In the final month before the 2014 NFL Draft, teams are allowed to bring 30 prospects to their facility for meetings and workouts. With just under a month remaining until the Jaguars go on the clock with the No. 3 overall selection, the full list of players visiting EverBank Field has not yet been revealed.
However, the 11 players that will reportedly meet with the Jaguars this week represent a fundamental change in philosophy between the Dave Caldwell-led front office and the one run by former-Jaguars general manager, Gene Smith.
A collection of reports on Monday listed Teddy Bridgewater, Khalil Mack, Greg Robinson, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Anthony Barr, Stephon Tuitt, Derek Carr, Kyle Van Noy, Zach Mettenberger and Jimmy Garoppolo as players scheduled to visit Jacksonville.
Among that list are six quarterback prospects, four defensive prospects and one offensive lineman, all of whom are projected by most to be selected in the first two days of the Draft. Under the direction of Caldwell, it's clear that the Jaguars are using their 30 allotted visits to look at players they could be targeting with the No. 3 and 39 selections.
That's a far different strategy than the one used by Smith during his four-year stint as the man charged with building the Jaguars. Consider this list obtained by Big Cat Country prior to the 2012 NFL Draft of the 30 visits used by the team:
|Player||Pos||College||Round||1st NFL team|
|Chandler Jones||DE||Syracuse||1st||New England Patriots|
|Nick Perry||DE||USC||1st||Green Bay Packers|
|Lamar Holmes||OL||Southern Miss||3rd||Atlanta Falcons|
|Tyrone Crawford||DE||Boise State||3rd||Dallas Cowboys|
|T.Y. Hilton||WR||Florida International||3rd||Indianapolis Colts|
|Brandon Brooks||OL||Miami (OH)||3rd||Houston Texans|
|Gino Gradkowski||OL||Delaware||4th||Baltimore Ravens|
|Adrian Robinson||TE||Cincinnati||4th||New York Giants|
|Keshawn Martin||WR||Michigan State||4th||Houston Texans|
|Coty Sensabaugh||CB||Clemson||4th||Tennessee Titans|
|Corey White||S||Samford||5th||New Orleans Saints|
|Brandon Marshall||LB||Nevada||5th||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Chris Greenwood||CB||Albion||5th||Detroit Lions|
|Tahir Whitehead||LB||Temple||5th||Detroit Lions|
|Taylor Thompson||TE||Southern Methodist||5th||Tennessee Titans|
|Keith Tandy||CB||West Virginia||6th||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Jonte Green||CB||New Mexico State||6th||Detroit Lions|
|Jeris Pendleton||DT||Ashland||7th||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Jerome Long||DT||San Diego State||7th||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Toney Clemons||WR||Colorado||7th||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Buddy Jackson||CB||Pittsburgh||Undrafted||Indianapolis Colts|
|Chandler Fenner||CB||Holy Cross||Undrafted||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Ronnie Cameron||DT||Old Dominion||Undrafted||Chicago Bears|
|Kendrick Adams||DE||LSU||Undrafted||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Antwon Blake||CB||UTEP||Undrafted||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Tramain Thomas||S||Arkansas||Undrafted||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Marcus Jackson||WR||Lamar||Undrafted||Atlanta Falcons|
|Jonathan Grimes||RB||William & Mary||Undrafted||Houston Texans|
|Taveon Rogers||WR||New Mexico State||Undrafted||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Donovan Robinson||LB||Jackson State||Undrafted||New York Jets|
Just two players brought to Jacksonville prior to the Draft were selected in the first round, while a third of the group wasn't selected at all. What's clear from the list is that the Jaguars under Smith often used the visits to target potential late round picks and undrafted free agents.
While it's difficult to make definitive statements about something as simple as philosophical differences, a very large reason why Smith was fired was due to his poor performance in the first two days of the Draft. While players like Eugene Monroe and Terrance Knighton weren't terrible selections, he failed to ever bring in a great player and that coupled with picks like Bryan Anger, Eben Britton, D'Anthony Smith and, most importantly, Blaine Gabbert cost him his job.
For Caldwell, there appears to be a heightened focus on getting the early picks correct, even if that's at the expense of later selections.