Our first official " BCC Weekend Edition" rolls on...
If the Jaguars' are going to make a run at the playoffs in 2009, they will have to hit on some late round picks... Conventional wisdom teaches us that a late round pick will require some serious development, and therefore shouldn't be considered as a reasonable source for an immediate and reliable playmaker. However, Gene Smith is going to have to find a way to work some magic and snag the team someone who can at least compete for a starting gig right away, from some of the later rounds.
Let us take a look at some of the later round picks who contributed right away this season. For the purpose of this piece, I am going to define a later round as 5-6-7 or UDFA.
Tim Hightower, RB - The Arizona Cardinals got a literal steal when they drafted Hightower. Tim has made "The Edge" expendable and was snagged in the 5th round. Was a nominee for October's NFL offensive rookie of the month. Is going to fill a hole Arizona has had in their team for years to come with only a 5th rounder lost.
Chris Horton, S - The Washington Redskins may have gotten the deal of the draft with the 249th selection in the 7th round. They drafted a guy who will be a fixture for years on the defense and was voted the September NFL defensive rookie of the month. He won his spot early on in the preseason and started fast out of the gate, a major plus and what you want out of your rookies. Represents the ideal scenario.
Carl Nicks, G - The New Orleans Saints found a strong guard to fill their line for years to come, much like Uche Nwari turned out to be for us. Nicks is a 5th rounder who was vaulted into the starting line-up due to injury, however, he played so well he never relinquished his spot and remained the starter for the remainder of the season.
Jamey Richard , C - The Indianapolis Colts (as they always do) found a quality lineman late in the draft. Jamey Richard was drafted in the 7th round and served as Jeff Saturday's replacement while he was injured. Richard filled in admirably for the aging veteran, and it appears the Colts may have their Center of the future in Richard.
Players like these represent the possibilities the 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds can hold. FInding a legit lineman, a ball hawking safety, or a WR with hands at the back of the draft not only helps the team's bottom line, it ensures depth throughout your roster. The only remedy to an injury filled season like the one we just finished, is depth from top to bottom.
We've got depth at the TE, RB, QB, DE, and CB. We need to build depth on the interior of our lines and in the secondary and receiving corps. We can do it in one year, but Gene is going to have to really work something special.
Who did I miss? Can we find equivalent value in this year's draft later on? What late round prospects have caught your eye?
It's a lazy Sunday here at BCC, thanks for joining us.