The Jacksonville Jaguars failed to make the playoffs again last season, as they had another late-season meltdown. They were in contention all the way to the end, but they simply didn't have enough talent to make a postseason run. Jack Del Rio is still the coach for another season, but he will most likely be out if he fails to do anything next season.
David Garrard had a decent season last year, but he isn’t the long-term option as the starting quarterback. The Jaguars should strongly consider bringing in a quarterback of the future in this year’s draft.
Maurice Jones Drew continues to be the focal point of the offense by turning in yet another successful season. He makes the offense go, but the Jaguars may want to find a complement for him so that he doesn’t get overworked.
The receiving group lacks a No. 1 target, but Mike Thomas gives Garrard a solid option. Mike Sims-Walker struggled, and he may not be back in 2011, which will seriously hurt the depth of this unit. Marcedes Lewis is a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end who gives the Jaguars their biggest threat in the passing game.
The offensive line is very solid, with young bookends Eben Britton and Eugene Monroe leading the way. The interior is also solid, with Vince Manuwai and Uche Nwaneri at the guard positions. Brad Meester is still a solid player, but he is getting older so they need to find a long-term replacement for him.
The defensive tackle combination of Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton is one of the better pairings in the league. The defensive end group is another story, as they lack a serious pass-rushing threat. The Jaguars thought that they solved that problem when they brought in Aaron Kampman, but he suffered his second torn ACL in two seasons. This is a position that badly needs an upgrade this offseason.
Daryl Smith is a very solid starter at one outside linebacker position, but the rest of the unit is a question mark. Justin Durant is a good player, but he is a constant injury risk who is also a free agent. Kirk Morrison is an adequate starter, but he is also someone who could be upgraded this offseason.
The starting cornerbacks are solid, as Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox will be the starter again next season. However, the depth is a pretty big concern, where David Jones and Tyron Brackenridge are the main backups. Both safety positions could use an upgrade, as Courtney Greene and Don Carey are not long-term options at the starting positions.
1. (10) DT Tyson Alualu, California
He was thought to be a reach at No. 10 overall, but he played exceptionally well last season.
16 GP/16 GS
3. (74) DT D’Anthony Smith, Louisiana Tech
He was injured during training camp and he missed the entire season.
0 GP/0 GS
5. (143) DE Larry Hart, Central Arkansas
Hart didn’t make a big impact and wasn’t able to crack the rotation, despite this position being a weakness.
14 GP/0 GS
5. (153) DE Austen Lane, Murray State
He played well for a fifth-round pick, but he still has a way to go before he becomes a consistent starter.
11 GP/9 GS
6. (180) RB Deji Karim, Southern Illinois
Karim looks like he could a solid contributor as a runner and a return man.
11 GP/0 GS
6. (203) CB Scotty McGee, James Madison
He didn’t play the entire season, but he’ll get a chance to make the roster in 2011.
This draft didn’t yield a lot of early returns overall, but they found a solid starter with their top pick in Alualu. I’m still very critical of this draft, as not only did they take four defensive linemen with their first four picks, but three of those linemen are long-term projects from small schools. Karim looks like a keeper as a backup running back.
The Jaguars just can’t seem to find a big-time pass rusher at defensive end. Former first-rounder Derrick Harvey can officially be labeled a bust, as he has produced basically nothing since being drafted. Aaron Kampman is a good pass rusher, but he’s coming off of his second consecutive torn ACL. His best days are now clearly behind him. Jeremy Mincey and Austen Lane got some starts last year, but neither of them is the dominant pass rusher the Jaguars need.
With such a strong draft for defensive ends, I really think that the Jaguars need to draft one either in Round 1 or Round 2. They need to get more pressure on the quarterback for their defense to be more effective.
Round 1: Aldon Smith, Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan, Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Jordan
Round 2: Jabaal Sheard, Brooks Reed
Round 3: Sam Acho, Jeremy Beal
Round 4: Greg Romeus, Cliff Matthews
Two very strong options in Round 1 would be Kerrigan or Clayborn. Both of those players would come in and start right away, while providing the Jaguars with a legitimate pass rush. They can still get a solid player in Sheard or Reed in Round 2, but they need to draft a defensive end high.
This is another position at which the Jaguars basically have no talent. Courtney Greene and Don Carey are much more suited to being backups than starters. Sean Considine may not be back with the team next season, and he’s not really a starting-caliber player either. The Jaguars gave up on former first-round pick Reggie Nelson, trading him to Cincinnati before the season.
