The drafting by former Jaguars GM Shack Harris left much to be desired. His first three first round picks are no longer with the team and are now either out of the league or back ups. The only pick who has shown any signs of reaching the potential of a first round pick has been TE Marcedes Lewis. However, hind sight is always 20/20. Did those picks make sense at the time of drafting them, regardless of what happened afterwards?
2003: Bryon Leftwich, QB, Marshall
Very simple here, the most common pick during a regime change is at quarterback. Bryon was a top 10 player on almost everyone's board so it made sense that the Jaguars would select him. However, this would set the new regime off to a bad start from the get go, with reports Jack Del Rio wanted to take Arizona St DE Terrell Suggs.
My Take: The pick of Byron Leftwich typifies the draft philosophy of Shack Harris, grab great athletes and hope they'll be good football players. The injury concerns and poor mechanics that so heavily influenced Leftwich's stay here in Jacksonville were there to see for everyone. However, his ICBM launcher of an arm was too much to pass up. Either way, it was a sound pick when it was made. The Jaguars had to distance themselves from the Coughlin era and no easier way than to try to get a franchise quarterback.
2004: Reggie Williams, WR, Washington
In a surprise move, the Jaguars took Reggie Williams with the 9th pick in the draft in 2004. With the release of Keenan McCardell and an aging Jimmy Smith, their was certainly a need to grab a top tier WR. However, not only was Reggie Williams not a top tier WR, their were much better players on the draft board.
My Take: Here we have the most glaring example of Shack Harris going strictly after a need rather than anything else. In the 15 picks following Reggie Williams, 7 became Pro Bowlers. Not to mention only Michael Clayton and JP Losman are the only one's who could really be labeled busts. If there is ever a pick that continues to haunt this organization, it's this one.
2005: Matt Jones, WR, Arkansas
The Jaguars managed to almost get into the playoffs, however, the pass game was still a weakness. In a "swing big" moment, the Jaguars grabbed the biggest enigma in the draft. Matt Jones than proceeded to become known for a non-existent work ethic and later a fondness for Columbian Bam Bam.
My Take: A "swing big" pick that could've paid off for the Jaguars. Jones was one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft because of his raw numbers and competent showing at the combine. However, Roddy White's selection just 6 picks later makes this another bust.
2006: Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA
With the Jaguars passing game still in need of trying to find an identity, particularly in the post-Jimmy Smith world, the Jaguars grabbed the 2005 Mackey Award winner. Lewis was noted for his terrific pass catching skills and ability to become a Tony Gonzalez clone.
My Take: Now that Lewis has begun to show his pass catching ability, it seems this pick is going to pay off. While Nick Mangold and several other players were taken after Lewis, if Lewis does become a legit passing threat than this pick gets a pass.
2007: Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
In one of the most controversial draft days in recent history, the Jaguars traded out of the 17th position to the 21st, and eventually took Reggie Nelson. However, it's remembered more for passing on Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn twice.
My Take: It's not passing on Quinn that gives this pick a failing grade, because does anyone think the Jags would be better off with Quinn? It's trading out of the 17th position and passing on S Michael Griffith, who already has made the Pro Bowl.
2008: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
My Take: Real simple, this is another "Swing big" moment for Shack, and this time he swung with two strikes.