Gene Smith and the Combine
By Daniel Lago
With the combine wrapping up this week, I thought it would be interesting to delve into how the combine has affected the Jaguars’ past drafts. I originally was going to write an article focused on the combine performances of all the players Gene Smith has drafted since he was promoted to GM. As I started researching a lot of the players however, I realized how unimportant the combine actually is for scouts and GMs in the grand scheme of things. Smarter people than myself have already figured this out, but let’s highlight a combine statistic that really stood out to me.
The following table outlines all the players the Jaguars have drafted since 2009 and whether or not they were invited to the combine.
Players Invited to Combine
Players Not Invited to Combine
Combine – Draft Fraction/Percentage
Eugene Monroe(1*), Eben Britton(2), Terrance Knighton(3), Mike Thomas(4), Jarett Dillard(5), Rashad Jennings(7), Tiquan Underwood(7)
Derek Cox(3), Zach Miller(6)
Tyson Alualu(1), D’Anthony Smith(3), Austen Lane(5)
Larry Hart(5), Deji Karim(6), Scotty McGee(6)
Blaine Gabbert(1), Will Rackley(3), Cecil Shorts(4)
Chris Prosinski(4), Rod Issac(5)
The total statistic is especially telling – one out of every three players the Jaguars drafted were not invited to the combine. Of the players not invited to the combine that Gene Smith drafted, one was drafted in the third round, one was drafted in the fourth round, two were drafted in the fifth round, and three were drafted in the sixth round.
With three years of GM Gene drafts in the books, we can start to see a pattern developing. Most first and second round players are on every team’s radar, so there aren’t a lot of surprises there. But we can see that by the third and fourth round, Gene Smith is already willing to take chances and draft a player who is high on his board but not necessarily heralded in the media or by other scouting departments. He’s even willing to make a bold move – like trading a future second round pick to draft Derek Cox in the third round.
So what does this tell us about the Jaguars and the combine? Like most teams (except the Raiders), the Jaguars don’t take a lot of stock in the combine for players they already have a lot of tape on. The Jaguars certainly weren’t deterred by Blaine Gabbert not throwing at the combine last year.
Stephen Hill showed everyone at the combine he was pretty darn fast. There’s a good chance Gene and his crew already knew that.
We also know at some point during the draft, we’re going to hear a mid-to-late round draft pick (or two) that leaves most Jaguar fans saying ,”Who!?!?” The Jags’ scouting department does a great job of turning over every rock to find a potential NFL player. Let’s hope they can find a few more gems late in the 2012 NFL draft.
– Daniel Lago