Give me three or four of the team's top needs.
In order of need, offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver, and a second corner opposite Rashean Mathis.
The injuries to the offensive line were what separated the 2008 Jaguars from the 2007 Jaguars. If the various injuries did not occur on the O-line, the Jaguars would still have had a formidable running game and David Garrard wouldn't have been running for his life on every passing play.
The Jaguars D-line was already on its way out in 2007. While the ESPN talking heads like to blame all the woes on us trading Marcus Stroud, his injuries reared themselves in Buffalo as well. That being said, the Jaguars are no longer a team that is built around a dominating defensive line. Rob Meier wasn't as good as we thought he was, and jar on the shelf Derek Landri is still a year away.
Torry Holt is a short-term fix, even though he is easily the best wide receiver the Jags have had since Jimmy Smith. The Jaguars need a guy who can cover consistently opposite Mathis, simple as that.
You guys have had a lot of "characters" out there in Jacksonville. What are your thoughts on Andre Smith, who a lot of people think will land with the team at that No. 8 pick?
New general manager Gene Smith has been committed to real character guys. Cutting Matt Jones, Jerry "A new car to practice every week" Porter, and Drayton Florence proves that. As for Andre Smith, I still think he would be an excellent pick at No. 8, provided I was assured he had his head on straight. Of all the "elite" tackles in the draft, [he] fits what the Jags would want in a left tackle best. He is the best run blocker and a mauler who can overpower any end. The ideal scenario for Andre would be he start a year or two at right tackle, then when Tra Thomas finally runs out of gas, switch to left tackle.
I must stress, this is provided he can have his head on straight. I can forgive being suspended for the Sugar Bowl. Be honest, raise your hand if you thought Smith was the only top projected player talking to agents already. Skipping the combine and laying an egg at his pro day, not so much.
How does the recent signing of Holt change draft plans, if at all?
Torry Holt shouldn't affect any draft-day plans. Gene Smith comes from the school of "Build through the draft, and take the best play available." Smith is a former Blesto scout and knows how to get the job done on that end. In addition, wide receiver is the biggest waste of a first-round pick. For every Larry Fitzgerald there are 10 first-round busts. Receiver is a position that can be filled in the later rounds. The only wideout even worth looking at in the top 15 is Michael Crabtree, and teams don't even have a solid 40 time on him.
Any specific players you're hoping they target?
Honestly, unless [Virginia left tackle] Eugene Monroe or Andre Smith is there at No. 8, I hope the Jaguars just trade back and collect picks. This draft doesn't have many "elite" players that fit the team's needs. However, it does provide a lot of depth in terms of "late first, early second" talent. If the Jags can't get either Monroe or Smith, I hope [Mark] Sanchez is still on the board as trade bait and they use him to get a lot of picks to rebuild.