I get it and understand that Gene may not be as good as we would like. I also feel, in some cases, ever since the Alualu pick, he is letting the fans influence his first round picks, and that has cost us. I say this because just going back the last two drafts I see a troubling trend.
In this years draft, I personally thought we looked good where we were and didn't need to jump up to get Blackmon. I felt that other WRs would be available when we picked in the first round, that would be as good if not better than Blackmon. Instead the media, and fan base was screaming for Blackmon and the drumbeat was so loud that I think Gene Smith felt he HAD to get him. So he went and got Blackmon and the Jaguars lost a 3rd round pick in the process. I say 3rd round because if we had gotten someone else, we would have had our 4th round pick, and he could have used the 3rd on something other than a punter and still have picked up Anger in the 4th. I personally feel, the lack of a 4th round pick is why we got Anger in the 3rd. Gene Smith really wanted him, and as we no longer had a 4th round pick and he knew Anger wouldn't be there in the 5th, he burned our 3rd round pick on a punter. So while we lost a 4th round pick in the trade, in reality we lost a 3rd round pick.
In 2011, the same could be said for Gabbert, everyone was SCREAMING for us to get a QB. Many now seem to forget he was a highly touted pick, considered by many to be a quality top 10 pick, be it with the caveat that he was very young and would take time to develop. With that caveat in mind, one has to remember at the time of the draft, we had Garrard (or so we thought) for Gabbert to learn behind. So to everyone, at the time, it looked like a solid pick and it got the team what everyone was screaming we needed to get. A QB to DEVELOP. If he hadn't pushed to get Gabbert and stayed where we were, we wouldn't have lost a pick, and probably gotten Dalton or Mallet. Instead we got Gabbert and in the process lost a very important 2nd round pick.
Gene from the beginning stated he was a base hit guy.. well if he was a base hit guy. We were also lead to believe he believed in picking up picks, and instead we traded them away. To me base hits would have been sticking to our draft position and getting Dalton and Wright, and keeping our 2nd and 3rd round picks. Maybe even trading down if possible to get additional picks. Instead it looks as if he went for Home run hits with Gabbert and Blackmon, and unfortunately so far they look more like bunts.
So either way you want to look at it those two 1st round picks (or the lack of the 2nd and 3rd round picks) I think have really defined Gene more so than anything else. Because if your going to lose those kinds of additional vitally important picks to move up in the draft, while in rebuilding mode, those draft picks better be Home runs.
This argument, is why, although I am not on the "Fire Gene Smith" bandwagon.. I am in line at the ticket window. As a fan, I am hoping as the season goes forth, I can hop out of line. Because I want to believe he is a capable GM and that right now we are just experiencing growing pains.
The only other way to see it, as many already do, is that he is over his head. So, the Jaguars problems are not just a matter of growing pains, but a complete lack of talent, and that is all on the GM. I hope that is not the case, but if it is I will be buying my tickets come the end of the year.