C.J. Spiller is clearly the top rated running back in the 2010 draft. He displays elite speed and explosiveness while being able to still run inside. He's also a weapon in the return game as the Clemson back has true game-breaking abilities. So why wouldn't the Jaguars want a back who averaged better than 5.5 yards per carry? It's all about the money.
When the Jaguars go on the clock next month it is very possible that C.J. Spiller may be the best available football player on their draft board. Jacksonville general manager Gene Smith has said that the team is going to stick to the best available player philosophy but in this case it seems impossible that the Jaguars could make Spiller their tenth selection.
Reason number one: It's all about the money. With Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew receiving a new contract last season, the Jaguars would simply have too much money invested in the running back position. The tenth pick in the draft would likely cost the team somewhere around $20 million this season.
Reason number two: Hard feelings. Maurice Jones-Drew is a great player who plays with a major chip on his shoulder. He even wears the number 32 because all 32 teams passed on him in the 2006 draft. Jones-Drew is a prideful player and he would not be happy with a rookie getting paid just as much as him and then taking away carries.
Reason number three: There's only one football. The NFL is becoming a two-back league, but you can't get enough value out of two guys making top money at the running back position. It would lead to more hard feelings and a perceived waste of money.
Nobody likes to hear that economics will affect football decisions, but in this case they will. A small market team with revenue problems will not be able to justify paying top-ten money to a running back when they already have a Pro Bowl running back in his prime. The money can be better justified at nearly every other position including offensive line, where the Jaguars invested heavily a year ago.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, and also the co-host of CB Sports Radio on ESPN 1420 in St. Augustine, FL. You can contact him at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @nflcharlie