Jaguars Stick to Plan with the Draft

Richard O'NealSenior Analyst IJune 4, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 25:  Jacksonville Jaguars #8 draft pick Eugene Monroe poses with his family at Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The Jacksonville Jaguars were faced with a dilemma during Saturday’s NFL Draft: Go with the popular vote or stick to their original philosophy of BAP?

The Jags chose to keep their sound philosophy by taking University of Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe with the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft.

The pick came down to Monroe or Michael Crabtree, the highly coveted receiver from Texas Tech, who was very high, if not the highest, on the Jags' value board and the Jags went with Monroe, opting to go after a receiver in the later rounds of the draft.

If you ask the Jags, as soon as the Rams chose tackle Jason Smith from Baylor, it was obvious who they were going to take.

Taking Monroe and fellow tackle Eben Britton from Arizona should instantly solidify the huge holes that the Jags had in their offensive line, as well as providing depth, which the Jaguars severely lacked last year.

The Jaguars also did a fantastic job of drafting at the wide receiver position by taking Mike Thomas (Arizona), Jarrett Dillard (Rice), and Tiquan Underwood (Rutgers).

Thomas and Underwood bring much-needed deep speed to a receiving core that struggled with consistency and production for the last several years.

Dillard brings his distinct ability to catch the ball in traffic, and pretty much anywhere else for that matter, leading the nation in TD catches in his senior season.

The Jaguars selected defensive tackle Terrance Knighton from Temple with their third pick with the hopes that he will replace Marcus Stroud and team up with John Henderson to put pressure on the opposing quarterback.

The Jaguars also moved up in the third round to take William & Mary defensive back Derek Cox, who will bring solid tackling skills to a secondary that struggled to tackle well last season.

The Jags took quarterback-turned-tight end Zach Miller with their sixth round pick and selected Liberty running back Rashad Jennings in the seventh round, which will hopefully turn out to be a very valuable addition to the Jaguars' offensive backfield after the recent departure of former Jag great Fred Taylor.

The Jaguars have clearly shown an initiative to get better on both sides of the ball and clean up their clubhouse with quality football players, on and off the field.

Gene Smith has shown himself to be the smart choice as General Manager of the team and it will be interesting to see what the Jags do next year as a result of the smart moves by the organization.