The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of those teams that despite having a top-10 pick, they are not that bad of a football team.
If you examine their roster, you’ll see either capable starters or young players from previous drafts that are in the process of being molded into players.
This 7-9 team just has had some bad luck. First, they are in the same division as Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. They also have two other capable teams for rivals in the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.
This is pretty much the same team that did something that had never been done before three years ago. In the '07 season, they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Pittsburgh, twice; once in regular season and another in the playoffs.
I see this team as a team that certainly can contend for playoffs and even win in the playoffs.
Another form of bad luck they had was they decided to try the 3-4 defense in their games, but it failed miserably, and they now, according to general manager Gene Smith, they are no longer going to use the 3-4, but rely on the 4-3.
This means that they need pass-rushing defensive ends instead of outside linebackers.
The Jaguars have picked up an accomplished pass-rusher named Aaron Kampman from the Green Bay Packers via free agency.
Kampman is a 30-year-old outside linebacker for the Packers, but was originally a 4-3 end until Green Bay decided to use a 3-4. Kampman was uncomfortable with his position, and he suffered from a knee injury in the process.
Now, he’s healthy again, and I think it was a very good pickup by the Jaguars in acquiring him.
However, I think they need insurance. This team needs a pass rush. They accumulated only 14 sacks last season and that is the fifth most in NFL history.
Now obviously, they could get upgrades at other positions like wide receiver or linebacker or even a new quarterback, but no receiver except Dez Bryant is worth this pick, and he’s done nothing to prove that he is a committed player.
I don’t think Jacksonville should play with fire. Draft Derrick Morgan, defensive end, out of Georgia Tech.
Derrick Morgan is a pure pass rusher. To give a historical reference, I’d compare him to Mark Gastineau of the Jets famous defensive line known as, "The New York Sack Exchange."
Gastineau had 22 sacks in a season in 1984, 20 in 1981 unofficially, and 19 in 1983.
Now, I’m not going to anoint Derrick Morgan to Gastineau’s level yet, but he reminds me of him with the way he plays and his size.
Morgan is 6’4", 274lbs, and runs a 4.72 forty time. Gastineau was 6’6", 275lbs, and ran a 4.5 forty.
Similar aren’t they?
Morgan may have the short change in terms of height and speed, but he also matches Gastineau in terms of what I saw on film.
The guy just runs up the field on offensive tackles. He fires off the snap like a jockey does when he hears the gun fire. I’ve seen him just blow to the side of the offensive tackle and start his run around to get the quarterback from behind.
He certainly is enough trouble to be double blocked at times, and he’ll make you pay if you put just a regular offensive tackle on him.
He’s pretty good against the run, but being a natural pass rusher, he’s going to be more focused on the pass than the run, but there are times where he shined there especially against Clemson where he pushed a blocker backwards and had a diving leg tackle on the running back.
I think the only possible negative is his speed, and the fact that in the Orange Bowl, he went up against one of the best left tackles in the NCAA for Iowa named Bryan Bulaga, and Bulaga shut him down the entire game keeping him to zero sacks and only a very few pressures while Iowa won 24-14.
There is just something about him. For a guy this talented, I just have this feeling. I saw a lot of times where he got pressure, but no sack and maybe he’s just not fast enough for me to say he’s a solid gold pick.
I think he’ll need some effective coaching because I don’t believe he’s the finished product. I think he should work on getting a bit faster, if he can drop his time to a 4.5 to 4.6 then he’ll be a real menace with that kind of up the field speed.
Overall, very good pick and Jacksonville should get him to possibly challenge Derrick Harvey and help the team out.
There is another prospect at defensive end named Jason Pierre-Paul, who is just as dynamic, if not more than Derrick Morgan.
I’m torn there as well because Pierre-Paul is a player whose athletic ability certainly leaves one stunned at times, but if you take the entire story, Pierre-Paul has more negatives than positives.
For one thing, Morgan has played longer and has been more consistent than Pierre-Paul, plus he is smarter football-wise in terms of channeling his ability into making plays and he came from a division with a lot of good competition.
I just think Morgan is a smarter pick while I acknowledge that Pierre-Paul has more potential.
If the Jaguars don’t want to draft a defensive end, then my biggest suggestion is to trade the pick, because if you check my mock, they isn’t a player of a position that they direly need that is worth the pick they have. All the big prospects like McCoy, Suh, McClain, and Berry are gone.
They may not want one because according to Jacksonville.com and beat writer Vito Stellino’s January 31, 2010 article, the Jaguars have noticed improvement in Derrick Harvey and they are probably not going to give up on the 2008 eighth overall draft pick.
However on draft day, anything is possible.
Good luck to the Jaguars though. They are a good organization that deserves success.