This is a position that I could conceivably see the Jaguars taking two of in this draft. They need an upgrade at both safety positions for next season.
Round 1: Rahim Moore
Round 2: DeAndre McDaniel
Round 3: Jaiquawn Jarrett, Tyler Sash, Ahmad Black
Round 4: Robert Sands, Deunta Williams, Quinton Carter, Jeron Johnson, Eric Hagg
Round 5: Joe Lefeged, Da’Norris Searcy
Rahim Moore would be a reach in Round 1, but the Jaguars showed they are not afraid to reach for someone they like with selecting Alualu so high last year. I think it’d be a good idea to pick up two mid- to late-round safeties to compete for the starting spots next season.
The Jaguars lack an impact player at the inside linebacker spot. Kirk Morrison is an adequate starter, but he is a player who could be upgraded. He is a free agent, and I think that the Jaguars may be wise to spend their money elsewhere. They should at least bring in someone to compete for the starting job with him.
This isn’t exactly a spectacular class for middle linebackers, but they could find a potential starter in the middle rounds if they choose not to re-sign Morrison.
Round 2: Martez Wilson, Kelvin Sheppard
Round 3: Greg Jone, Quan Sturdivant
Round 4: Akeem Dent, Casey Matthews
Round 5: Chris White, Nick Bellore
I’m a huge fan of Sheppard, and I think that he could really make an impact in the middle of the Jaguars defense. Dent and Matthews are solid players who could probably challenge for the starting spot in their rookie seasons.
David Garrard actually had a pretty solid season last year, but the Jaguars need to find a better option for the future. Garrard isn’t worth the money that he is getting paid, and the Jaguars don’t have a shot of making some noise in the postseason unless they find a better quarterback. It may be time to draft a quarterback for the future and let him sit behind Garrard for a season or two.
The Jaguars most likely won’t take a quarterback in the first round, but at the very least they will consider one to try and find a long-term solution.
Round 1: Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker
Round 2: Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick
Round 3: Ricky Stanzi
Round 5: Nate Enderle, Pat Devlin
If Mallett and Locker are available for Jacksonville, they could strongly consider drafting one of them to groom as the quarterback of the future. They also could find one in Round 2 or Round 3, as Dalton and Stanzi have some excellent long-term potential.
The team still lacks a No. 1 receiver, despite using first-round picks in recent years on Matt Jones and Reggie Williams. Mike Thomas proved to be a solid starting receiver last season with 66 receptions, but I still wouldn’t classify him as a No. 1 receiver. Mike Sims-Walker was a disappointment last year, and he most likely won’t be back with the team next season.
The depth on this squad is also a problem, as Jason Hill and Tiquan Underwood are no more than No. 4 or No. 5 options.
Round 1: Julio Jones
Round 2: Titus Young, Jon Baldwin, Torrey Smith, Greg Little, Leonard Hankerson
Round 3: Jerel Jernigan, Dwayne Harris, Vincent Brown, Greg Salas, Niles Paul
Round 4: Jeremy Kerley, Cecil Shorts, Austin Pettis
The Jaguars most likely won’t find a sure-fire No. 1 receiver in this year’s draft. A.J. Green will be gone for sure, but there’s an outside chance that Julio Jones will still be available at pick No. 16. The Jaguars may find his talent too hard to pass up in Round 1.
The starters are pretty solid, but there is almost no depth at this position. One or two mid- to late-round cornerbacks could be selected in the draft.
Brad Meester is playing well, but he won’t be around too much longer. The Jaguars need to find a long-term replacement for him.
Daryl Smith is solid on one side, but Justin Durant is a free agent who may not be back due to his injury concerns.
This is a win-now type of season for head coach Jack Del Rio, who may be coaching to save his job this season. I think that the Jaguars will most likely target players who can help them out this season, rather than use picks on long-term projects, as they did in 2010. Their most pressing needs lie on the defensive side of the ball, where they lack a top pass rusher and any starting-quality safeties.
The offense is actually solid overall, but the lack of a No. 1 receiver could hurt David Garrard’s stock. The Jaguars may consider finding a long-term replacement for Garrard in this year’s draft, but they also could be content with having Garrard as the starter for the foreseeable future.