I attended the Jaguar event "An Evening With The Coaches" tonight, and I really had a great time. I thought the 2 coaches they had do a presentation, Dirk Koetter and Mel Tucker, were funny and informative. The event was emceed by Cole Pepper who did a good job of joking with Jaxson de Ville and the crowd. For me, though, the highlight was the presentation by Terry McDonough, Director of Player Personnel (and Gene's right hand man). McDonough began the event with a talk about the draft process here in Jacksonville. He said he and Gene create a board that they develop after watching untold hours of film and study, and that they are looking for leaders who love football - high character individuals who are dedicated to the game and becoming as good as they can be. He said when Gene hired him, Gene told him: "this is a 4 year plan to build a team". He then walked though the 2 drafts that he and Gene have been here for, pick by pick.
One of the highlights of the pick by pick breakdown was that McDonough and Gene Smith always share a laugh about how when Derek Cox gets criticized, everyone throws out the fact that the Jaguars overpaid by trading a second round pick - since thats what they traded to pick Cox in the third round. He said what's funny is that the Jaguars acquired the 3rd rounder, giving them back to back picks, and they knew exactly who they were drafting: Knighton and Cox. However they had no plan on which order to hand in the picks - it just happened that Knighton was announced first, so the traded pick became Cox. In hindsight, if the order was reversed, no one would've questioned giving up a 2nd for Pot Roast. I thought that was interesting...and true.
What stood out to me most was that McDonough was very clear that this is year 2 of what Gene Smith has always said is a "4 year plan", so even if it seems like things are happenning in fits and starts, don't forget the plan - he consistently reminded us to give it 4 years and the results will be what we all want: "a team we can be proud of, on and off of, the field". He addressed the upcoming draft briefly, pointing out the many obvious holes we need to fix, and said that when the draft is over the work of putting the team together will not done. He said they will be making strong moves in pro free agency and in undrafted free agency. He did not get specific on what players the Jaguars might be targeting.
All in all, a fun event. I really appreciate all the things the Jaguars do for us fans. They truly make an effort to make us part of the organization. Hopefully, there will be football in August and our Everbank Field seats will be full.