Kiefer O'Boyle is back - with a focus this week on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the draft over and the NFL entering its quiet period before things start to heat up again into the summer, it’s as good a time as any to sit back and evaluate where teams are in terms of personnel and what they have achieved in the draft. To start this series, we will begin with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Yet another Rebuild
The London bound Jaguars, after yet another thoroughly disappointing and dis-spiriting season have had to revert to another change of tact. The Urban Meyer experiment was an absolute disaster from the beginning. The rumours swirling around the league only added to the embarrassment that Shad Khan and the management of the Jaguars probably felt. The number of Jaguars personnel that felt obliged to come out and illuminate others about what was going on should speak volumes about how woefully mismanaged this entire situation was. To quote Khan earlier this week in an interview, “How can you work with someone like that?”, I mean yeah, fair point but at what point does the finger point towards Khan and the people making the decisions.
The Jaguars however have made an appointment that should have occurred last season. Instead of wasting a year, a year in which Trevor Lawrence seemed to actually regress, an experienced NFL coach with proven pedigree like Doug Pederson should have been top of the list. The Super Bowl winning coach of the Eagles proved that he could work with offences and quarterbacks like Nick Foles and Carson Wentz who have underwhelmed elsewhere.
Defence, Defence, Defence
The Jags correctly identified that in terms of defence, they are among the leagues worst. 5 of their 7 draft picks were spent trying to strengthen a side of the ball where they spent big on free agency last year, but which ultimately fell flat on its face. That’s not to say in any way that draft spending is any guarantee of improvement. The fact that the Jaguars were rumoured to be trying everything to trade down in the draft but found no takers would suggest they weren’t 100% enamoured with the idea of selecting DE Travon Walker at number 1 overall. While last years number 1 overall for the Jags was a certainty, this pick raised a few eyebrows with the consensus being that he will require both time and coaching in order to meet the standards necessary for what is one of the most crucial positions in the sport. With all the pre-draft and indeed post-draft experts claiming that the Lions got the best player on the board at number 2 in the form of Aidan Hutchinson, the Jags are taking a calculated risk. The risk being we took who everyone loved last year, and we were terrible, let’s take someone else this year and see what happens. The only problem with this strategy is how many more bites of the apple does one team need? One move which was roundly applauded was the move back up into the first round to steal LB Devin Lloyd in a trade with Tampa Bay. Lloyd was one of the highest rated players coming into the draft and will give the Jaguars strength in a position that was one of their worst on the defence.
Early Look Ahead
Ultimately there were just simply not enough draft picks to really change the future perspective for Duval nation. Defence was rightly the priority, but it comes at the expense of the offence which is equally short of quality and despite a fairly good draft, the Jaguars will continue to be hovering at or around the bottom of the both the league and division standings come the start of the season. Similar to last season, any sign of progress, however meagre would be welcome.