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