The Jacksonville Jaguars Must Draft Well and Other AFC South Must-Reads

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 29, 2013

Monroe is one of the few early-round hits for the Jags in recent memory.
Monroe is one of the few early-round hits for the Jags in recent memory.Rick Stewart/Getty Images

If you want to build a contender, all you have to do is draft well.

That's the message of the article of the day in the AFC South. Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union traces what got the Ravens and 49ers to the Super Bowl, and most of it came from good work each April.

Obviously, good drafts are the bedrock of any successful franchise. What's telling, however, is the lack of impact free agents on either roster.

As Gene Smith learned the hard way, big-dollar free agents rarely work out. Teams can use veterans as a way of shoring up weak spots on the roster, but they are rarely franchise-changers.

The real danger of trusting a GM who is bad at drafting to fix a team via free agency is that the same problems he displays in talent evaluation at the college level can appear at the pro level. While there are different scouts involved, the judgement of the GM is a constant.

New general manager David Caldwell isn't talking quick fixes because he's smart enough to know that without a franchise quarterback, there's no way to rebuild the Jags roster in just one offseason.

Patience isn't popular, but it took the 49ers six seasons after their spectacular 2007 draft to make the Super Bowl. Granted, they became relevant before that.

Right now, Jags fans would happily take relevant, even if they have to wait just a little bit longer for it.


General Interest

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective documents how coaches' teams performed in the playoff relative to expectations.

Stuart argues luck is behind a lot of Joe Flacco's good play.

Jack Moore of Advanced NFL Stats believes coaches are too conservative in no-man's land.


Houston Texans

Paul Kuharsky of says J.J. Watt's pinkie saved the Pro Bowl.


Indianapolis Colts

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun says ex-Colts coach Jim Caldwell has had a good effect on Flacco.


Tennessee Titans

John Glennon of the Tennessean says Michael Griffin would like the team to hire Gregg Williams.


Jacksonville Jaguars

O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union runs down the new coaching hires.