“Absolutely,” Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell said when asked about the team getting faster from the draft.
Speed was a major focus for the Jags as they came into the 2013 NFL Draft shorthanded on defense with more than a few holes elsewhere as well. Caldwell know what he wanted heading into the draft and he went out there and got it. “We need some speed and some explosiveness here,” Caldwell said.
Explosiveness doesn’t get any more obvious than fourth and fifth round picks Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson. Sanders fills a need as a returner and also offers the shifty, quick plays that the Jaguars needed to make their offense more competitive. Robinson, who doesn’t really have a set position in the NFL, offers explosiveness, explosiveness, and more explosiveness. He’s listed as a running back for the Jaguars but he’s really a guy you just have to get the ball to. Whether that comes on runs, passes, or a wildcat it doesn’t really matter because he is a player defensive coordinators must account for now.
Kick returner and punt returner were holes that Robinson and Sanders figure to fill, but speed came in the way of safety Jonathan Cyprien and cornerback Dwayne Gratz as well. Gratz isn’t going to beat Dee Milliner off the line, but he has the “juice” that head coach Gus Bradley was looking for. He met personally with Cyprien and Gratz before the draft and both of them had traits he wanted, giving the Jaguars a quick-to-the-ball secondary that can lay the wood when they got to the ball carrier.
The Jaguars got faster and better in the 2013 NFL Draft and it’s tough to not see it. This draft was the embodiment of Bradley’s excitable, energetic personality. The speed is prevalent and the “juice” the team stocked in young players is going to be something special on the field.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims