For the first time in some time, I am going to agree with brother about the Jaguars.
If all things are equal, then how can the team with the second overall pick in this week’s Draft get it wrong?
Ask teams like Green Bay (Tony Mandarich), the Jets (Blair Thomas) and Detroit (Charles Johnson) about how you can make a bad decision?
“So, if I am reading correctly, if the Jags take (Ezekiel) Ansah or (Sharrif) Floyd it would serve both needs that we need desperately. They cannot go wrong with either choice. Throw Jordan in the mix it is a slam dunk. They cannot mess this up,” he said to me last night.
Oh, brother, where there is a will there is a way.
The Jaguars' holes on defense are immense and the needs on the offensive line are genuine. Everything cannot be fixed in one three-day draft party like the Indianapolis Colts of last season. It will take some time. But the Jaguars really need to step back look at their leaderboard and attack the most pressing need of their defense - cornerback.
Florida Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette sums it up best when he said, “In the Jaguars’ rebuild situation, that should mean drafting the best available player because they can’t afford to reach. Sticking to that value mantra requires trusting the grades (team general manager David) Caldwell and his scouts put on each candidate.”
I am a believer in the philosophy of the neophyte (my brother) and the wizened veteran of the NFL wars. It says it best that fans and writers alike want what is best for this team. And believe it or not, so do I.
This team gutted its secondary by letting veterans Dawan Landry, Aaron Ross and Rashean Mathis go through being cut or through free agency. The team is looking for a subset of youthful players who can come in and play and learn and grow.
And with the second overall pick, Dee Milliner, the uber-talented cornerback from Alabama who grades out as well as other players by most draft experts who are expected to be drafted in the top five of this Draft.
Milliner is a talent the Jaguars cannot ignore and while taking him at No. 2 overall is considered a reach (see Eric Turner of the Browns in 1991), The Jaguars, should they “think” Milliner is the choice, they can trade down a few spots, pick up a few more draft picks (Philadelphia, Detroit, New York Jets) and take their most pressing need.
I personally am not sold on any one player in this Draft being our next Tony Boselli or Tony Brackens or even a Donovan Darius. What I am sold on is the fact when a player’s name is linked to a team through a mock draft, we reporters tend to let it sit there and fester and build momentum and then that player is considered “the player” the “must have for our team” when the brass of the franchise may have other ideas.
And we all know Caldwell has played this so close to the vest, he must have had difficulty breathing with all the constriction he has been feeling.
I am glad Frenette agrees with my approach as well.
It’s never been more important for the Jaguars to get the best mileage for their picks. That could mean trading down or being patient to wait an extra round on a quarterback if the value isn’t there. Cornerback is probably this team’s biggest need, so Alabama’s Dee Milliner might look enticing with the No. 2 selection, but let assigned grades decide.
Caldwell must never forget his main objective is to stock the Jaguars with the best available talent. That’s why, in most instances, value should rule over need.
The needs are plenty for this team. Defensive end and tackle are very pressing. A tackle can be found, still, in free agency or the second round/ So could defensive end. Trading back to take Milliner could mean the Jaguars have the opportunity to hit on all three positions in this Draft.
A trade could allow them to take Milliner first, Damontre Moore of Texas A&M (a defensive end once linked to Jacksonville with the second overall pick) in the second round and then grab someone like Terron Armstead of Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the third round. Three major building blocks. Three problems solved.
But I am not the expert here. Neither is Frenette and neither is my brother. I am just hoping, as Jaguars fans are hoping, that the expert who is making these choices, choose need over name.