This whole AFC South outside of Indianapolis has the feel of a team that puts together solid squads year after year but just can’t get over the hump. And while we’re certain that #18 in blue has as much to do with that as anything, it also must have to do with each organization’s team-building and personnel management in general. The Jags are an interesting study. They’re always tough and physical, reflecting coach Jack Del Rio’s style from his playing days. And they’ve got some playmakers on offense, most noticeably the Bruin faction of Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis. But the peanut gallery is getting (understandably) tired of waiting for the David Garrard Era to produce fruit, and the MJD window may be closing sooner than one had hoped with this bone-on-bone stuff that we’ll be watching closely. Hanging around the middle of the league is no way to do business, and the Jags are going to need a couple more solid drafts to bounce up a level. We invited Alfie Crow, of the fantastic Jaguars site Big Cat Country to let us in on the real info down in J-Ville. Follow Alfie at @AlfieBCC on Twitter.
Q: You’ve been rather vocal in support of a 1st round quarterback, at least relative to waiting. Which one are you hoping is there at 16, and why?
A: There are three quarterbacks I think fit at the 16th pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars. First and foremost I think Jake Locker fits with what the Jaguars like to do offensively. Christian Ponder is another quarterback that I believe fits, and there’s been murmors they really like Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s the most interesting QB in the entire draft to me, and I like his ability more and more each time I watch some tape on him. The Jaguars I believe are in an ideal position to take a QB 16 because they don’t HAVE to play them right away, which is critical for guys like Locker and Kaepernick. It’d be in their best interest to get their guy and begin development.
Q: Other than QB, what is the one position they absolutely must address in the first 3 rounds?
A: In the first three rounds I think the Jaguars need to address the secondary. Most Jaguars fans will tell you defensive end, but last season 7 of the 10 defensive lineman were brand new to the Jaguars and Gene Smith drafted 5 lineman in his first two drafts as well as signing an undrafted rookie end (Aaron Morgan). I’d like to think he’d want those lineman to begin to develop and another end early would only slow that down and potentially admit those other picks were a mistake. In the secondary however, it’s in shambles, especially at the safety position and must be addressed early.
Q: Who is your favorite late round guy that you think would be a perfect fit?
A: The best “fit” as a later round guy and the Jaguars to me would be someone like linebacker Nicholas Bellore of Central Michigan. He’s a hard nosed inside linebacker that plays down hill. The Jaguars are in the middle of rebuilding their linebacking corps. There are some murmors in the future they could potentially switch to a 3-4 defensive front and Bellore is a guy who fits in both the 4-3 and 3-4. He blitzes well and plays with that intensity you want in an inside linebacker.
Q: What effect, if any, will the lockout have on the Jags’ approach?
A: I don’t think the lockout has much effect on the Jaguars strategy at all. They shored up their free agents they wanted to keep and were willing to let the rest walk. The only real “impact” has been in ticket renewals, as the biggest reason for delayed renewals has been because of the lockout. Other than that however, it’s been business as usual for the Jaguars.
Q: What would a good 2011 Jags draft look like, in your opinion?
A: A good 2011 NFL Draft for the Jaguars would have the Jags picking up their quarterback of the future, an interior offensive lineman who could eventually start, another recieving option, and a couple of defensive backs or linebackers. I’m not sold on the big need for a rookie defensive end like everyone else, but I’ve been dead wrong before.