Jaguars draft breakdown: The past five years
Say this much for the Jacksonville Jaguars: They haven’t whiffed in the first round of the NFL Draft lately to the extent they did in taking three wide receivers over a six-year stretch that made no one hearken back to the days of Jimmy Smith or Keenan McCardell. And despite all the flak they took three years ago by not choosing Tim Tebow, time has proven that decision to be the proper one. But when a persuasive argument can be made that their best selection since 2008 has been a punter (Brian Anger), it’s no wonder that the Jaguars find themselves with a new general manager who has his work cut out for him in two weeks. Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley will be under close scrutiny as they attempt to rectify some of the questionable personnel decisions of previous regimes. 2012: WR Justin Blackmon, fifth overall (B-) – Much like another receiver out of Oklahoma State (Dez Bryant), Blackmon has had flashes of brilliance on the field and moments of immaturity off it. But does he possess the skills to become the same deep threat Bryant is in Dallas? 2011: QB Blaine Gabbert, 10th overall (D) – Considering the two players chosen after him were J.J. Watt and Christian Ponder, it’s hard not to categorize him as a disappointment. While the talent around him, or lack thereof, has been a factor, there are questions about whether Bradley and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch want to stick with him. 2010: DT Tyson Alualu, 10th overall (C+) – A starter since day one and the team leader in sacks a year ago. He’s not exactly on the cusp of becoming a Pro Bowl caliber player, but he could flourish on an overhauled defensive line. 2009: OT Eugene Monroe, eighth overall (B) – Quantifying the effectiveness of offensive linemen is not as cut-and-dried as with other players. While the line needs shoring up, he remains someone the Jaguars can build around. 2008: DE Derrick Harvey, eighth overall (F) – The less said about that year’s draft in general for the Jaguars, the better. After only eight sacks over three years, he went to Denver and didn’t accomplish much there either.
2010: DT D’Anthony Smith, third round, 74th overall – With Alualu and the offseason signings of Roy Miller and Sen’Derrick Marks, he’s now little more than an afterthought at this position. His career never took off, due in part to Achilles tendon and toe injuries. 2009: OT Eben Britton, second round, 39th overall – A starter at right tackle for 15 games as a rookie, he also wound up being sidetracked by injuries (torn labrum, a back problem that led to an infection). Currently unsigned. 2009: DT Terrance Knighton, third round, 72nd overall – After showing signs of promise the first two seasons, his productivity plummeted, compounded by an eye injury he suffered in a nightclub incident. He’s now with the Broncos, reunited with former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. 2008: DE Derrick Harvey – The second of two players in as many years out of Florida taken by the Jaguars in the first round. For what it’s worth, they have yet to draft any former Gators since. 2012: CB Mike Harris, sixth round, 176th overall – Given the recent departures of Rasheen Mathis, Derek Cox and Aaron Ross, he seems like a lock for one of the starting jobs at that position. 2011: WR Cecil Shorts, fourth round, 114th overall – Used sparingly as a rookie, he broke out last year with 55 catches for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. Should serve as a complement to Blackmon as long as he recovers from a head injury suffered in the season’s final home game.
The Jaguars are proof that drafting high doesn’t always mean drafting well. Of the 31 total picks they had over the past five years, only 14 remain on the roster. That sub-.500 success rate explains in part why they have not finished above the .500 mark since going 11-5 in 2007.
2012: 6 players drafted/6 remain on current roster2011: 5/42010: 6/32009: 9/12008: 5/0 Barring a trade, the Jaguars will pick second for the first time since they took tackle Tony Boselli in 1995, the franchise’s inaugural season. While the speculation about what they’ll do is bound to run rampant, it’s perhaps just as important to find potential long-term starters in the third round and even further down.