First Day Questions for the Jaguars

JagNation.com
Posted Apr 29, 2007


I have already seen some media outlets not only pick draft day winners and losers, but also give draft grades for each NFL team. I believe that it’s pretty ridiculous to grade a draft class (especially half a draft class), before they’ve had any chance to put on pads an actually play. That being said, I have some questions about the Jaguars first day selections.

Reggie Nelson- #21 overall- There is no doubt that Nelson is a great value at pick #21. Nelson should be able to come in and make an immediate impact not only on defense, but also on special teams. The Jaguars made a very shrewd move when they traded down with Denver to maximize the value of their original pick at #17. The Jaguars won that trade in terms of value points, as they gave up 950 points (17th pick), and received 972.2 points (21st, 86th, and 198th picks).

The only question about the pick was that Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn was still on the board. With Byron Leftwich playing out the final year of his contract, Quinn had to be a consideration, and a player that the Jaguars thought they wouldn’t have a chance to get. On almost every draft value board, Quinn was a better value than Nelson, and if the Jaguars selected him they could’ve traded back with Cleveland or possibly Kansas City, and recouped even more value. The other option would have been for the Jaguars to draft Quinn, and keep him as their franchise quarterback.

Justin Durant- #48 overall- Durant is a small school linebacker who is fast and slightly undersized. Head coach Jack Del Rio knows linebackers, and he must have felt that Durant was the best fit for the team at pick #48, even if pretty much every draft value board had him as a third round pick or later.

There are some definite questions with the Durant pick. First of all, who is he? He’s a guy who has played against lesser competition in college, and there are questions about if his play translate into the pro game? Another major question about the pick is that the Jaguars don’t have a pressing need at linebacker, nowhere near as much of a need as they have at defensive end. When Durant was selected, defensive ends Tim Crowder, Victor Abiamiri, Ikaika Alama-Francis, and Dan Bazuin were all still on the board.

Mike Walker- #79 overall- Mike Walker is a fast, local guy with great hands. Walker can run, has great body control, and was a productive play-maker in college. Walker’s value fit the selection at #79, and he will fill a need for the Jaguars, as well as give a nice push to the other receivers on the roster, two of which will become free agents after the season (Williams, Wiford). I really don’t see any problem, or even a question mark around this pick.

Pick #86 overall- The Jaguars traded this pick (the pick that they received from Denver for moving up in the first round) to Baltimore for the Ravens fourth round, fifth round, and sixth round picks (#101, 166, and 203 overall). On the NFL value chart that I use (and most teams use), the total value of the picks Baltimore sent to the Jaguars is 131.2 points. The Jaguars 86th overall pick is worth 160 points.

Not only did the Jaguars lose out on the point value, but they traded away a third round pick, with players such as Trent Edwards, Aaron Rouse, Dameioyn Hughes, and Ray McDonald available. Now they have 10 picks in day two of the draft. That’s a nice thing, however many of those players won’t even make the Jaguars already back-loaded roster. The team needed more guys who can play right away, not more projects. Trading up would have been the way to go after their initial selection, not assembling more talent that will likely not even make it to the field in 2007.


Related Stories
Jaguars LB Coach Duffner on Justin Durant
 -by JagsInsider.com  Apr 28, 2007
Del Rio Discusses Day One of the Draft
 -by JagsInsider.com  Apr 29, 2007
Justin Durant Conference Call
 -by JagsInsider.com  Apr 29, 2007

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OLB Justin Durant (profile)
S Reggie Nelson (profile)
WR Mike Walker (profile)
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