The Killer E's (Kosovac/JagNation)
For the first time in a long time, the Jacksonville Jaguars addressed the offensive line early on in the draft, showing a change in recent philosophy. Find out more about the new Killer E's in Jacksonville.
Perhaps it was the collapse of the Jaguars offense last season, or the promotion of Gene Smith to the general manager position that spurred the adjustment, but the Jaguars finally avoided drafting for need and simply picked the best available player in at least the first two rounds.
“We stayed with the board and again, we felt very good,” Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said.
The best player on the board when the Jaguars chose at pick number eight was clearly former University of Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe, a player who many draft experts going as high as the second-overall pick.
“It was a surprise,” Smith said when asked if he thought Monroe would be available when the team went on the clock. “You go through the mocks and certainly you never know how it’s going to unfold. There’s always that human element and the fact that there is no givens on draft day. And for this guy to make it to number eight, again I just feel very fortunate that that happened today. Everything came together. It doesn’t always work out that way. It’s nice when it does with your number one pick.”
Monroe was the first tackle the Jaguars have taken in the first-round since the team made the great Tony Boselli their first ever draft pick in 1995. Boselli became one of the best tackles in the game before injuries cut his career short. The Jaguars believe that Monroe has similar abilities, and could be a fixture on the left side of the line for years to come.
“I’m excited because he’s a young player and talented,” Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck said. “He’s a guy that we anticipate being a starter here for a long time.”
The Jaguars doubled up the offensive line fun when they selected former Arizona tackle Eben Britton in round two. Most had Britton as a mid to late first-round pick, and the Jaguars even considered trading back into the first round to pick him.
Eben Britton (Darron Cummings/AP)
“(Britton) is a guy we had considered if we were to trade back (into the first round),” Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We thought he would be a candidate in trade-back scenarios, and ultimately we’re sitting here in the second round and he’s available.”
Britton is a player who can play all over the line, as he played both left and right tackle while at Arizona, and has no lack of confidence. Britton went off in a post-draft interview as he has a pretty large chip on his shoulder being the 39th overall pick in the draft.
“I couldn’t be happier than to be picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars but I was [ticked] off,” Britton said. “There isn’t a better organization that I could have asked for, but every team that passed on me will regret it for the rest of the history of their franchise.”
But wait, there’s more.
“I was always told I wasn’t big enough, fast enough to play,” Britton said. “Well, the chip just got a little bigger and somebody’s going to pay.”
And if that wasn’t enough…
“I want to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Super Bowl and I want to become the greatest tackle in the history of the NFL.”
Strong words from a strong guy, but talk alone won’t make him one of the league’s best. Then again, Jaguars 2006 second-round pick Maurice Jones-Drew had a similar chip on his shoulder after being passed over by all 32 teams, and he’s now one of the very best playmakers in the NFL.
The Jaguars hope that the “Killer E’s,” their bookend tackles of Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, will rival the success the team had with Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy in the late 90’s, and thus help to fix an offense who struggled mightily to move the ball in 2008.
Sure, the draft picks of Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton don’t have the flare and panache of picks like Michael Crabtree or Pat White, but the picks don’t have to be “sexy,” they just have to be effective. Then again, according to Jack Del Rio, “big can be sexy.”
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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