The 2011 NFL Draft was thought to be a pretty decent class for the Jacksonville Jaguars, at the time they were drafted that is. Everything was optimism until the team actually took the field.
Now, with the departure of receiver Cecil Shorts, the Jacksonville Jaguars have none of the picks from that year left.
The 2011 NFL Draft was the second to last draft for former general manager Gene Smith and it was expected that the players he was bringing in would be the future for the Jaguars.
This was the same infamous draft that saw Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and now-retired Jake Locker enter the NFL in the first round. Locker and Gabbert were the only two of the first 10 overall picks to not make a Pro Bowl.
Shorts was the longest tenured Jaguar from that draft class and definitely the most productive. He was drafted in the fourth round that year and outlasted guard Will Rackley (third round) and Gabbert (10th overall) on the Jaguars squad. Gabbert (now backing up fellow 2011 pick Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco) was the long-locked franchise quarterback the team never knew it wanted and Rackley (now with the Baltimore Ravens) was supposed to be a reliable building block in an offensive line anchored by left tackle Eugene Monroe. Instead, Gabbert was too busy avoiding phantom sacks to be effective and Rackley proved to be a mediocre-at-best guard and often more like a turnstile.
Other notables from the 2011 NFL Draft for the Jaguars include safety Chris Prosinski (fourth round, now with the Philadelphia Eagles) who was easily dodged by ball carriers and cornerback Rod Issac (fifth round, lasted one season in the NFL).
This draft more than anything may have sealed Gene Smith’s fate. He redeemed himself the next year by drafting troubled but talented receiver Justin Blackmon in the first round but also drafted punter Bryan Anger in round three of that year. 2011 was just another indicator that Smith didn’t quite know what he was doing. With so many of his picks flaming out in Jacksonville and no longer in starting roles, you’ve got to wonder if he was ready for his position.
The Jags are moving on now, though. General manager David Caldwell has slowly been moving Smith’s players out and replacing them with far more competent players. Just looking back at the 2011 NFL Draft is like looking at the dark ages for us Jags fans. Fortunately, it’s now all in the past.
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