Jaguars Clear Room for Rookies

The Jaguars trimmed their roster today by waiving five young players to secure room for their five draft choices, and thus getting down to 75 players currently under contract. The five players waived were long-snapper Brett Goode, offensive lineman Ryan Gibbons, defensive end Brian Smith, tight end Isaac Smoko, and wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe.

The moves were hardly considered shocking, as the Jaguars needed to make room for their incoming rookie class. The release of Brett Goode almost guarantees the security of long-time Jaguars long-snapper Joe Zelenka, at least for this season, who is one of the most personable players on the team. Goode was in the Jaguars training camp a year ago, before his release in August.

Ryan Gibbons spent the 2006 season and the first three weeks of the 2007 season on the Jaguars practice squad. With solid depth on the offensive line in Dennis Norman, Uche Nwaneri, Andrew Carnahan, Tutan Reyes, and Richard Collier, among others, it was very unlikely that Gibbons would've been able to find a roster spot in Jacksonville after his two plus years of tryouts.

Defensive end Brian Smith was a fourth round gamble by the Jaguars front office which apparently has "crapped out." Smith had better than 31 sacks in 44 collegiate games at the University of Missouri, and also had a severe hip injury when the Jaguars spent the 14th pick in the fourth round on the defensive end in 2007. Smith was never able to fully participate in practice with the team, and with the draft picks of Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves in the first two rounds in April, and players such as Reggie Hayward, Paul Spicer, Jeremy Mincey, James Wyche, and Brent Hawkins already on the roster, the Jaguars decided to end the Smith experiment early.

Isaac Smoko was a nice story a year ago, as he played his natural tight end position, as well as special teams and linebacker in the 2007 preseason. Smoko was activated for the final five games of the 2007 season when both George Wrighster and Greg Estandia went down for the season with injuries. Smolko didn't have any undeniable physical talents to convince Jack Del Rio and company to keep him around, as he was competing with veterans George Wrighster and Richard Angulo, Greg Estandia, Chris Brown, and Charles Davis for the backup positions behind starting tight end Marcedes Lewis.

Craphonso Thorpe was signed by the Jaguars as a free agent just a couple weeks ago after spending the 2007 season with division rival Indianapolis. Thorpe, although speedy, didn't make much of an impression in the Jaguars OTA's and mini-camps. Thorpe was competing with John Broussard, Mike Walker, Matt Jones, Troy Williamson, Jeron Harvey, D'Juan Woods, and Clyde Edwards for what could be two or three roster spots behind Jerry Porter, Reggie Williams, and Dennis Northcutt.

The timing of these moves could mean that the Jaguars may be interested in getting their draft picks signed a little earlier than usual, which seems to be a growing trend in the NFL. More than 20 draft picks have already been inked to deals, including first-round picks Jake Long, Matt Ryan, and Darren McFadden. The moves also mean that the five players have roughly six weeks to find work elsewhere in the league before training camp begins.

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