Out with Jack Del Rio, but the man charged with finding him talent remains in Jacksonville, Gene Smith. It’s worth noting that some of the worst picks here came from Smith’s predecessor, Shack Harris, but how have they done overall?
We put the Jaguars through the Draft Grader, looking at every draft pick (this does not include undrafted free agents) between 2008 and 2010 and will give them a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
So let’s take a look at the 21 players the Jaguars have drafted between 2008 and 2010!
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
If they had, then they wouldn’t be hoping Blaine Gabbert does the mother of all u-turns in 2012.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Unfortunately none fit the profile.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Terrance Knighton, DT (72nd overall pick in 2009): ‘Pot Roast’ has always graded positively but you wonder if the Jaguars have got the best out of him with such heavy use over three years. Finding a quality defensive tackle who excels on early downs is great value in the third.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Eugene Monroe, T (8th overall pick in 2009): A year ago and this grade would have been going the other way, but Monroe finally started to come good in 2011 and justify his drafting. Not in the top tier of pass blocking tackles, he is one of those left tackles who nevertheless pulls his weight in the run game.
Derek Cox, CB (73rd overall pick in 2009): Much like Monroe, Cox looked like something of a wasted pick until shining in 337 snaps on defense in 2011. Something of a tease, it will be interesting to see how he manages with a full season’s workload after allowing a league low 32.1% of passes to be complete while he was the man in primary coverage last year.
Mike Thomas, WR (107th overall pick in 2009): 2011 wasn’t his year and showed he’s much better as a No. 2, than being the go-to receiver, but that doesn’t take away from his first two years in the league. A very capable slot receiver, Thomas finished seventh in 2010 in slot yardage and can contribute on special teams.
Zach Miller, TE (180th overall pick in 2009): Miller’s 2011 was cut short by injury, but he’s flashed the kind of talent to suggest he can make a bigger impact than you’d expect from a fifth round pick.
Rashad Jennings, RB (250th overall pick in 2009): It’s never easy playing behind Maurice Jones-Drew, but Jennings has taken advantage of what opportunities that have come his way. Averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2010, he missed 2011 through injury, and is great insurance if MJD starts to wear down.
0.0: Nothing ventured, nothing gained (It could have been worse)
Thomas Williams, LB (155th overall pick in 2008): Looked decent in limited special teams action, but ultimately never caught on after a year with the club.
Chauncey Washington, RB (213th overall pick in 2008): You don’t expect much from a seventh round pick, and in that regard the Jags were not surprised with their return from Washington. He lasted a year before being waived and even managed double digit snaps on offense while seeing significantly more action on special teams.
Jarett Dillard, WR (144th overall pick in 2009): His time in Jacksonville has been plagued by injuries, and he’s shown little when he’s been on the field. But the former fifth round pick has stuck around and could get another shot if he stays healthy.
Tiquan Underwood, WR (253rd overall pick in 2009): A decent kick returner, Underwood’s stone hands meant he was never going to be relied upon. Still, what do you expect out of a compensatory pick in the 7th?
Tyson Alualu, DT (10th overall pick in 2010): You can give Alualu something of a pass after playing hurt through 2011, but questions must start to be raised about when this top 10 pick is going to start living up to his draft slot. He often flashes talent, but spends too many snaps going exactly where the offensive line want him to. Needs the kind of third year that Eugene Monroe just had.
D’Anthony Smith, DT (74th overall pick in 2010): We’ll reserve judgment until we see Smith hit the field after a serious Achilles tendon tear derailed his career.
Larry Hart, DE (142nd overall pick in 2010): As a purely situational pass rusher, Hart showed an ability to influence the QB with a healthy 17 combined sacks, hits and hurries on just 163 pass rushes. This didn’t cut the mustard in Jacksonville and he was cut a year later.
Austen Lane, DE (153rd overall pick in 2010): Part of the Jaguars plan to throw as many pass rushers in at defensive end and hope one stuck, Lane’s performance just highlighted the Jags need to get better at the spot.
Deji Karim, RB (180th overall pick in 2010): After a rookie year where Karim impressed as a returner, that element of his game took a step back. An underwhelming runner, his versatility may keep him around but he’s not the type of guy to make a huge impact at this stage.
Scotty McGee, WR (203rd overall pick in 2010): Looked in the mix for returning duties until an injury robbed him of his rookie year. Was cut a year later.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Trae Williams, CB (159th overall pick in 2008): You expect more from a fifth round pick then to see him waived within five months and passed up for the practice squad.
Eben Britton, T (39th overall pick in 2009): Injuries have played their part but Britton has never lived up to the billing of a high second round pick. Limited to just 624 snaps over the last two years, when he has played he hasn’t exactly inspired confidence.
-1.0: What a waste!
Quentin Groves, DE (52nd overall pick in 2008): Even getting a fifth round pick back for him doesn’t make up for the waste this pick proved to be. Groves was given an opportunity to start in his two years with the Jags, but outside of one beat down of Duane Brown in Week 13 of 2009, never lived up to the billing.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Derrick Harvey, DE (8th overall pick in 2008): This pick just gets worse every time you look at it. The price it cost Jacksonville to trade up, plus the Harvey hold out and then his eventual performance are what you look for in a bust. The scary thing about Harvey is he seemed to get worse rushing the passer the more he played for Jacksonville.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
There were no Russell/ Leaf hybrids to pick from.
A tale of three very different draft classes. In 2008 the Jaguars flopped when they went after defensive ends. A year later they got production all over the place, hitting on a number of picks, especially Terrance Knighton, and getting more from them than you would expect. Then in 2010 … well, right now it’s about as meh as it gets. The class needs Tyson Alualu to step up in his third year like Eugene Monroe was able to, and will be desperate to get something out of D’Anthony Smith. Jacksonville has found more talent in the middle rounds than most teams, but they haven’t always used it right.