Assessing Dave Caldwell’s Jacksonville Jaguars: the 2013 NFL Draft

With all of the speculation outside of EverBank Field, it is as good a time as ever to evaluate the Jaguars since they are still a reliable source of losing football. On 8 January 2013, Dave Caldwell was named the new general manager of the team, replacing Gene “Small-School Gene” Smith. And from then on the rebuild was on.

I remember being adamant about giving this team exactly three years to be a playoff contender. Fast forward to today and that simply is not the case. Is it still possible to save this season? Mathematically, yes. But I think even the most talented of mathematicians would pass on taking that bet.

So with a 1-5 record, is the team better? I say no. We’re hearing that the roster is more talented, that injuries have taken a toll, that it is fair to give them more time, and other things. In my best Lee Corso voice I exclaim, “not so fast, my friend!”

With that being said lets take a look at the Jaguars 2013 draft selections.

  • Round 1 (Pick 2) – LT Luke Joeckel Texas A&M 
  • Round 2 (Pick 33) – S Johnathan Cyprien FIU
  • Round 3 (Pick 64) – CB Dwayne Gratz UConn
  • Round 4 (Pick 101) – WR Ace Sanders South Carolina
  • Round 5 (Pick 135) – RB Denard Robinson Michigan
  • Round 6 (Pick 169) – S Josh Evans Florida
  • Round 7 (Pick 208) – CB Jeremy Harris New Mexico State
  • Round 7 (Pick 210) – CB Demetrius McCray Appalachian State

So those are the picks that were made. Here are my thoughts as to how they are performing.

Joeckel – He is an average, at best, LT in the league at this point in time. Considering that it was between him and LT Eric Fisher of the Chiefs, who cannot see the field right now, the Jaguars got the better end of that bargain. But was it worth letting go of LT Eugene Monroe who was definitely a decent starter for Joeckel? Right now I say no. Considering Joeckel was also the #2 pick of the draft, you have to have more value there, meaning that you should not pick a player who can be deemed replaceable at the spot.

Cyprien – We are still waiting for Cyprien to string together good games. His up and down play has contributed in the defense’s abysmal play this season. There have been issues in coverage and run support coming from the safety position and Cyprien has not helped to fix this problem, especially this season. He led the team in total tackles last season, but I still find myself wanting more. Cyprien is average, at best, and that is once again not the value you need from that high of a selection.

Gratz – He will be in the starting lineup this week for a recently-benched Davon House (my thoughts on that are coming later). I’m obviously not a student of the film, yet, but from what I have seen is that Gratz is a below-average CB. Maybe the coaching staff saw something in him at practice over the last few weeks and decided to start him. I doubt it. We’ll see though.

Sanders – No longer with the team.

Robinson – Robinson is a very solid pick at this point in the draft. He has made a nice transition to RB and still has some ability to score if he can get into open space. Is he an every down, feature back? No. But he is a nice option as a rotational player in a stable of 2 or 3 backs on a given Sunday. You cannot ask for much more from a 5th round pick.

Evans and McCray – The secondary has been atrocious this season and these two have seen ample playing time. It is noted that there is not enough pass rush for any secondary to be competitive for 60 minutes, but the Jaguars have had 7 interceptions in the past 22 games and only 1 this season. ONE. And dare I mention that it was by Posluszny?

Harris – No longer with the team.

So those are my thoughts on the 2013 draft picks. I will do this for all of Dave Caldwell’s drafts and then look at his moves in free agency to see if the team is actually more talented than those of the later years of the Gene Smith era. I still stand by my expectation of this being a playoff-contender by season’s end.

Am I wrong? Out of bounds? Let me know what you think. God bless.

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