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Jaguars Planning to Trade Down?

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As you look more and more at the upcoming NFL draft and how it pertains to the Jacksonville Jaguars, it becomes readily apparent it's unfortunate the Jaguars have only 5 draft picks. That number climbed to a whopping 6 with a compensatory pick, but even so you'd like to have quite a few more picks in such a talented draft.  According to most draft experts, this particular draft is loaded with roster building talent, talent you can use for the long haul and beyond the first, second, and third round.

 


Many Jaguars fans are hoping that the Jaguars will trade out of the 10th overall selection in April's Draft, but that is a lot easier said than done. First and foremost it's looking more and more like being stuck at the 10th overall spot is going to put the Jaguars in the proverbial rock and a hard place.  It's nice to have a pick that high because you're almost guaranteed an elite talent, but it's also a burden in the Jaguars' instance because no one at the 10 spot is really going to fit.  A quarterback likely isn't going to be there. Joe Haden, with his much improved 40 time at his pro-day, likely won't fall there now.  Eric Berry could be there, but again that is very doubtful and just wishful thinking.  Rolando McClain is interesting, but it's hard to draft a non-premium player who's strictly a middle linebacker in the top 10 of the draft.  There will be an offensive lineman there and as important as that unit is, that's a lot of money locked up on the line. Not to mention you'd be paying either a right tackle or a guard top 10 pick money. Running back C.J. Spiller is interesting match up wise, but you can't bring in a guy as the same position as Maurice Jones-Drew to back him up and make more cash.
 
For all these reasons and because of the hints general manager Gene Smith has thrown out there, I believe the Jacksonville Jaguars might trade down just for the sake of trading down.  In this draft, there honestly is not that much difference, talent wise, between the players available at 10th overall and the players available at 29th overall.  How much better is Rolando McClain than Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon? How much better is Tennessee's Dan Williams than UCLA's Brian Price? How much better is South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul and Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan than Texas' Sergio Kindle? Not only that, but are any of the former's worth the 10th overall selection? I would say just as much as the latter's, which is a resounding "No."
 
As I mentioned before, this is a great draft for teams like New England and Cleveland, who've got multiple picks in the top 100. Given the lack of disparity between the talent, the overall depth of the draft, and the fact that Jacksonville does not have a 2nd round pick, it's very possible Gene Smith could take a "lesser" deal to move down in the first round and pick up an extra draft pick or two.  It does a couple of things doing something like this. First and foremost it lessens the financial blow to the Jaguars by dumping the money that comes with a top 10 draft pick.  Not only that, but it's easier to draft because you've got more options to fit you.  I know the Jaguars under Gene Smith have shown a "Best Available Player" (BAP) philosophy, but it's much easier to fit need and value moving down in the draft; point blank it gives you more options.  You can't take someone like Idaho guard Mike Iupati at 10th overall, but you could fit him in at 15th to match need and value. You can't take Florida's Maurkice Pouncey (whom the Jaguars have shown significant interest in) at 10th overall, but you can take him at 23rd and legitimately argue BAP.

While some will point to the NFL Draft Value chart, that thing has been blown out of the water so many times the past few seasons it's not even really worth mentioning.  If Jacksonville can move out of the 10 spot to the mid-teens or the twenties however, and pick up simply a 2nd round pick and a couple of mid-to-late round selections, in a deep draft like this it can go very far.  I'm not saying the Jaguars can pull 4-5 starters out of the draft like they did last year, but for a team that's "rebuilding on the hush" they are valuable players to build the base of a roster and build it the correct way.