BOOK IT: 5 Things I Think about the Jaguars, Post-Draft Edition
- 1.) There will not be a quarterback controversy between Blaine Gabbert and David Garrard. Despite the intricate stories the media will weave about quarterback battles, the roar of jaded the populace calling for Garrard’s head, and the pressure on Del Rio to either win now with Garrard or put Gabbert in to use him as a vocational body shield, David Garrard will be your quarterback for the entirety of the 2011 season, barring injury. Despite being owed almost $8 million next year, he gives this team its best chance to win next year and Gabbert will need at full season of practice reps to grow into his proverbial NFL cleats. Blaine”s flaws are pronounced, but of the coachable type – mostly an issue of footwork and pocket presence; the raw ability is there. Competition will push both of them to be better – athletes on the professional level have a killer instinct that not all men of my candy-ass generation possess. They don’t shy away from competing, they revel it and are at their best when it’s all on the line. If they aren’t, then they probably shouldn’t be the offensive and locker room leader of your team.
- 2.) I hated the Gabbert pick at first, but after further consideration am very pleased. The first thing I liked about it was the aggressiveness of the Jaguars’ front office. That was no half-baked scramble to get a quarterback. That was a contingency plan (in the case of a guy who likely was #1 on their value board dropping to a practical position for a trade up) being executed with great efficiency. And that tells me that Gabbert was a guy that they believe can become the face (and arm) of a winning Jaguars franchise. To learn more about Gabbert, read B&T writer Brandon Clark’s analysis and if you doubted his athleticism and arm strength, watch the first few seconds of this video.
- 3.) I’m excited about 4th rounders Cecil Shorts III, WR and Chris Prosinski, FS. I haven’t “scouted” them or anything, I just like what I’ve seen and I like their stories. Prosinski, by all appearance, is a straight hustler – his play isn’t glamorous, but he hits hard and wraps up his tackles well and he’s fast on the track (4.40 in his 40 time) and plays faster. In the videos I have seen, I see a guy who plays with great instincts, immediately closing the space between himself and the ballcarrier on running plays and breaking quickly towards the ball to make a play on passes. As for Shorts, Hey! He’s a receiver! Gotta love the aerial game! The prospect of a more explosive offense is always exciting and this guy looks the part of a profession wideout and is by all means a producer, breaking many of Colts receiver Pierre Garcon’s records set at Mountain Union.
- 4.) Well, this draft just about settles it – Gene Smith is undoubtedly a BAP (Best Available Player) drafter. Don’t get me started with all the clowns doing post-draft (yes, the one that just happened) grades – let’s just say Gene Smith would be riding the short bus to school and be the only 3rd grader with a 5 o’clock shadow if these were the grades he got in elementary school. Analysts are *FURIOUS* that the Jaguars so callously ignored their biggest needs at cornerback, safety, and linebacker, but GM Gene is confident that he got players who actually have a chance to be starters for our team. Not only that, he sacrificed other picks to ensure that he only picked players of starting caliber. Wasn’t everyone praising our power running game last year? Gene picks a mauling guard out of Lehigh in the 3rd round and traded a late-rounder to get him – if anyone doubts his “BAPness”, their worries can be laid to rest.
- 5.) It’s looking like the Jaguars are still going to be big players in Free Agency. I’ve said it all along and John Oehser of Jaguars.com has confirmed that the Jaguars are in the market for two to four players in veteran free agency – some “patch” players and one who will likely be a “long term fixture”. I’m not sure who Gene will seek as a patches, but as far as long-term pickups, I am strongly against any high-priced corners or safeties. I am not a big fan of any of the guys on the market, especially at their ages and especially at the prices they’re likely to command. I’m fundamentally against a free agent cornerback – at the age he reaches the market (upper 20’s) his best years are behind him and his top-end speed is likely nearing a rapid dropoff. This is what makes a cornerback elite, because their job heavily relies on closing speed and keeping up with the league’s premier receivers. I have a gut feeling that the Jaguars will seek a long-term fix at middle linebacker because there is a wealth of young, skilled players at the position who do not have big-time “name recognition” that drives prices up. I like Barrett Ruud, but I know he’s had some money disputes with Tampa Bay and if Domenik has decided to move on, that makes me a little weary. I’ve got more than a feeling (Boston style) that Paul Posluszny is the guy – he is still young and fresh and is a tackling machine who can quarterback the defense. I know he was well liked by Jacksonville coming out of college (there seems to be a thing for Penn State guys around here between Vic and Gene) and he fits perfectly in the new era Jacksonville mold. LOOK AT THAT FREAKIN’ NECK! THAT’S A LINEBACKER NECK IF I’VE EVER SEEN ONE!
– Andrew Hofheimer