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Jaguars Insider: NFL Draft provides big help on offense, but balance, too

Posted: May 11, 2014 - 10:17am  |  Updated: May 11, 2014 - 10:23am
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Phil Sears  Associated Press  Jaguars draft pick and Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith steps in front of Bethune-Cookman's Eddie Poole (3) for an interception that he returned for a score on Sept. 21.  AP
AP
Phil Sears Associated Press Jaguars draft pick and Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith steps in front of Bethune-Cookman's Eddie Poole (3) for an interception that he returned for a score on Sept. 21.

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A quarterback (Blake Bortles) who they want to bring along slowly.

A pair of receivers (Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson) who can help immediately.

A cornerback (Aaron Colvin) who had knee surgery in late January and will start the year ineligible to practice and play.

A right guard (Brandon Linder) who could be the Week 1 starter.

A back (Storm Johnson) who can run, but needs to take Pass Protection 101 before he becomes a part of the game plan.

And two fifth-round players (Telvin Smith and Chris Smith) who have coverage and rush skills, respectively, to play roles.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell struck a balance with the team’s nine draft picks, resulting in a splendid weekend for a roster in need of speed, play-making, depth and hope.

“We feel good,” Caldwell said Saturday night. “At the end of the day, we’re a better football team.”

Better at quarterback: The Jaguars made the bold move going with Bortles with the third overall pick. He’ll be better than Johnny Manziel, and the guess here is that he’ll be starting by midseason.

The strategy of having a guy sit for a year is great, but if the Jaguars start 2-6 or 3-7, why not start Bortles to get a head start on 2015?

Better at receiver: The Jaguars moved on from Justin Blackmon (unofficially, but the resignation from Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley on Friday night was obvious) and added two dynamic players in Lee and Robinson, who do something this team has lacked for years — score touchdowns.

The draft board fell perfectly so the Jaguars could take Lee at No. 39, and when Robinson was still available, the Jaguars pounced and traded up nine spots to No. 61. They’ll make Chad Henne look good early and Bortles look good in the future.

Better at right guard: The Jaguars traded up into the third round to take Linder, and it would be surprising if he isn’t the starter at Philadelphia on Sept. 7.

The Jaguars’ projected offensive line is left tackle Luke Joeckel, left guard Zane Beadles, center Mike Brewster, Linder and right tackle Austin Pasztor. None of those five started at their positions early last year for the Jaguars. The group will be more athletic, allowing offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to be creative in the screen and short passing game.

Better on defense: Chris Smith should be in the Leo rotation, and Telvin Smith could be a nickel linebacker.

Bradley always says he can never have enough pass rushers and Chris Smith’s ability to use his short-for-a-defensive-end height (6-foot-1) to his advantage by getting under the pads of offensive tackles will help him get to the quarterback. Telvin Smith can cover tight ends, which was a season-long issue last year for the Jaguars.

And better at running back: Caldwell said Johnson’s running style is similar to Toby Gerhart, which gives the Jaguars two powerful backs and two change-of-pace guys (Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson). Johnson, who played with Bortles at UCF, will need to improve his pass-blocking skills.

“As we’ve said all along, the priority was to get play-makers on both offense and defense,” Caldwell said. “We feel like we’ve done that.”

The Jaguars showed in mid-March they were committed to improving their 4-12 record.

In free agency, the Jaguars spent smartly and aggressively to improve a run defense and pass rush that were near or at the bottom of the league.

Adding Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Ziggy Hood and Dekoda Watson on defense allowed the Jaguars to concentrate on the offense (six of the nine picks) and also take Colvin, who had a second-round grade until his knee injury.

“We kind of had an idea we would go offense with this draft, and that’s why we made it a point of signing defensive players in free agency,” Caldwell said. “It would have been hard to take two receivers if we didn’t address the defense in free agency.”

The mid-March spending improved the defense.

The early-May drafting improved the offense.

 

Ryan O’Halloran: (904) 359-4401

Comments (21)

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R.G. IngersollFan
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R.G. IngersollFan 05/10/14 - 10:42 pm
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Jags getting good draft

Jags getting good draft grades by all credible pundits. Congratulations Dave Caldwell!

Jungle Cat
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Jungle Cat 05/10/14 - 11:31 pm
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Post links when you make such

Post links when you make such a claim. You probably are reading material bought and paid for.

No elite talent with first pick degrades the draft heavily, but does even more damage to the roster.

The Patient
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The Patient 05/11/14 - 07:13 am
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This was a very good draft

This was a very good draft and addressed the biggest need this team has had for over a decade. The junior depth of this draft pushed guys into the 2nd round that would be 1st rounders in other years. The Jags essentially got their QB and 2 WR's that are 1st round talent. My buddies and I were up watching youtube on Lee and Robinson and they both look like big time players. Then to Bortles - his highlights looked really good but the thing that has impressed me so far about Blake is that he WANTS to be a Jaguar. Taking selfies with the bold city brigade after Blake went to find them! He wants to represent Jacksonville. I agree with Ryan here that he needs to start this year.

