NFL.com's Mike Silver talked with Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and owner Shad Khan, and got a peek into the team's strategy during the first two rounds. Most striking was that the Jaguars were willing to give up multiple picks in Rounds 2 and 3 to make sure they got one of who they thought were the two best running backs available: Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon.
In fact, it was Gus Bradley who was the loudest spokesman for a running back after they got Dante Fowler with the No. 3 overall pick.
"Coach Gus Bradley really wanted a running back.Had either of the top two backs on the Jags' draft board, Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, still been around after the 20th overall selection, Caldwell was prepared to try to move up to grab one, packing Jacksonville's second-round pick (36th overall) with other selections. The price, he believed, might come as cheap as a third-round pick, possibly even next year's."
But Todd Gurley went No. 10 overall to the St. Louis Rams and Melvin Gordon went No. 15 overall to the San Diego Chargers. That left the Jaguars with the fourth pick in the second round at the end of Day 1. Silver describes the dialogue between Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley as thus:
"We really gotta get (T.J.) Yeldon if he's there," Bradley said, referring to the former Alabama running back.
"We'll see," Caldwell said -- perhaps trying to preclude the possibility of his intentions being leaked to outsiders, or possibly firming up the don't-fall-in-love philosophy that he, too, espouses.
Caldwell didn't want to commit, largely, he said, because options are good... they allow you to be flexible and gain ground if the right trade is offered. And that's exactly what Silver said happened soon after:
A few minutes after the first round's conclusion, Snead (whom Caldwell succeeded as Dimitroff's right-hand man in Atlanta) called to offer a deal: The 41st overall selection and running back Zac Stacy, in exchange for the Jags' 36th pick. Stacy, made expendable by the selection of Gurley, had a productive rookie campaign in 2013 before being pushed into a lesser role last season.
But with Yeldon there when the Jaguars were on the clock, he kept the pick and took his man.