Five of the eight players drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2013 NFL Draft played in every possible game in college. Luke Joeckel, Johnathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz, Ace Sanders, and Jeremy Harris were all as durable as possible during their collegiate career.
Luke Jockel and Dwayne Gratz may be the most obvious durable changes from years past.
This is crucial for the Jaguars. Not only does Joeckel settle a weak right tackle position, but he offers a durable, consistent presence there that the Jaguars haven’t seen since Tony Pashos started all 16 games in 2008. The Jaguars waiting too long to see if Eben Britton could ever return to his rookie form (15 games started) only to discover that the right tackle/guard continued to regress.
Gratz may provide the biggest chance for the Jaguars. At cornerback, presumably one of the starters, he will provide a durable presence in the spot once occupied by oft-injured corner Derek Cox. Cox only played in 18 games over the past two seasons, making a consistent presence at at least one cornerback spot all the more crucial for the Jaguars. If Gratz can play close to Cox’s level for a full 16 games, then he is a superb replacement for the old third round pick.
It will be important to get durable players on the field for the Jaguars, especially considering the inability of ex-GM Gene Smith to find such players during his four year tenure. It looks like new GM Dave Caldwell has done a good job of finding such players but we really won’t know until the season gets going. There are always freak plays and accidents on the football field and I hope none of them happen to the Jaguars, especially since they have made an effort to get tougher, more durable players.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims