Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2009 NFL Draft Grades: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars were my choice to be the AFCs representative in Super Bowl XLIII with my final 2008 predictions. I was way off. From 11-5 to 5-11? How did that happen? Well it's safe to say it was an anomaly; Jacksonville will be back, and soon.

Injuries along the offensive line and a lack of playmakers at WR kept the offense from doing much of anything. Jacksonville was average in the passing game, ranking 15th in 2008. However the rushing attack dropped from 2nd in 2007 to 18th in 2008. Those line injuries were a big factor in that are, so was the degradation of Fred Taylor (now in New England). They had some discipline issues with a former defensive leader in Mike Petersen, which was strictly dealt with by Jack Del Rio. Petersen is no longer with the team. The defense held their own in the rushing game but gave up too many points, almost 23 per game. Their below average defense had no help from a decrepit 'O'.

Jack Del Rio returns and may be seeking redemption for a season that was widely viewed as a failure. Heck, it was a failure. From Super Bowl aspirations to the 8th pick in the draft? FAIL. But 2009 is here and they are getting quite the group of new recruits, thanks to a stellar draft. Watch out AFC South, the Jags should be back!

1/8/8 - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
2/7/39 - Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
3/8/72 - Terrance Knighton, DT, Temple
3/9/73 - Derek Cox, CB, William & Mary
4/7/107 - Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
5/8/144 - Jarett Dillard, WR, Rice
6/7/180 - Zach Miller, TE, Nebraska-Omaha
7/41/250 - Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty
7/44/253 - Tiquan Underwood, WR, Rutgers

  • WR - Check!
  • QB - Try again.
  • OL - Check!
  • DL - Check!
  • LB - Try again.
The Jaguars added two additional picks through trades and ended up with a total of nine selections. They used them to fill big needs at OT and WR, but chose to ignore finding a young QB and depth at LB. David Garrard should be happy. The Jaguars appear to have made wise selections, ones that will help now and in the future. Finding your future starting tackles in the same draft is a great move. Instead of going for a converted QB playing TE in the NFL, they may have been better suited to grab a player at LB, a position with little depth. They could have done the same with their final pick but instead chose to add a third WR.

GRADE: 75/100

Pick 1 - Monroe at one time was viewed as a possible #1 pick. Then Jason Smith had a strong combine a Pro Day workout, pushing Monroe to the back burner. The Jaguars get their LT of the future, who will push both Tra Thomas and Tony Pashos. If he doesn't win the LT spot he should grab the RT spot. Grade: 10

Pick 2 - Deja vu, another OT. It isn't crazy though. Pashos has really underperformed since coming over from Baltimore as a free agent and the massive injuries suffered up front in '08 are ringing loud in Jacksonville's ears. Britton will not be rushed because of the presence of Thomas, Pashos, and Monroe. But Britton and Monroe should be the starting bookends by 2011, at the latest. Grade: 9

Pick 3 - The Jaguars run 'D' took a minor hit after Marcus Stroud was sent to Buffalo. They've been rotating guys in next to John Henderson without much to show for it. Terrance Knighton is a big boy in the Stroud mold and could earn the spot next to Henderson by mid-season. It was a need area and the Jaguars filled it, though taking him in the 3rd may have been a bit of a reach. Grade: 6

Pick 4 - Jacksonville traded up to have back-to-back picks in round three. With their second consecutive pick they went defensive secondary, selecting CB Derek Cox. Cox is from a small school and needs a lot of refining to be an adequate nickel back in The League. This was a definite reach, especially with players such as Kevin Barnes and Asher Allen still on the board. Grade: 4

Pick 5 - The Jaguars have been searching for new WRs since Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith left. No luck so far. Perhaps Mike Thomas is part of the answer. It's doubtful he'll perform like a superstar but he has the speed and hands to be a great slot man in the future. He'll work his way up the depth chart fast. Grade: 7

Pick 6 - They went with WRs successive picks, selecting Jarett Dillard a round after taking Thomas. They needed WRs for sure so this wasn't a bad move. I like Dillard better than Thomas and think he can become a legitimate #2 WR. He's about 2.5 inches taller than Thomas though neither crack 6', which is a concern. Grade: 8

Pick 7 - I don't get this pick. Not only is Miller learning a new position (how'd that Matt Jones thing work out?), but was a developmental TE really a necessity? Why not a QB or LB here? Or a better TE prospect, like Bear Pascoe or John Phillips? Grade: 2

Pick 8 - Holy steal! Jennings was considered a 3rd round prospect. Why did he fall here? I don't have the answer but the Jaguars have stolen another RB, one who is a perfect complement to MJD. If I wasn't so high on Monroe I'd say Jennings was their best pick. Grade: 10

Pick 9 - Finally a WR over 6'! Underwood is the rawest of the trio of WRs taken by Jacksonville. It's doubtful he'll be anything more than a #4 but he'll contribute on special teams right away, unless they place him on the practice squad. Based on the Jags need at WR, all three rookies could make the cut. Grade: 6

GRADE: 62/90


The Jaguars had a great Day 1, grabbing their OTs of the future. That doesn't happen often. They overloaded on WRs and while each may never be a #1, they have upside and all have the potential to contribute in some way in 2009. That's what your looking for. They had a few reaches and missed on a few needs but this was a good draft.


WHY: Monroe, Britton, Jennings, Knighton, and one of the WRs will be starters by 2011 at the latest. A few will do so this year. That's a great group there. If they hadn't reached on Cox and went another way at TE this could have been a low A.

NOTE: My "final grade" is weighted and is not a simple combination of "needs" and "talent".

Best Pick: Monroe
Worst Pick: Cox
Sleeper: Knighton
Instant Impact: Jennings
Developmental: Miller

OTHER DRAFT GRADES - Jacksonville Jaguars
CBS Sports (Prisco): B
CBS Sports (Rang): B
ESPN (Kiper): C+ (Brooks): B- (Fan's): B
Walter: B-



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