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Jacksonville Jaguars Draft Day 2008

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Here it is, finally, the 2008 NFL Draft.  In a few short hours all the speculation and nonsense of the pre-draft season comes to a close.  Will Jacksonville find their defensive end?  Will we trade up? Down? For Jason Taylor?  What I want to do here, before they put Mel Kiper Jr. back in his cryogenic chamber, is establish my expectations for the Jaguars as the draft begins.  This will consist of three sections.  The first is a "wish list" of what I'd like to see the Jaguars do this weekend.  It's going to be a little bit over zealous in that I'll expect more than will probably happen, hence the "wish" part.  The second is a run down of draft scenarios for the first three rounds.  Finally, the official Big Cat Country "player interest list", which consists of nearly every player connected in some way to the Jaguars.  I imagine that we won't get near many of these players, but it'll be interesting to compare who we draft with who we interviewed/visited/etc.

Big Cat Country "Wish-List"

At least one top "10" Defensive End:  The Jaguars, in my opinion, must anchor their pass-rush around at least one defensive end rated in the top 10 at the position.  If they wait until later, the likelihood of getting the impact that the team needs to bring pressure decreases. I've got a complex series of spreadsheets that aggregates the various rankings and charts the drop-off in various points in the draft. If we move much further  After the top 10 the Jaguars begin experimenting with either project players or designated pass rushers, and while they are important for future development, there's a serious and legitimate need for a player who can help this season. Aside from the obvious Chris Long, Vernon Gholston and derrick Harvey,  Defensive ends in the "top 50" include: Phillip Merling, Calais Campbell, Quentin Groves, Lawrence Jackson, Chris Ellis and Jason Jones.

In the spirit of slight hypocrisy, I also believe strongly that the Jaguars should take a chance on a "project" end as well.  Someone like TCU's Tommy Blake, Gardner-Webb's Brian Johnston, or Kendall Langford of Hampton.

Defensive Tackle:  Get one.  From Trevor Laws and Red Bryant to Letroy Guion or Keilen Dykes of West Virginia, adding another beast in the middle of our tackle rotation is a must have.  It seems very likely that one of the better tackles will be available between our picks in the first and second round, with all the 3's and 5's in the Jaguars hand, a move up to grab a solid player should be feasible.

That's it.  That's all I need to wake up on Monday with wings on my feet and a smile in my heart about the 2008 Jaguars.  Sure, another quarterback is needed as well as running back to begin developing, but I know the Jaguars can go deep, deep into the playoffs without either. 

Possible Draft Scenarios:

First Round Trade Up: If Phillip Merliing is "our guy" the Jaguars will probably have to trade up at to at least the 21st pick in order to make the move.  {FIND POINTS VALUE HERE].  Washington showed an awful lot of interest in Merling at his Thursday workout, that leads me to think that they are toying with both Jacksonville and Tennessee in order to get more picks. 

First Round Trade Down: Miami, Atlanta, and any other team who thinks that they'd like a shot at Joe Flacco, Chad Henne, or Brian Brohm might considering offering Jacksonville an early 2nd round pick and some other goodies, facilitating a Jaguars move backwards.  While I don't really advocate moving toward an area of lesser talent, the Jaguars proved last year that you can slide back a few picks and still get the guy you've wanted the whole time.  Personally, I'd love to get a early to mid second round pick to grab one of the two second round defensive tackles in Trevor Laws or Red Bryant, but that's just me.

Second Round Trade Up: With the Jaguars selection of 3rd and 5th round picks, it's very easy for us to jump up a few spots if there's someone outstanding still on the board.  For example, if Quentin Groves slides into the second round, our thirds and fifths in some combination could get him. 

Jason Taylor Trade: Miami's going to come a-calling for takers for Jason Taylor.  Provided we draft a DE, I'm OK with trading a pick for Taylor.  Imagine, for example, if we traded our First for Jason Taylor and Miami's 2nd round pick.  We'd move back 6 spots, get Jason Taylor, and then make a move for someone like Jason Jones or Trevor Laws and STILL have some juice left to move up in the 2nd for another first day player.  Imagine getting three starters on the first day of the draft?  I ought to move this up to the "wish-list". 

Jaguars Team Interest:

Name School
Kentwan Balmer North Carolia
Gosder Cherilus Boston College
D. Rodgers-Cromarte Tennessee St.
Anthony Morelli Penn State
Brandon Albert Univ. of Va
Red Bryant Texas A&M
Wesley Woodyard U of Kentucky
Ryan Grice-Mullen Hawaii
Tommy Blake TCU
Jordan Dixon Colorado
Wallace Gilberry Alabama
Phillip Wheeler GA Tech
Leodis McKelvin Troy
Tavares Gooden Miami
Terrance Wheatley Colorado
Cliff Avril Purdue
Kendall Langford Hampton
Christopher Williams Vanderbilt
Kroy Biermann Montana
Calais Campbell Miami
Joe Flacco Delaware
Jeremy Geathers UNLV
John Greco Toledo
Rod Harper Murray State
Derrick Harvey Florida
Joey Haynos Maryland
Chris Horton UCLA
Brian Johnson Gardner-Webb
Bryan Kehl BYU
Red Keith Central Michigan
Blake Mitchell South Carolina
DaJuan Morgan NC State
Bernard Morris Marshall
Jalen Parmele Toledo
Kenny Phillips Miami
Eddie Royal Virgina Tech
Brandon Sumrall Southern Miss
Chris Wagner South Dakota State
Kyle Wright Miami



Draft Day Plan:

Here's how today will work.  At 2:50 I will start two live blogs, one at Mocking the Draft, and one here at Big Cat Country.  The MTD live blog will be instant analysis of each pick as it happens.  The BCC Live Blog will be similar, but everything will be translated into a "Jaguars" point of view.  I'll be in contact with some friends of mine in the Jaguars press room, so we can get the reaction over there as well. 

In the "Draft Twitter", I'll be updating all day with a sort of Best Player Available for the Jaguars.  As people come off the board, I'll add and remove names to narrow down the process.

Interviews: You betcha.  I'm going work my fingers to the bone to set up interviews with every draft pick I can find.  To be honest, the later the pick the easier the interview, but that won't stop me from calling every agent in order to get the scoop.  The unintended consequence of this is that we might have interviews with players that the Jaguars didn't draft, but we're all football fans, so it'll work out.

I'll be back all day, I implore you to make Big Cat Country your Draft Day Headquarters!

-Chris