I just read the grade and breakdown on CNNSI.com for the Jags and an A- was given for this draft. I was going to say a B to B+ because of the 4th round pick for the CB that can't play or practice for awhile. Then I read how and when the kid got injured and the draft grade goes to an A+ for loyalty. The kid was hurt when he was being coached by Gus.

After watching Manziel hold up his hands and making the money sign I am glad we did not draft him. Immature. The scouting report leaked online from the Pats was sure proven by that money gesture.

Jags made some big bold moves. Those 11 picks were used wisely by Caldwell. This has been a very good offseason for Caldwell let's hope it translates to the regular season.

The Patient
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The Patient 05/11/14 - 07:17 am
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http://nfl.si.com/2014/05/10/

http://nfl.si.com/2014/05/10/2014-nfl-draft-grades/?eref=sihp

Jungle Cat - here you go. I think you are way off the mark on this offseason. But we will see in a few months.

DonGene
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DonGene 05/11/14 - 07:27 am
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Junglecat, do us all a favor

Junglecat, do us all a favor and become a Dolphins or Bucs fan. Leave the Jaguars alone. You are without doubt the biggest doubter, negative thinker I have ever read! If you can't find something, anything positive, and so far I haven't seen one positive comment, why do you follow the Jags? Go away! I am not a huge fan but I darn well don't get on here and claim I know more than the professionals that get paid to do things like the draft. I would remind you that most, most that is, of the biggest stars in the NFL didn't get picked in the first round. Brady, a big star for sure, was picked in the 7th round. I bet if you had been a Pats fan you would have had a heart attack. Give the Jags a chance to improve! Not everyone they drafted will make the team, they never do, and some of the "big names" that you wanted them to take won't be there in the end either!!

ajagsfan
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ajagsfan 05/11/14 - 07:34 am
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I am happy about this draft.

I am happy about this draft. The Bortles pick surprised me at #3, but if you look at my past posts on this site, you would see me making a case for him over Manziel. I am excited for the Jags and will be there with my teal on! Go Jaguars!

revivedteal
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revivedteal 05/11/14 - 07:43 am
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When Manziel flashed the $

When Manziel flashed the $ sign I smiled.....knowing we had done our homework. It will be interesting to see what develops in camp when BB out plays Henne. Do we go the same route where Russel Wilson or Rothlisberger won the job as a rookie from a FA vet or stick to the plan of bringing him along slowly, remembering what happened with gabbert. In my opinion Henne will still start the season but the transition gets made earlier

revivedteal
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revivedteal 05/11/14 - 07:53 am
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And don't bother posting

And don't bother posting links from risky dink bought and paid for sites like sports illustrated, cbs sports, etc. ... who graded Caldwell highly. Clearly Caldwell should have signed tebow, drafted a 2nd left tackle, and whatever kentucky guard that was on someone's mock.

DonGene
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DonGene 05/11/14 - 08:44 am
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Every grade I have seen

Every grade I have seen posted on how Caldwell did in the draft? Straight "A" all the way around and this is from people that make their living following the NFL. This makes some of us look really foolish with our rants doesn't it?
I will say it one more time, if Tim Tebow was an NFL quaity Quarterback he would be on team's roster by not. He isn't, isn't being chased by anyone. Give us a break. Once and for all, Tebow was a great college QB, he is a wonderful young man, the kind you hope your daughter married, but he is not a ready made, ready to start NFL QB!!!

TheMadKow
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TheMadKow 05/11/14 - 09:42 am
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WOW! I am soo excited. A

WOW! I am soo excited. A great draft! Also Gus showed what kind of guy he is when he drafted Colvin the injured CB. I can not wait to see the undrafted free agent signings.

Lake11
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Lake11 05/11/14 - 09:48 am
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This WAS a Grade A draft.

This WAS a Grade A draft. Congratulations Jaguars!

I hope Bortles will be a very good QB, and, if I were in the same circumstances as Dave, I probably would have done the same. But, right or wrong, I just can't help but feel that there's a quarterback in Cleveland who has more "Mojo" than an entire football franchise in Jacksonville, and we really could have used some mojo after that God-awful 2013 campaign.

The scouting report on Manziel doesn't tell me anything I wouldn't believe. Look guys, these are young football players, not choirboys. There are a LOT of unsavory characters in this game. This report doesn't even scratch the surface. And players have been drafted with a lot worse things on their scouting report -- by our own team.

And can we please stop using the Gabbert as the "Ruin-the-Quarterback" go-to? He was a bad quarterback. Period. Did it help to start him early? Of course not. But after three years of second-chances, I think it's safe to say that starting him early was NOT the reason he didn't ultimately succeed.

