Jaguars' use of private visits represents change of GM philosophy

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have only 30 private visits to spend and the way Dave Caldwell uses them is much different than the way Gene Smith did.

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.

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