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Jacksonville Jaguars – A Team Stuck in No Man’s Land

Written by: Barry Lewis on April 23, 2011

 

Year in and year out, the Jaguars has been the model of consistency. Mediocre consistency that is. Over the last 5 NFL seasons, the Jaguars have finished 8-8, 7-9, 5-11, 11-5, and 8-8.

They have been able to string along this model of mediocrity for a number of reasons. Lack of pass rush, lack of explosive passing game, a lack of playmakers on both sides of the ball not named Maurice Jones-Drew.

The Jaguars made two trades with the Vikings in the Twitter draft. They traded picks 16, 49, 114, and 236 for picks 12, 77, 121, 150, and 180.

In other words, the Jaguars swapped 1st round picks with the Vikings while trading its 2nd, 4th and 7th round pick for an additional pick in the 3rd round as well as picks in the 4th, 5th and 6th round. In essence, the Jaguars moved out of the 2nd round and got value in receiving a 5th and 6th round pick while receiving an additional 3rd rounder.

In addition to trying to get playmakers on both sides of the ball not named Jones-Drew as well as potential up-and-coming WR Mike Thomas, Arizona, and TE Mercedes Lewis, UCLA, the Jaguars have needs on defensive end, safety, and cornerback, along with anyone that can rush the passer.

In the Twitter draft, the Jaguars used three of its first four picks on players who will likely fill a role in the secondary by selecting Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara, Clemson CB Marcus Gilchrist, and Ohio State CB Chimdi Chekwa. It is conceivable that all three are starters next year because outside of CB Rashean Mathis, the Jaguars lack starters at each safety position and the opposite cornerback position of Mathis.

Amukamara’s value is in line with his draft spot while Gilchrist is rated as a late 3rd/early 4th round pick and Chekwa is valued as a late 2nd/early 3rd round pick who was drafted at pick 121. Nevetheless, with all things being equal, the Jaguars addressed their defensive secondary.

The Jaguars rounded out its drafting on defense with FS Will Hill, Florida, who is graded out as a 7th round selection, as is ILB Josh Byrnes, Auburn. Hill is an aggressive safety who has been prone to missing coverage but could be a developmental project with long-term potential because of his good size and average speed. He may be better suited for strong safety. Byrnes is an undersized inside linebacker who performed well on the college level but will likely be on special teams and may help provide insurance for MLB Kirk Morrison.

On offense, the Jaguars made one pick – WR Greg Little, North Carolina. Little, much like free agent Mike Sims-Walker, is a strong wideout with above average skills but has character issues. Little grades out as a late 4th/early 5th round selection who was taken far too early at pick 77 (3rd round). However, he has addressed concerns as to why he was suspended last year at UNC and his metrics grade out in comparison to WR Leonard Hankerson, who was selected at pick 62 (2nd round) by the Green Bay Packers. Despite those metrics, it appears that Little being drafted this early was a bit of a reach.

The Jaguars are in need of playmakers. Following this draft – they were able to get good quality for their secondary. However, unless Little comes through and become a solid #1/#2 wideout opposite of Thomas, and sign a good pass rushing OLB or DE, the Jaguars still lack those two areas of skill that this team desperately needs.

The Jaguars receive a draft grade of C because of not addressing those two areas while addressing the glaring hole that was in their secondary while also “reaching” on Little, Gilchrist, Hill and Byrnes in terms of their projected draft values.

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