Did the Jacksonville Jaguars Need a Backup Safety More Than a Wide Receiver?

Daniel ShanksAnalyst IJuly 2, 2009

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 16:  Gerald Alexander #42 of the Detroit Lions returns his interception against the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter at Ford Field on September 16, 2006 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It's official, Jaguar fans.

Jacksonville finalized the trade that sent wide receiver Dennis Northcutt to Detroit for safety Gerald Alexander.

There's no question that wide receiver and safety were two major needs on the roster.

The only question is this: Which unit needed more help?

That's definitely debatable. The Jaguars went out and signed Sean Considine, who is projected to be a starter alongside Reggie Nelson.

They also retrieved a former Jaguar in Marlon McCree, who had played for four different teams in the past six years.

Those moves were absolutely necessary after Jacksonville let Gerald Sensabaugh explore his options in free agency. He ended up signing with the Dallas Cowboys.

Looking at the receiver situation, there was a great deal of turnover from last year. Jacksonville got rid of the Headache Twins, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams. The Jaguars also jettisoned Jerry Porter, perhaps the biggest free agent bust in franchise history.

The team made a point of getting some help in the draft, taking three wide receivers in the later rounds. The biggest move they made on the receiver front was the signing of Torry Holt. Holt gives them a legitimate (albeit past his prime) threat in the passing game for the first time since Jimmy Smith's forced retirement.

Before making this trade, the Jaguars were definitely short on true safeties. Rookie Michael Desormeaux, a converted quarterback, is listed as a strong safety. And cornerback Brian Williams has played safety before.

But prior to the trade, the safeties were basically McCree, Considine, and Nelson. Acquiring another safety was definitely a good idea.

Even though the receiving corps was a little deeper, most of the group is much more unproven than the safeties.

In all likelihood, the Jaguars will go into the regular season with at least five receivers. Assuming that Holt is a lock for a roster spot, that leaves Jarett Dillard, Tiquan Underwood, Mike Thomas, Mike Walker, and Troy Williamson vying for the last four spots.

Three of the aforementioned receivers have never caught an NFL pass. In Walker's career, he has caught 16 passes for 217 yards. Even though Williamson's stats are slightly more impressive (84 catches, 1,097 yards, four touchdowns), he only caught five passes for 30 yards and a score in his first year in Jacksonville.

Considering he was a top-10 pick five years ago, he has been a major disappointment.

Although the team needed help at both positions, I think getting rid of Northcutt was a major mistake. The receiving corps, for the most part, is void of real experience.

Northcutt would have solidified the position until one or more of the rookies were ready to take over. I think he would have made a formidable duo with Holt, but now we'll never know.