The Jacksonville Jaguars put a big emphasis on character under former general manager Gene Smith, which earned him the mocking nickname of "Clean Gene". Going forward under new general manager Dave Caldwell the team will still emphasis character, but it sounds like they will still be willing to take a risk if it's worthwhile.
For the 2013 NFL Draft however, the Jaguars have pulled roughly a dozen names off their draft board for character concerns.
Caldwell said 10-12 players not on board because of character. #JagsTU— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) April 22, 2013
There are some players we can speculate that fit this bill, but under Caldwell we really don't know what would push a player off his draft board due to character.
"I think that the number one thing is that he has to love football and he has to be a good person. If he can do those two things, he has a chance here. If he loves football and he’s going to do all the things that we ask him to, we also want him to be productive in the community," Caldwell told reporters at the pre-draft media luncheon on Monday afternoon. "We all have a past. Every player we take is not going to be angelic, and we just need to have players that respect the rules and the laws and that are going to be available to play."
This sounds like the right approach for Caldwell going forward, as you need some edge to your team. The jokes were constantly made about Gene Smith and his team of choir boys, but the fact of the matter is kids are going to be kids and mess up while in college. It happens. You have to weigh what they did, how they act, and determine if it's going to be a problem in the future, especially if you think you have a good support system around them in the locker room.
"We’re not going to have boy scouts on our team, I understand that, but there comes a point in time where you have to evaluate a player and look at his past," Caldwell continued. "We’ve talked to many of these players and feel good about, ‘Hey, you know what, we can help him not only on the field, but off the field.’ There are certain things that we would shy away from, but there’s other things that we feel, ‘These are young college kids that we feel like their youth is behind them and they have matured.’"
It's a bit refreshing hearing Caldwell speak on the pre-draft process, because while he's guarded, at the same time he's much more open than Gene Smith ever was.