Day one of the draft was a big surprise for most Jaguars fans. Almost no one thought that Gene Smith had Blaine Gabbert on his board at all, much less that Gene would be so aggressive in pursuing him. As a Junior from a big school, he seemed nothing like the traditional "Gene guy" pick. Well, those who said this draft was not a traditional Gene Smith draft should be singing a different tune by now.
Let's look at who else the team drafted.
Cecil Shorts III was the Jaguars first of two fourth round picks. Shorts was a dominant wide receiver from Mount Union, the same school Pierre Garcon attended. How do the two receivers compare? Shorts broke a few of Garcon's records and set a few more as well. He caught 279 passes for 4705 yards and 63 TDs, was an all-american sprinter on the track team, and accounted for almost 6,000 total yards in his college career. Again, Shorts is a Senior, team captain.
Chris Prosinski was the Jaguars selection at pick #121. Prosinski played at Wyoming (yet another small school) where he played 49 games. He piled up 373 tackles over his four years, adding 18 pass deflections and 5 interceptions. He didn't attend the Combine, so he was really an off the radar pick. He had a great pro day, which is how he caught Gene Smith's attention. Prosinski, in addition to having ridiculously toned muscles at his pro day, was, say it with me people: a Senior and a team captain.
Rod Issac was taken before several players at his position who were rated higher by ESPN and NFL.com. Gene Smith, however, wasn't going by ESPN's board. Issac was a two-year full-time starter at Middle Tennessee State, where he not only excelled in coverage, but also got involved in the running game. 18 of his 189 tackles were for a loss, which is a lot for a cornerback. He had five interceptions, forced four fumbles, recovered three fumbles and scored three times on defense. Issac is the fourth straight draftee who was a small-school player, a senior, and a team captain.
So, those who like the "Gene Smith guy," rejoice! This draft is right up your alley. After taking Gabbert, who many believe to be the top quarterback in the draft, Gene managed to find mature, high-character players who have all dominated their competition in the later rounds. At this point, that should really surprise no one.