2012 NFL Draft: The Jacksonville Jaguars' Strategy Needs to Change

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistApril 24, 2012

The Jags need more of these guys.
The Jags need more of these guys.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

All this has happened before, all this will happen again.

Teams tend to fall into patterns when it comes to the draft, so by analyzing past draft strategies we can gain insight into what moves a team might make.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had three drafts in the Gene Smith era. What can we learn about their tendencies?

Smith loves to build the line. That's no newsflash to Jaguars fans, I'm sure. Of his top eight picks, six have been on the offensive or defensive line. They've had varying degrees of success, and Smith could really use a home run this weekend.

Smith has yet to draft a linebacker. In fact, the Jaguars have only drafted four linebackers since 2006. This helps illuminate why the Jags had to go out and get Paul Posluszny and Clint Session in free agency last year.

Part of the reason the Jaguars lack playmakers beyond Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis is that they simply haven't invested in skill players in the draft. They haven't taken a receiver or running back higher than the third round since 2006 when they took Lewis in the first and Jones-Drew in the second round.

The result of this strategy has been a roster that's very solid, but lacks the ability to score points and win games. Theoretically, this should be the year the Jaguars go to town on skill players. They simply cannot afford to take another defensive lineman or cornerback early. Glamor players get the attention because they make the big plays necessary to win games.

Smith's back is against the wall. The Jaguars can't rest on the laurels of the 2006 draft forever.