There they are, the five selections of the Jacksonville Jaguars 2008 draft. The class that has the imposing task of taking the team over the hump and to the Super Bowl. Derrick, Quentin, Thomas, Trae, and Chauncey have the highest of expectations considering the relative lack of companions in their rookie class. Thomas, Trae, and Chauncey especially.
First, let's take a look at what my expectations were for the Jaguars draft and let's see if we did what was necessary.
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'd say we did that alright. Rather than get one "top ten" defensive end, we got the third and 5th best ends on the board. There are some who had Harvey ranked higher than Ghoulston (though I don't know if the Jaguars felt that way). Groves is the best speed rusher in the draft and will be Gregg Williams magic toy all season long. Frankly, its' astonishing that we selected either one of these guys.
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.
Swing and a miss on this one, though it's not really the Jaguars fault that they couldn't address the position. Had they still had a pick in the third or fourth round, someone would have gotten the call. DT depth was a luxury pick, DE was a severe need. While I'd still have liked to get a young guy to develop, all things considered I can let this slide.
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.
Merling would fall to the top of the 2nd round, no trading would be required. I wonder what happened at the workout to tank his stock. This is to be investigated, if only because I spent so much time researching the guy.
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.
I nailed this one, though I really didn't expect us to get a DE in the first and second. Groves by himself would have been a poor choice, but with Harvey acting as a full time DE, Groves becomes a pass rushing weapon designed with the sole purpose of putting Peyton Manning on his back.
Defensive End Development:
I've seen some fans worried that Harvey and Groves won't develop quick enough to have a noticeable effect on the field. I'd imagine that they both will struggle at times with run coverage or double teams, but their role at first will be to get to the quarterback in situational plays, and then gradually increase the workload. Harvey will have the more daunting task of being a 4 down player, but I can see Groves being put in on 3rd downs and sent raging after the quarterback. That's a more instinctive type of play rather than a schematic sort of thing. I'm not expecting the two rookies to be pro bowlers this season, but I can say without hesitation that they must bring the heat.
Lito Sheppard: Future Jaguar?
Little birds (and ProFootballTalk) are telling us that the Jaguars may be packaging picks to send to the Philladelphia Eagles for Cornerback Lito Sheppard. If this happens, the Jaguars will have one of the most impressive secondaries in the NFL, though I'm a little confused as to where everyone would play. Mathis and Sheppard on the outside, Williams, Sensabaugh and Nelson as safties, Drayton Florence in the Nickel back? We spent an awful lot to put Florence in the nickel, but we need three or more starting corners when we play the Patriots and Colts, so I can see it.
Pierson Preioleau: New Jaguar
Redskins safety Pierson Preioleau, according to the Washington Post, is now a member of the Jaguars. It's a Sammy Knight sort of move, I don't expect much out of him, but he's a Gregg Williams guy, so who knows.
More to come tomorrow!