Davethecaveman
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Davethecaveman 05/11/14 - 10:13 am
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I too was a Manziel guy.

I too was a Manziel guy. Granted, he is definitly immature, little guy with big feet and hands, wants money , like who doesn't, but after seeing the big picture I am officially a Blake Bortles guy. If Dave and Gus are putting their careers in Jax behind him 100% then why can't 100% of the fans do it? Personally, I would like to see Henne have his best season ever as a pro and we don't have to start Blake this year. With these receivers to throw to and Gerhart behind him and an improved OL ,I am expecting it to happen. Go Jags!!!!

Daniel Plainview
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Daniel Plainview 05/11/14 - 10:41 am
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I like that they picked Blake

I like that they picked Blake Bortles over Johnny Manziel because of his size, he is taller. But this will all come down to team chemistry and how well the players will get along with one another and feeling good with being with the Jaguars.

Stecker
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Stecker 05/11/14 - 10:56 am
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This is exciting. Sounds like

This is exciting. Sounds like the fun is back watching Jaguars football. Can't wait for the bookies to come out with the over/under for team wins. If it's 4 or 5, I'm jumping on it in spite of the difficult schedule.

GO JAGS!

JAG60
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JAG60 05/11/14 - 11:56 am
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This was one of the best

This was one of the best drafts I've seen in many years! I am so stoked I can't wait to see how this teams chemistry plays out. I DO think the best available player after Clowney was Blake Bortles and so happy to see Dave & Gus have the belief to bring him in. Kind of ironic though don't you think? There are those who think we should have drafted a QB that was not NFL caliber because he could "fill the seats" (even though he couldn't play). BUT we shouldn't have taken what some pundits called the best available QB (in the long run) in the draft who happens to be from "O" town and WILL bring fans to the game. We just officially picked up the Orlando market by drafting a QB that has the potential to be a great franchise player and folks if you can't get excited about that, don't know what to tell you.

@Jungle Cat - Before you post any thing else, you might want to do your homework and show us all the national bad draft reviews cause I hadn't seen one. In fact, I have heard more positive national news on the Jags then I have in a long time which makes me ask the question: Who really is Jungle Cat and Why are you here?

Go Jags!!

California Jaguar
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California Jaguar 05/11/14 - 12:00 pm
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I never thought any of Johnny

I never thought any of Johnny Manziel's college hijinks were enough to put him in the "don't touch with a 10 foot pole" category, but I'm glad we took a pass on him. I am still gun-shy after all of our other character busts. For what it's worth, listening to the local Orange County sports broadcaster who covers the Chargers, he gushed over the Bortles pick. He told a story about how Bortles didn't want to play QB at first because he couldn't hit people. I already like his toughness. He also said if we blew this pick we were screwed for another few years. Go Blake!!! Go Jags!!!!

Jungle Cat
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Jungle Cat 05/11/14 - 05:40 pm
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I don't care what a bunch of

I don't care what a bunch of paid shills think. So Sideshow Khan 'spends money like it was...money'.

I call it the way I see it.

This draft is just another example of why the Jaguars are invincible losers.

4-12 is the ultimate mark of judgment upon this hapless franchise.

The GM punts better than Anger. The head coach acts like he quit his job as the lead mechanic at a Harley shop to be here.

Bortles is a TU cream puff. You think that the whoosh heard upon "even if he's released" means the end?

Sit right back and watch what happens.

We got Biff and the Bengals got rings.

Now get all hot and bothered about that. Vector that Gator prejudice hate at Marvin Lewis.

I'm 10-10 on the side good buddies!

JAG60
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JAG60 05/11/14 - 07:11 pm
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Time will tell but AJ didn't

Time will tell but AJ didn't look all that good against Auburn. Just sayin....He's a good QB and quite honestly I would have support the move had the Jags drafted him but having said that, I am a Jag first and A.J. went way down on the draft order for some reason. I don't have a crystal ball but I will support this team and DO believe this was the best draft ever. Please take a break and support YOUR team Jungle Cat or think about changing your name. This venom your spewing really is a but much...

Go Jags!

DIGWEED72
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DIGWEED72 05/12/14 - 11:07 am
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I don't care who the jags

I don't care who the jags drafted as long as they win the SuperBowl. Go Jags!!!

Davethecaveman
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Davethecaveman 05/12/14 - 07:45 pm
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Hey Delweed---- I would

Hey Delweed---- I would settle for 8 and 8 but am hoping for 9 and 7 and all of our wins against the AFC south.
Go Jaguars!!!!!

Davethecaveman
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Davethecaveman 05/12/14 - 08:36 pm
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@Cal.Jag ------thanks for

@Cal.Jag ------thanks for giving us info from the west coast. It is nice to know we have fans from a far. Too bad some that live right here aren't that passionate. I'm thinking you are Navy. My Daughter married a sailor and lives north of Seattle. She said the Jags make the news there all the time.

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