Jaguars 5th round pick, Austen Lane, DE, Murray State
In one of the franchise's most important drafts in history, Jaguars GM Gene Smith seemingly made a draft specifically to give the middle finger to called draft "experts." The Jaguars made the most shocking pick in the Top 10 by bypassing on Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, among others, to select Cal DT Tyson Alualu.
However, the more surprising part of Jacksonville's draft was the sheer number of non-Division I FBS (I-A) players. The Jaguars drafted four players who played in the lower end College Football's Division I, while no other team drafted more than two.
The Jaguars have always had an affinity for small school talents, such as Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox. However, never has one of their drafts relied so heavily on players from outside Division I FBS (I-A). While some have said the Alualu pick will make Gene famous, I believe if he manages to hit on all of these players, that's what will make him famous.
The player who will most likely see the field first is 5th round pick Austen Lane. Lane was described as a poor man's Jason Pierre-Paul, except he had the kind of production you would expect from a physical freak at his level. Lane will most likely see the field at left defensive end at first, while getting used to the NFL's level of competition.
If his physical ability can then translate to the NFL well enough, he does have the ability to switch to right defensive end. The one knock on Austen Lane is if you check out Football Outsiders SACKSEER, Lane doesn't meet one of their four requirements for a pass rusher. Lane ran a 4.44 short shuttle at the combine (a drill designed to measure quickness and reaction to a play). No elite edge rusher has ever emerged from any round in the NFL and ran less than a 4.42.
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After Lane, James Madison KR Scotty McGee should see plenty of action. Just as Adam and I said on BCC Radio on Saturday, McGee will be a DB in the same way Brian Witherspoon was a DB. McGee will be the full time kick returner and will only see the field on defense if everyone else get's injured in a game. McGee took home All-Conference honors as a kick returner two years in a row and should provide the Jaguars a solid return man.
Southern Illinois RB Deji Karim is an interesting player. Built much like Maurice Jones-Drew, it seems Karim will be expected to push Rashad Jennings for carries as the spell back.
The only head scratcher of a pick was Central Arkansas DE Larry Hart. Hart could be described as Quentin Groves 2.0 and a better fit as a 3-4 OLB. There is some indication the Jags are putting the pieces together to make a permanent move to the 3-4, but that's another article for another day.
With all of this being said, I'm sure the casual Jaguar fan isn't happy with any of these picks. They'll say, "Why didn't we take Aaron Hernandez" or "We could've had Myron Rolle instead of a no name returner." It's just the nature of taking guys from lower divisions.
I'll just say this, remember everyone in this town who complained about the Jaguars taking Rashean Mathis over UF WR Taylor Jacobs in 2003? Well, does anyone remember Taylor Jacobs having a NFL career?