Mocking the Draft wants to introduce you to an new article series taking a closer look at each team's draft workings. The WarRoom articles will give you a glimpse at the recent draft history and the decision-making structure of each NFL team. We will also include our thoughts about the structure and draft history.
Offensive Scheme: Power rushing is the name of the game in Jacksonville. Led by stud running back Maurice Jones-Drew this team has steadily improved its ground game and was an impressive 3rd in rushing yards in 2010. The Jaguars look to control the tempo of games and grind things out on the ground. QB David Gerrard is a serviceable starter and works well off play action but he has come up short each of the last 3 years and it is very likely that 2011 will be his last year as the starter in Jacksonville. Blaine Gabbert is the new kid on the block and the future of this franchise will be placed on his shoulders at some point in the next 12 months. Provided the running game stays strong behind young tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton and both Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis continue to develop there is hope for the Jags.
Defensive Scheme: The Jaguars have had somewhat of a reputation as a hard-nosed defense. But if you look a little closer this unit has been pretty underwhelming the last three years. Last year their secondary was dire and this area will have to be addressed and improved in both Free Agency and the draft. In a division with the Peyton Manning and the Colts getting to the QB is the most important thing to be competitive. In this respect the Jaguars are still feeling the effects of the horrendous 2008 draft when they double dipped at DE and took Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves who have both been colossal busts. Since Gene Smith became GM the Jaguars have taken two great interior pass rushing lineman in Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu and are looking to build this defense from the inside out.
Thoughts: Gene Smith has been GM since 2009 and has done a tremendous job. His picks have been less than flashy and I can say I was one of those who went Tyson Alua-WHO!? He has also taken the highest percentage of non-FBS players since he took over and certainly does things his way. As most GMs find out their legacy rests heavily on finding that elusive franchise QB and Gene Smith will ultimately be measured on the success of new rookie QB Blaine Gabbert.
It was somewhat of a surprise to many that the Jaguars traded up for a QB at number 10 when they were leading the AFC South for practically the whole of the 2010 regular season. But as touched upon above David Garrard is not quite good enough to win a super bowl and therefore getting an elite QB behind centre is vital for the future of the franchise. Many people questioned Gabbert throughout the 2011 draft process and only time will tell if he was worthy of such a high draft pick.
Maurice Jones-Drew has been a top 3 running back for the last 4 to 5 years but his small frame has to break down at some point in the near future. When this happens the team will be in transition and the next 2 years are some of the most important in recent memory for the franchise. It is highly likely they will be picking in the top 10 next year and it will be fascinating to see how this team grows. With the Colts having to wave goodbye to Peyton Manning sooner rather than later the AFC South will be up for grabs come 2013 or 2014 and if all goes to plan the Jags could well be the team to beat.
Five-year record: 39 - 41
Coach: Jack Del Rio
GM: Gene Smith
Draft History: Here
Best Pick: Eben Britton
Worst Pick: Derrick Harvey