Dec 26, 2011; Shreveport, LA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive end Quinton Coples (90) looks down the field during the second half against the Missouri Tigers in the Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Missouri won 41-24. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Why the Jags Will Pick a Receiver in Round One

Editor’s Note:  This article is from a new B&T writing team member, Antonio.  His speculation on the Jags’ ambitions are some of the best around.  Please welcome him to the community.

In 2012, I predict the Jaguars will draft Wide Receiver Michael Floyd, Notre Dame.

Why?

The Jaguars have had trouble with receivers in the last few years. Since the departure of Jimmy Smith, The Jags have drafted receivers like Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones, and Mike Sims-Walker. Prior to 2009, they gave some production but ultimately did not pan out. In 2009 they drafted receivers Mike Thomas and Jarett Dillard who are still currently on the roster, with Thomas being inconsistent due to a stagnant offense in 2011, and Dillard seeing a stretch of injuries.

ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay believe the Jags will take the 7th pick and draft Quinton Coples / Melvin Ingram respectively, as do many NFL.com analysts.

Yet drafting a defensive end doesn’t seem to fit. Fact is that Matt Roth has signed to the Bengals after giving the Jags 3.5 sacks this past season. Aaron Kampman has totaled 4 sacks in two seasons as multiple ACL injuries have set him back. This would lead us to believe a supposed glaring need a defensive end.

Looking back at the Jaguars 2010-2011 campaign, the Jags were below average in sack totals ranking 25th in the entire league with 31 sacks, tied with the Carolina Panthers. The leaders were Minnesota and Philadelphia with 50. Multiple teams the Jags faced this past season tallied similar sack totals.

Yet the Jaguars still finished 6th overall in terms of overall defense due to free agent pick ups such as Dawan Landry, Clint Session, and Paul Posluszny. The defense is also under rated and would have finished higher if the Jaguars had a more productive offense that was shouldered by Maurice Jones-Drew. Yet the defense had to take the field more often because the offense was stagnant.

Michael Floyd's big bigger frame should help in Gabbert's development. Source: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Blaine Gabbert took the reins of the offense for Luke McCown following a 4-interception performance by McCown against the Jets. Gabbert is one of the youngest quarterbacks to play the game, with limited experience collegiately and a few weeks of looking and practicing in the NFL. By having a bigger target like Floyd, 6’3” 220lbs, to pair with Laurent Robinson, Marcedes Lewis, and Mike Thomas, Gabbert would be more productive and experienced.

Although many analysts seem to say Gabbert has no pocket presence, as he is too shy to throw the ball, its not hard to see why he would throw the ball when every weapon is either heavily covered due to lack of separation or dropping the pass.

New management would also dictate a different approach to the team’s organization and function.  As of recently, the Jags new owner Shahid Khan ordered his team to pursue Tebow, something former owner Wayne Weaver and GM Gene Smith did not previously attempt.

Further, Gene Smith has put a premium on having high character players that were leaders in college without off the field issues. Yet Gene Frenette’s article titled, “Preaching to the choirboys isn’t all Jags GM is about”, states otherwise.

Contrary to his reputation, Smith says it’s a bit extreme to think he wants a locker room full of choir boys. Yes, he wants high-character players, but doesn’t necessarily disqualify those who have a red flag on their resume.

 

Michael Floyd has had three off the field incidents related to alcohol while playing for Notre Dame, yet it seems his draft stock has not taken a hit. In an article published by SI,, Floyd was faced with non-stop questions at the combine about these incidents and stood his ground, admitting to his mistakes and said he has made efforts to change his lifestyle and grow from his mistakes.

Thus I believe the Jags will draft the more pressing issue of Wide Receiver by drafting Michael Floyd in the first round. There is plenty of talent in this year’s draft at the position. Floyd would be a great pick up that would allow further draft picks to solidify the offensive/defensive line and linebacker depth.

– Antonio Furgiuele

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Tags: Blaine Gabbert Clint Session Dawan Landry Gene Smith Jacksonville Jaguars Laurent Robinson Marcedes Lewis Michael Floyd Mike Thomas Paul Posluszny Shahid Khan

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