Or is it? It probably is, but to distract myself from the 2012 Jaguars, I'm going to start thinking about the 2013 Jaguars. As you may expect, there are plenty of assumptions I'll have to make. Given said assumptions are applied, I offer you my 2013 Jaguars off season strategy. Now, there are far too many variables to be considered, so I'll try not to get too specific or over think actual specific players we'll be drafting at this point, just a strategy.
I think it has become apparent that Gene Smith is not a BAP drafter. He's not just a needs drafter either. Both of these statements can be summarized with the Tyson Alualu pick in 2010. I see a best available needs drafter with a hint of take superstars first, which I'm actually quite fond of. Whether Gene has done a good job of applying the concept is a discussion for another day and another post.
Without further ado:
- Clint Session will not be coming back
- Rackley will be coming back to a starting position (barring a turn around by Britten).
- Meester will be retiring.
- Reshean will be resigning for another year or 2 at low cost/reduced role.
- Aaron Ross will be cut. Please.
-Eben Britten will be cut.
-Cox, Knighton and who ever else makes sense to keep is kept. Gotta be honest, I can see Knighton holding out and throwing a monkey wrench into this process. The good news, is that it appears that there's not a huge drop off to Mosley, so it may not be too dramatic of an issue.
Get either a DE, CB or #1 WR in Free Agency (Deja Vu). Best case scenario is to get 2 at 2 different positions. There could be a couple quality players available at all 3 positions. Only looking for quality starters, though, depth wouldn't seem to be an issue at any place with the addition of a proven play maker as everyone should get pushed down and the Mike Thomas's/George Selvies find their way off our roster.
Find a quality depth player at LB in FA. He doesn't have to start, but he needs to be at least as good as Russel Allen though with perhaps a blitzing skill set. Also, I'd like to find a quality number 2 TE in FA. One who can block and catch fairly well, though not necessarily great. Someone that can make defenses guess which TE will block and which could be a receiver.
DO NOT trade up.
In the first round we need a guy like Barret Jones. He can play all over the line and between he, Rackley and Uche, they will figure out the interior of the line. I say this every year, but this may be the year to trade back because he won't be looked at as highly as say, Decastro who was taken at 24 last year, but I think because of his versatility he can be as valueable to us as a guy like Decastro. The best case scenario would be to simply catch him in the second round, though I doubt that will happen.
If not Jones, the top 3 rounds need to produce an interior lineman or a Tackle and he needs to be good quick.
As for the other 2 spots in our top 3 picks? Give me a Linebacker (Sean Porter in the first, for example) and one of the 3 positions mentioned above that was left untouched by FA. If we can trade back, get me both. The only other position I'm on board with at this point in the draft is a Safety if he's a really good value/potential starter, or a Punter. Can't have enough punters.
As for rounds 4-7, we could use some more depth on O-Line, LBers, and Safety (unless we draft a safety higher). I'm not OK with Prosinski/Blake as the 3rd Safety at this stage, but I'd feel okay if either was the 4th, with the edge going to Blake for special teams. I wouldn't mind seeing a late round gamble on a QB, but not because I'm immediately trying to replace Gabbert.
It would look like some combination of this
OL: Monroe, Nwarni, Rackley, High Draft pick, Bradfield/Brewster/?. Still need depth, but starters can be fixed with one high draft pick. Maybe we can sign a mid range or veteran FA for some protection.
WR: FA*/High Draft pick, Blackmon, Robinson, Shorts, Elliot. I like how that looks a lot actually. Only eyesore is the contract size of that 3rd WR. If we can dump of Thomas it won't hurt quite as bad.
TE: Lewis, FA*, Potter/whoever
DE: FA*/High Draft pick, Mincey, Branch, Lane, chick/selvie/davis?. A 3 headed pass rush hopefully keeps lane in on 1st downs only and hopefully makes the 5th end as irrelevant as possible.
LB: Smith, Poz, High Draft pick, Allen, FA Depth guy, (best of what's left). Allen as a fourth guy and Smith returning to full form leaves the need for an OLB and at least one more serviceable player for depth. With those additions, our LB corps can be something to be proud of again.
CB: Cox, FA*/Draft Pick, Mathis, Middleton, Rutland, Harris. With the addition of a quality starter and Cox getting healthy, we could have a strong cover backfield. Middleton and Rutland are nothing special, but both are young and have been inconsistently solid backups. Mathis and Harris can take turns at nickle.
S: Landry, Lowery, ANYBODY, Prosinski/Blake
These are our weakest or thinnest position, and with my plan, we can leave the 2013 off season needing only a little more depth at O-Line, DE and perhaps a safety. Best part is, we'd only have to get one maaaybe 2 major FAs, use only the draft picks we already have, and sign 3 mid range or less free agents. No magic involved.
Of course the biggest and most important assumption is that players we target will be willing and/or available, but that's why I left so much room for choice.
I know we suck pretty bad this year, but lets not forget there are good players (for their depth positioning, at least) on this team. Many of the positional puzzles appear to be one piece away. Well, on paper anyways.