Everything the Jaguars Fan Needs to Know About the 2013 Combine
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
For most fans, the NFL Scouting Combine is a trap. It contains about as much intellectual nutrition for the hungry football mind as a piece of cotton candy.
When it comes to the Jacksonville Jaguars, however, it's easy to excuse fans who are waiting breathlessly for updates.
Unlike most teams, the Jaguars can actually formulate a good plan for their first-round pick in February.
Most teams need to worry about re-signing their own players and hitting free agency first because they can't count on the player they want being available in the draft.
Because the Jags have the second overall pick, they can formulate more of a plan than most.
Jacksonville only has to worry about one team ahead of them come April.
Many analysts are pegging Geno Smith to go to the Kansas City Chiefs first overall. But it's far from a universal belief.
The nice thing about drafting second is that Jags fans can primarily focus on a small pool of five or six players.
The problem with the combine is that the most useful information is never made public. The private interviews with players matter tremendously. Smart teams are weighing game tape more heavily than raw measurables anyway, so those interviews are what pulls the scouting report together.
Still, some things can prove helpful.
The medical reports matter. No team is going to take a risk with a top pick. The team wants to know the prospects are healthy.
Likewise, pay attention to weights. Players who come in out of shape for what amounts to the biggest job interview of their lives are broadcasting their character deficiencies for all to see.
There's no guarantee Geno Smith will be the top pick, but if he is, the Jaguars will get their choice of anyone else on the board.
Smith doesn't seem like the kind of surefire prospect worth blowing a top-tier pick on, so while Jaguars fans have to be aware of him, he's more interesting as a potential path-clearer for other players to fall to the second slot.
If the Chiefs or anyone else have fallen in love with Smith, additional value could be transferred to the second pick. Also, if the league randomly decides Matt Barkley can play, the Jags' pick becomes more desirable.
The trade market has been soft, but quarterback-driven insanity can strike at any moment. If it does, the Jaguars could score a windfall if they are willing to pass on a less-than-sure thing.
The Big Defenders
If a team can't land a quarterback in the first round, then the next best thing is a fast pass-rusher to ensure the opposing quarterback goes down and goes down hard.
Along with Star Lotulelei, almost every draft board is stocked with big, fast defenders in the top six picks.
The bottom line is that the quarterbacks aren't attractive, and drafting Luke Joeckel to play tackle won't likely lead to wins. Ask the Cleveland Browns how many games they won by drafting Joe Thomas. He was the absolute best-case scenario for a top-of-the-draft tackle, and the team is still a disaster.
All eyes are on the towering pass-rushers. All stand at least 6' 4" and are absolute beasts along the line.
It's a new day in Jacksonville, so with little draft history from David Caldwell to go on, it's best to focus on the best values. The plethora of top defenders dilutes the trade value of the second pick, but the bright side is that regardless of what the Chiefs do first, the Jags are going to land a game changer.
The combine doesn't matter nearly as much as the game tape, but with so little separating most of the top defenders, perhaps something that happens in Indianapolis will tilt the scales.
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