Browsing the web, I've seen every possible draft grade for the Jaguars. Everything from A to D. It boils down to either understanding Gene Smith's drafting style, or wanting him thrown out of the building.
Smith is constantly knocked for taking small school players instead of those from more prominent schools. He tends to draft players who have entered the draft as juniors and seniors and players who were captains of their respective teams.
Although we'll have to wait another year or two to be determined the success of his two drafts, Smith selects the true best available players (BAP), no matter when he finds them.
Almost every single mock draft out their saw the Jaguars staying at 16 to take Ryan Kerrigan, but who would have guessed that Gabbert would slip to 10 and be taken by the Jaguars?
A top quarterback prospect like Gabbert is what the Jaguars need to develop into a stronger team and complete the rebuilding process. They gave up a 1st and 2nd round pick to jump in front of Minnesota, a team with a glaring need at QB, at No. 12.
However, the Jaguars felt it was necessary. If you can take a franchise quarterback, you take him, plain and simple.
Rackley was taken by the Jags in the 3rd round. He played left tackle at Lehigh and will most likely be plugged in at guard considering Monroe and Britton have claimed both tackle spots. Thus the Jaguars continue to solidify their offensive line for the future, which gives Jones-Drew, Garrard and eventually Gabbert another solid lineman.
With their remaining picks in the draft, the Jaguars selected WR Cecil Shorts III, FS Chris Prosinski and CB Rod Isaac.
WR is a need considering Mike Thomas and Jason Hill are the only two WR that have produced on the field. Dillard has shown some flash but has been injured in his only two seasons. If he can stay healthy, he can be a great contribution.
Prosinski and Isaac were drafted in the 4th and 5th rounds, in order to compete and potentially strengthen a porous secondary. Prosinski will almost surely take the starting role from Don Carey and Isaac will either battle for the nickel corner spot or play as a dime back. Both players are given D to F grades.
How can any of these players be truly graded? They have yet to play a single down in the NFL and college competition varies from team to team, considering only 250 players (give or take) make it to the NFL. That does not mean that they will all be successful. The number one pick has just as much chance to bust as the number 254, the only difference is the amount of pressure to succeed and the amount of value placed on the athlete.
That being said, most analyst have given the Jaguars an average of a C, mostly considering the Jags didn't fill their need at defensive end and obtained secondary help with lesser graded athletes.
Yet, would it be so strange to plug Tyson Alualu in at left end, considering he played all defensive line spots in college? They drafted D'Anthony Smith last year as well, who could be inserted next to Terrance Knighton at defensive tackle. He was for the entirety of last season, but he could turn into a solid starter, or provide much needed depth.
Kirk Morrison and Justin Durant are FA, yet cannot be re-signed without a CBA in place. If both of those aren't re-signed, their are other possible LB's in need of work.
Mark Herzlich, linebacker from Boston College, went undrafted and seems to be healthy once again. It's also worth mentioning that Herzlich was the ACC 2008 Defensive player of the year and was a top LB prospect before suffering from a form a cancer. He appears to be a potential steal for any team picking him up.
Other potentials would be Paul Posluszny or Manny Lawson, among others, at linebackers.
Strong safety could be improved, but it isn't a terribly glaring need. Safety Greene should be looked at for another year before any decisions are made if no free agents are taken.
The draft is what it is. Players were taken to both make an impact immediately and in the future. All picks from Gabbert to Isaac were chosen because Smith and the Jaguars' organization believe they can contribute to the organization. It's not set in stone that these players are going to be great or even last in the NFL, but only time will tell. The only certainty given is that they will all make the team and be evaluated from there, once signed.
That being said, this may or may not be Jack Del Rio's last year as a coach. It's his final year on contract and Wayne Weaver is expecting results. However, the acquisition of Gabbert has changed things, and depending on if he plays and how the Jaguars perform this year, Del Rio might be able to stay.