounds.

      • James

        Sorry Man but I think CB in the first wouldn’t be the way to go. Mathis and Cox are a pretty good 1 and 2 we need depth and I don’t think you take a 3rd CB in the first round. The people I like in the first round for the Jaguars are Rahim Moore S UCLA, Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa, etc.

    • prerogative 1

      There are some great answers coming from both you and Gene Smith and those are great guys you name on FA, and I agree with your choice of Durant and Lewis also I would throw in the punter Podlesh, however let cut to the chase and that is again Wayne Weaver has given JDR one more year to get this team to aleast a play off birth no one said he had to win, just get there, problem if this coach did not do it in 8 years what is he going to do in 9 years, let us not forget Garrard is in his 10th year also. Now here is what got to happen and you doin’t have to be on the Jaguars pay roll to figure this out, Gene Smith has at this point did a great job replacing Shack Harris if you know football and you listen they said they would be aggressive in free agency, that is a no brainer they must be aggressive in free agency, why? if you are going to save JDR job in Jacksonville for the future you have to put a big play veteran reciever with the core of reciever you have giving Garrard some one who truly can stretch the field and have a balance attack, we can not go into next year with team continuing to put 8 and 9 in the box and MJD making statements that he does not care if you put 13 in the box, that not real football, real offences are balanced attacks, otherwise to add to the mix in the draft politices saids Gene Smith had better draft a quaterback, and make no mistake if Arkansas quaterback RM is there Gene will pull the trigger, and the reason being they would never trade up knowing thre are teams wish they were picking 16th, so the Jags will stay put at 16th there will be some great DE to choose from and that is largely because of Kampman being old and Derrick Harvey is nothing short of a bus in the AFC South you build your team to stop the best team and that is the Colts of course we must buld a consistant pass rush thank you Derrick Harvey so free agency and drafting a quaterback is at the top of Gene Smith agenda if not he will be on a bus headed up out of here, being aggressive in free agency will put balance on this young team, you see what Aran Kampman did for our pass rush and doin’t forget D’Anthony is healthy to add to the front 7 in short it is all about the pass rush, simply put if you have a real pass rush and a good sceem to get to the quaterback the front 7 can make the corners look great and let us not forget if Gene Smith is really smart he will take a center to beef up the protection for Garrard and that is a safe pick knowing we must put point on the board this season, Prerogative..1 out.

  • jason

    I agree. I completely overlooked FAs. GM Gene will get the good players back one way or another. Be it through tenders, franchise or other tags. I have no doubt he will resign the best people.

    If I had to rank the needs of the Jaguars it would be
    CB, QB, OG/C, LB, FS, DE, WR, DT, OT, FB, RB, P, K

  • jagsoldier

    Welcome to B&T Jason. Great article, Ive been waiting for a roster assesment for awhile now, hint hint Zoltan.lol. Anyway, I agree with tall the needs everyone has posted. If Gene can keep Durant, MSW, and Lewis then I wont be upset about the other guys leaving. Next draft is going to be a good one because Gene has been collecting picks and he might be trading some guys for more, ie Mathis and Morrison. I have a question for all of you. What draft have you liked better? 2009 or 2010.

    • thehof

      Depends on what the pass rush looks like in 1-2 years and I wanna see deji and scotty giving us great field position and 1-2 return tds per year. But right now ’09 is looking like a historic jaguars draft class that will be tough to beat.

  • jason

    As of right now, the 2009 draft is better. Starting DT, 2 starting OT’s, 1 starting WR, 1 very good back up TE, 1 good back up RB, Starting CB, 2 WRs with potential

    It really isn’t close to be honest.

    • jagsoldier

      I like 2009 as well. We had more picks that year and everyone of those players shows promise. But I am big on Alualu, Deji, and Lane. I need to see some more out of Hart and we havent seen anything from McGee and Smith yet but I am confidant that they will be contributers next year

  • brobles

    love the article… i like how you actually tell how we need offensive talent in the draft… we keep draft interior lineman, the “we need a good dline to stop the big passers in the division” stements is overused and you need good secondary to stop the passers, which i feel we dont have. How bout offensive firepower to outscore the opponents? we have a great running game and solid corps if we actually threw the ball. i would love us to draft a Deandre brown in the later rounds as a big fast target. and if jake locker falls to second round id like to get him there, if not i like tyrod taylor in say the 4th.hes fast, strong arm,accuracys improved and played undercenter more than all these spread qbs.with some technique refining hes the closest thing to vick in a while.we shud get a qb who can move the pocket, like him since our lines pass blocking is still suspect, so instead of stock piling oline get a more mobile qb.I’d like to see a secondary pick with our first round if not a qb.people talk about offensive 1st rounders not working out but how many early round lineman picks have worked out for us lately????? we need offensive firepower to SCORE with these teams nd balance out our top 5 nfl rush attack.bring in an exciting player