Tonight, in primetime, the NFL Draft will occur in Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Many teams will be looking in on their big board trying to figure out which player that can change their franchise. It is the ultimate guessing game. If you strike gold, the possiblities are endless on how far the team can go. But otherwise, missing on a player can set your franchise back several years. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a prime example of that. Previous first-round selections like Reggie Williams and Reggie Nelson have turned out to be busts. The Jaguars have many needs coming into the 2011 draft. General Manager Gene Smith is rebuilding the roster through the draft. His philosophy is selecting the "best available player". Also he is not afraid to go against the grain in his selections. No matter where the player went to school or what the media says, Smith stands by his picks. Along with Director of Player Personnel, Terry McDonough, Smith and his scouting team watch film and conduct interviews with the draftees. Over the past year, they have been working hard to build their big board and tonight all the work comes to fruitation. With so many glaring holes for this team, it will be interesting to see who they select. Let's see the positions the Jaguars look to fill.
With Mike Sims-Walker gone, and the lack of a true play making deep threat, this must be addressed. Sims-Walker gave glimpses of being that number one guy, but with injury and inconsistency, the Jaguars decided to let him go. Mike Thomas has been a steal and maybe Jason Hill can help, but a play-maker is needed.
Secondary (Cornerback or Safety)
Derek Cox is a solid starter, but having one of the worst pass defenses in the league, makes this a priority in the draft. Mathis has one year left on his contract, and he hasn't been playing up to his potential. The safety position absolutely needs an upgrade.
Aaron Kampman will the pass rusher and leader we needed. Tyson Alualu should a starter for a long time along with Terrance Knighton. Still, the another pass rusher can help tremendously. The NFL is a quarterback driven league, so getting to the quarterback is a must.
As of right now, Daryl Smith is the only starter to return. Justin Durant and Kirk Morrison might not be back. Linebackers who can drop into coverage and create a pass rush can help the Jaguars.
David Garrard is not getting younger. It is time to develop the quarterback of the future. Garrard is an average starter in the league, you can win with him, but you need the right pieces in place. As previously stated, the NFL is a quarterback driven league.
I believe that the Jaguars are building a roster that can become a championship contender, so let us enjoy the draft tonight and see what Gene Smith does next.