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10 Thoughts about the Draft: A Jaguars fan at peace

The 2009 offseason is technically only a few months old, but for the Jaguars, it feels like an eternity.  Let's face it, we all started peeking at the draft prospects around November when it became clear that the team would not get it done on the field.  For me, the offseason reflects my own life, there are moments of frantic overload followed by periods of thoughtful examination and reflection. 

I'll admit it though, I'm awfully tired of the draft.  Scouting prospects has been a blast, and I can't thank the Big Cat Country community enough for identifying and previewing players that were off the radar.  Also, let's give credit to Collin for putting together some fantastic interviews.  I can admit, we're probably never going to get another interview with a first round player that's represented by Athletes First, so enjoy that while it lasted. I've never been more proud of this site than over the past few months.

That said, I've got some meandering thoughts about the process that I'd like to get off my chest.  Also, I'll preview the Big Cat Country Draft Contest that I'm going to set up for tomorrow morning.

Let's get down to it.

1. I think I know who the Jaguars are going to select should they stay at the 8th overall position.  The Jaguars have been very very quiet about Andre Smith and I think that should he be on the board, the Jaguars will make the selection despite his immaturity.  We should make a distinction between a player having bad character and a player being immature, the latter can be corrected, especially on the offensive line. 

2. I think the Jaguars are going to be challenged on their adherence to Best Available Player.  I bet we're going to see the Jaguars fall just short of Mark Sanchez being trade bait and the Jaguars will face Andre Smith, Chris Wells, Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji toward the top of the board, putting the Jaguars in a tough spot.  Do you pay an injured wide receiver number eight money?  Do you pay a rookie a similar contract to what you gave Maurice Jones-Drew?  This will test the Jaguars and Gene Smith in particular.

3. I'd be willing to bet that the Jaguars have already negotiated trade scenarios with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets for a situation that has Sanchez available with the 8th overall pick.  The Jaguars could potentially benefit from the rapid rise in Sanchez stock, but I've got a silly feeling that Seattle pulls the trigger at 4th overall in the first of many draft surprises.  (Note, I'm assuming that the Lions take Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick).

4. I'll admit that after the first round I have no idea who the Jaguars will select.  During draft day, I'll probably be able to guess as the players come off the board, but the gap between picks is simply too big.  I do hope, however, that I'm not surprised like I was last year, when I very nearly missed the Jaguars pick as I chose the 7th overall pick to step away and use the restroom.

5.  If you're interested, these are the current odds for the Jaguars pick.  (Odds from BoDogLife)

Who will be the eight player (Jacksonville Jaguars) selected in the NFL draft?

Jeremy Maclin                                                               2/1

Mark Sanchez                                                               5/2

B J Raji                                                                         3/1

Michael Crabtree                                                            9/2

Andre Smith                                                                  7/1



Andre Smith odds look pretty good.

6. In Gene We Trust.  Since Gene took over the team, I've grown very comfortable with his administration.  I enjoy the openness, I agree with his decisions, and I don't see the Jaguars making any gross mistakes in the draft.  I know that while we might not get the flashy folks that bring headlines, we can expect each player that gets their name called by the Jaguars to be, first and foremost, a football player.

7. After Mr. Irrelevant is selected, the real action starts.  Potential undrafted free-agents will know that they can play their way onto the Jaguars final roster.  Jack Del Rio is all about having an UFA or two make the team, with the myrad holes on the roster, it's all the more likely that we'll get the cream of the crop as far as UFA's go.

8. Should Sanchez fall pass Seattle, get ready for a slew of trades.  Trust me.

9. Don't forget to visit Big Cat Country all day long.

10.  Be at Peace.  At this point there's nothing left to scout, no big changes to make on the board.  Right now it's all about teasing out the potential first round situations and planning accordingly, but for our purposes, it's time to relax and get excited about the new uniforms, the new Jaguars, and a new season of hope.