The time has almost come for the 2011 NFL Draft to start up and let's face it, we still don't have a solid read on what the Jaguars are going to do with their picks. Gene Smith is a known "BAP picker" who often ends up going off the boards with someone extremely unexpected. So what's going around the rumor mill about the Jaguars' draft selections?
There are also very recent reports per Chris Mortensen that the Jaguars are actually higher on Andy Dalton than Colin Kaepernick. Dalton's intelligence is a greater asset than his arm and that fact is known. While he might not be a Chad Pennington, it wouldn't surprise me if he became a Colt McCoy type player: a try-hard guy with just enough talent to not stink as a late 2nd round pick.
2) Defensive End is the most likely 1st round pick. Black and Teal called it a 40% chance the Jaguars draft a DE first and a 30% chance of the Jaguars drafting an offensive tackle. Fans are very skeptical of the idea of drafting a tackle, but given the available talent, and the questionable play of Eben Britton, it wouldn't necessarily be unreasonable.
3) Quarterback will likely NOT be the first round pick. Gene has always been hesitant to say he's going to take a QB in this draft. He called the class deep, but in a Jaguars.com article, Gene Smith said of quarterbacks: "We go into every draft trying to target certain players... but we’re not always able to do that." This suggests to me that Gene is not going to break from his board just to be sure he gets a QB.
Gene said of the DE position: "It’s one of the better D-line groups... It’s a good group in the first round in particular." Also, there is a slight disparity between the way Gene talks about the idea of drafting a QB and drafting a DE. Gene says he would like to find a QB in the draft, but hedged his bets by talking about free agency. Gene said of DE, that the pass rush must improve and the Jaguars will work to improve it. It's a subtle difference in speech, but there is an almost passive approach to the QB situation and a definitely aggressive approach to getting a DE.
4) Curveball picks are everywhere. So far, I've seen at least seven players mocked to the Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, and Cameron Jordan being five of the most common picks. After Da'Quan Bowers' slide, some have mocked him coming to the Jags, and one very interesting mocker selected Davon House, CB from New Mexico State. If you've got ten minutes, watch this video. It might change your mind.
5) The Jaguars will take a mid- to late-round Wide Receiver. It's right up Gene's alley, and a good hands guy like Austin Pettis in the fourth round is a commonly mocked pick. Niles Paul from Nebraska and Edmund Gates from Abilene Christian are also solid options.
The semi-frustrating part of doing this research is that Gene Smith is so tight-lipped about individual positions and players. The vast majority of this Jaguars speculation comes from people who are outside of the Jaguars front office and not the man himself. After Tyson Alualu's performance last year, teams will probably give GM Gene's words a little more weight. It's a smart move by Gene Smith to speak so generally about his likes and dislikes, because it actually helps to keep teams away from the players he likes. It just makes it harder for us to predict what he's thinking.