We have yet to see general manager Gene Smith bring in a single player with any type of run-in with the law in their past. Maybe he never will, or maybe it was exacerbated by owner Wayne Weaver and with Shahid Khan running the ship the options could open up. While I'm a fan of being able to root for a team without fear that a star player will be arrested at any point in time, I'm not a fan of limiting the talent pool and erasing players that are no longer a threat and have redeemed themselves.
The hiring of defensive line coach Joe Cullen has worked out very well for the Jaguars and is a great story of redemption, but we haven't seen any similar story with the Jaguars during the Gene era. Players like Justin Francis shouldn't be automatically arrested for a mistake made during their teenage years.
Position: Defensive End
||Projected Round: 7th-UDFA|
Pros: Very high motor and will make hustle plays. Has been described by many as an emotional leader. Many called Francis the best and most explosive defensive lineman at the Shrine Game. Has long arms and a strong first step off the line.
Cons: Was arrested in 2008. Bit of a tweener that played defensive tackle in college. Will have to find a position. Not a dynamic edge rusher and limited against the run. Needs to win his first step or he can be overpowered.
Justin Francis was arrested in March of 2008, a month after he turned 19, for pulling a fake gun to steal a cell phone from a man. He was charged robbery, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and possession of a weapon on university property and was suspended for the 2008 season. However, all charges were dropped by a grand jury due to insufficient evidence.
He told The Star Ledger over three years later, "I feel like I’ve always been a good citizen except for one mistake in judgment I made as a much younger man. I was 19 then."
Perhaps Francis is a character concern and someone that doesn't belong in Jacksonville, or maybe he's a case of a player that has changed after a young mistake. The Jaguars spoke with Francis at the Shrine Game and should continue to talk to Francis to try and find out.